What I did tonight instead of seeing Foo Fighters play live
First, I do not believe a bad live review affects a band’s sales or reputation. Certainly not a band the size of Foo Fighters, able to play Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (capacity 52, 500). If anything, a bad review helps shore up the fans – they can unite in their condemnation of the idiot fuckhead’s opinion, possibly bond in the knowledge that the world doesn’t understand them but Foo Fighters do, rail in the injustice of it all. The indifferent will remain that way, possibly mildly amused by the review (depending on its quality). The haters will find solace, but they wouldn’t have bought the merch or the tickets or the music anyway.
Perhaps Foo Fighters could turn their bad review into T-shirts or pull quotes, like Pearl Jam used to – indeed, like I once did. When Dave Grohl called me “the uncoolest man in Britain”, I shoved the quote on the back of my first book proper, Live Through This.
Second, I have no way of knowing whether or not I’d have given Foo Fighters a bad review if I had been allowed access to Foo Fighters tonight at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on behalf of my commissioning paper The Guardian. (I was stopped by Foo Fighters’ Australian record company Mushroom Records, who jumped to premature conclusions.) I go to shows, expecting to enjoy myself. I find it much the better that way. I am on record as liking the Foo Fighters’ first album (the one Grohl seems embarrassed about now) and kind of liking their second. I had a listen to a Greatest Hits the other day and found it eminently listenable in that mid-American 70s soft rock way I softened to after continual charity store shopping with Kathleen Wilson at Seattle paper The Stranger in 1998. The vocals also remind me of Teenage Fanclub, who I like. There was also plenty of stuff I did not find very listenable – turgid is the word that comes to mind – but, as I say, I have no way of knowing if I’d have given Foo Fighters a bad review because I haven’t actually seen Foo Fighters play live since 2000 in Melbourne, when I did give them a bad review (for The Age).
Hence the Dave Grohl quote.
Third, I forgot what three was for.
Fourth, The Guardian is actually remarkably circumspect about what it can and can’t print (at least when it comes to personal insults).
There was an infamous live review of Smashing Pumpkins I wrote in ’92 where I never saw the show. The first three paragraphs were gratuitous personal insults aimed at Billy Corgan. The Melody Maker Smashing Pumpkins cover got pulled the same day the review appeared, and their record company pulled all advertising from our publication for the remainder of the year, resulting in a loss running into at least six figures. My editor, when asked about the loss of ads, just shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s Everett”. I always contended that if I’d been editing that review I would have pulled the first three paragraphs at least, but I wasn’t editing that review and I do not like to self-censor. Anyway, The Guardian would never have let that review through. A recent blog centred around drippy faux indie-gospel brother-sister Brisbane band Sheppard was sent back to me three times before it was allowed through.
And fair enough, too.
Fifth, what a golden opportunity wasted! It would have been so fun. It would have majorly increased the dialogue around the band – and it’s extremely unlikely it would have been to their detriment (see point one above). I write for Australian website The Vine sometimes: a vastly more popular site than Collapse Board, but even so, the number of people who read the majority of my more popular pieces written for them wouldn’t even a quarter-fill the Suncorp Stadium, let alone the remainder of the Foo Fighters’ Australian tour. Let’s get a little perspective here. I remember Grohl as being a fun, down-to-earth guy who would never have let something like this bother him.
Maybe I remember wrong?
Of course, it was probably a judgment call on behalf of an over-sensitive record company. Maybe they were responding to a recent blog on Collapse Board – read by… ooh, hundreds of people – called When nice people make horrible music | the collected Facebook Foo Fighters vitriol. I ran it after being taken aback by the level of antipathy they inspired among my Facebook ‘friends’. Fair enough if so, but… just wait one second. I didn’t actually write any of it.
Or perhaps it’s my history with the band? So I ran a Google on “Foo Fighters” AND “Everett True”.
Here are the top 10 results.
Someone once told me that Kings Of Leon can rock. “I used to admire them for having Creedence hair,”remarks one ‘friend’ on Twitter, “but now I can see they’re just American jocks… like the awful Foo Fighters”.
Oh come on.
