In conversation with Zane Lowe, on the latest Essentials Radio episode, iconic rock band Foo Fighters sat down to share numerous behind-the-scenes stories to their most well-known hits, including how recording “Times Like These” almost led to their breakup.
“We were making that record, and it just wasn’t really happening for whatever reason,” frontman Dave Grohl reflects. “Times Like These” served as the second single from the band’s fourth studio record, 2003’s One by One. Deep into the process, Growl began to realize “the enthusiasm wasn’t really there. It was kind of a seven year itch like, ‘What are we doing?’”
Taylor Hawkins, who had just joined the band at the time, replacing original drummer William Goldsmith, was thrown into the “weirdest” recording process he had ever experienced. “I thought the band was going to break up, and it’s funny you bring up that song. I think literally the first time we ever played it was at a rehearsal, after the Queens of the Stone Age Tour,” he remembers, “and it was actually there that we all got in a huge argument. And it was maybe the closest the band actually really did come to breaking up but then didn’t.”
The conversation comes full circle when Grohl reminisces about how Foo Fighters came to be in the first place. As music fans likely already know, Grohl was recruited in 1990 to be the drummer in a little Washington grunge/alt-rock band called Nirvana. He performed in the role until the group disbanded in 1994 following the tragic suicide of founding member Kurt Cobain.
During Nirvana’s tenure, Grohl did plenty of songwriting of his own, but never felt comfortable sharing to a wider audience. But when Nirvana ended, he stood at a crossroads. “At first, I didn’t want to do anything, of course. I didn’t want to join a band. I didn’t want to listen to the radio, play music. And then eventually I realized, ‘Wait. I’m 25 years old. My life is not over. So I need to celebrate every day, because I’m lucky to be alive.’”
12 or 13 songs in tow, Grohl headed off to a local recording studio, four blocks away from his house, and booked six days of recording time. He “got my amps and the drums ready, went down there, actually recorded the record in sequence. That’s the sequence of the songs that I recorded,” he says.
“It just felt good to be productive. By the end of the week, I took those tapes to a cassette duplication place, called it Foo Fighters, because I didn’t want to be Dave Grohl’s New Band, because I wanted the reaction to be just like the one that you had,” he continues. He made 100 cassettes and handed copies to Goldsmith, touring guitarist Pat Smear, and bassist Nate Mendel to coerce them into the new endeavor.
“None of us were in bands at the time. Sunny Day had broken up. Pat was down here in Los Angeles. Nirvana was gone. It was, ‘Well let’s f***ing have a good time.’ Because that’s what music is for,” Grohl continues. “It’s to heal you. It’s to give you relief, and joy, and happiness, and whatever. That was the beginning of the band. This band was meant to be this sort of healing continuation. We’re musicians. This is what we do. Let’s do this.”
The band also shares several other stories behind songs like “Shame Shame,” “Everylong,” and “Pretender,” among many more, throughout the in-depth conversation.
Check out the rest of the conversation with Zane Lowe here.