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Monday, April 11, 2011

Back and Forth

Chalk it up to good marketing and timing, but I have to give major respect to the Foo Fighters for Back and Forth, James Moll's documentary on the band. So much so that I'm circling back around to items in their back catalog that I never really gave a chance. And yes, I'd really like to hear their newest record, Wasting Light. (High five, publicists!)

I became a fan of the band back when I heard them on Pearl Jam's all night satellite radio show. Mere weeks before this, I read Greg Dulli praise Dave Grohl's newest project in Rolling Stone. Even though it was Grohl playing all the instruments, hearing demos of "Gas Chamber" and "Exhausted" sounded like a band to me. A pretty incredible band, mind you.

I spent a lot of time listening to the Foo Fighters self-titled debut, whether I was in my room or on the band bus on the way back from a football game. It was one of regulars in rotation for me, along with a number of records out at the time.

I also spent a lot of time watching that hour-long MTV special from their show at the Brixton Academy. Over and over again. Hell, I even knew when William Goldsmith slightly deviated from Grohl's drum parts. Obsessed? You bet.

When Goldsmith and Pat Smear bolted in '97, I didn't bolt on the band. The Colour and the Shape was one of the finest records I heard that year. I even saw the band on the tail-end of that tour, shortly before they began working on There's Nothing Left to Lose.

I remained a close follower until Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace. I'm not sure what was going through my head at the time, but something about the record just didn't seem to grab me. Maybe I was listening to critics who were not fans of the band rip apart their weaknesses. Maybe it was seeing the band play the American Airlines Center accompanied by a girl I wasn't sure I was actually dating at the time (didn't help she hit on a couple of guys standing behind us).

Regardless, I spent some time apart from my beloved Foos. Of course, I did find their live Wembley DVD incredibly good as well as "Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup is Running)" from Echoes.

Fast forward to now and I absolutely ate up Back and Forth. Using live clips from back in the day that I distinctly remember (Grohl with Nirvana and Tom Petty, as well as that Brixton show), the context of the day was in full force. All of the present and past band members were interviewed, including William Goldsmith. Goldsmith was kind enough to share some of his stories with the Foos a few years ago for POST. (Nate Mendel was incredibly kind to do as well.) Seeing some of the stories he told me on camera was fantastic.

A number of stories from the band's history are not the most flattering. Grohl doesn't demystify certain accusations about him in a couple of spots. Still, it's a great document of a band that is thankfully still going strong.

And if this was a 90-minute commercial for Wasting Light, then how come the album isn't mentioned until the final ten minutes?

Anyway, if you're a fan or once were a fan, definitely check this sucker out.

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