1. Hair-length has never been a good signifier of ability to rock, otherwise we’d all be in thrall to Poison.
2. Music is not football, American rules or otherwise.
3. Dave Grohl’s not that bad, is he? It’s a serious question. I haven’t knowingly listened to them since 2000. Foo Fighters have never released a song as mind-drudgingly dull and anaemic as ‘The End’ from the new Kings Of Leon album Come Around Sundown, which is like Coldplay and U2 rolled into one only A MILLION TIMES OVER, and features the most horrible guitar sound this side of Jonny Greenwood. Foo Fighters have never released a song as pompous and meandering and bombastic as ‘Pony Up’ from the new Kings Of Leon album Come Around Sundown, which is like Coldplay and U2 rolled into one only TEN MILLION TIMES OVER, and features the most horrible drumming this side of Journey. Have they? Foo Fighters have never released a song as shamelessly opportunistic as ‘Radioactive’ from the new Kings Of Leon album Come Around Sundown, wherein Kings Of Leon drop all pretence of wanting to sound like Coldplay and sound EXACTLY like U2, even down to the pope-felching ‘expressive’ vocals of Caleb Followill. Have they?
Oh wait. I’m thinking of the wrong Dave Grohl band.
Everett True does not like Kings Of Leon
8. Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape
He’s the world’s biggest rock star, man. And he could be my mate … if only he made halfway decent records.
(Eleven records I wish I liked more)
“Sometimes,” Dave says carefully, “if you think about the good things that happened and take comfort in them, it sort of eases the pain of the bad. Nothing lasts forever. Sometimes… I’ll talk about Nirvana and remember things openly about Kurt, and I think it freaks people out. They think it’s really strange I’m like that – ‘I think Dave might be about to lose it. He’s talking about Nirvana, what’s going on?'”
(Foo Fighters Dave Grohl: ‘The fuck I’m going to become a drummer-for-hire’)
Tapes of the Foo Fighters debut album demo have finally reached the UK and The Maker has a copy. Here, EVERETT TRUE previews the rough mixes…
(Foo Fighting Man)
“Backstage after the show, the band were in a jubilant mood. They had been joined by Everett True (who had also played on the encore – he had once recorded for Creation Records as The Legend) and were keen to party. Grohl joked along while continually pulling the sweat soaked hair from his face.”
(Nirvana: Dave Grohl)
Everett True: “I got to thinking: when was the last time I heard or saw a public representation of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana that I recognised? Certainly not in the press. That weeping angel statue of Cobain unveiled in his birthplace of Aberdeen, Washington, looks more like Boromir from The Lord of the Rings than the human bundle of torn emotion and enthusiasm I thought I once knew. That clip of Paul McCartney jamming with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear? Well, good on them for having a fun time, but Nirvana? It was Foo Fighters by any other name!”
(Would the real Kurt Cobain please stand up?)
Rock journo Everett True has produced a bunch of self-indulgent, egotistical, rambling recollections of the nineties music scene.
Basically it’s Everett talking about himself and glorifying all the minor bands of the era and slagging off most of the greats. He calls Foo Fighters ‘a pale imitation of former glories’ and ‘dull and mediocre’. Then takes it a step further by personally insulting Dave Grohl with ‘As a front man Dave makes a great drummer.’
Mr True finds Alice in Chains is ‘dull and morbid’ and said Pearl Jam had a ‘butt kissing attitude and inexcusable arrogance [that’s rich!] and were ‘merely a LA hair band like Poison or Motley Crue, given a fresh set of clothes and a bad hairstyle. The rant continues with his critique that their albums were ‘tame, unchallenging and ordinary rock albums’.
He then spends 7 pages telling us why he doesn’t like Smashing Pumpkins and dismisses the RHCP as ‘represent[ing] all I loathe about rock.’
In the whole book only 6 pages are devoted to Soundgarden, with no insightful comments to be found, the only noteworthy quotes coming from Ben and Kim. True dismisses Badmotorfinger as ‘….merely a continuation of their overriding regard for Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi’s fretwork.’
The final nail in the coffin for me, was his comment about Chris Cornell’s Euphoria Morning which called it ‘an ill-advised stab into Billy Joel territory’. I could happily punch him in the face for that one.
Recommendation – Read it if you are stranded on a desert island and have nothing better to do.
Good Reads: Live Through This: American Rock Music in the Nineties