WBEZ | Foo Fighters http://www.wbez.org/tags/foo-fighters Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Foo fighting: Dave Grohl’s keynote address http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/foo-fighting-dave-grohl%E2%80%99s-keynote-address-106099 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Dave Grohl delivers the keynote address at SXSW 2013. (AP/Jack Plunkett, Invision)" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1AP717239888990.jpg" style="height: 442px; width: 620px;" title="(AP/Jack Plunkett, Invision)" /></div><p>AUSTIN, Tx&mdash;In the summer of 1993, I spent several days in Seattle waiting to be summoned for an audience with Kurt Cobain and enjoying quite a bit of quality hang time with Krist Novoselic as they waited for the release of Nirvana&rsquo;s third album <em>In Utero</em>. As a drummer myself and a fan of Dave Grohl&rsquo;s postpunk John Bonham thrash, I repeatedly asked both of his band mates, &ldquo;Shouldn&rsquo;t I speak to him, too?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Heck, no; why?,&rdquo; came the reply, and more than once. So I settled for watching Grohl play a reunion gig with the D.C. hardcore band Scream at the Crocodile Café.</p><p>Two years later, when I queried Courtney Love on her perception of Grohl&rsquo;s role in her husband&rsquo;s band, she burst into that infamous evil cackle. &ldquo;What you have to know about Dave is he was the guy who&rsquo;d enjoy going out back to set his farts on fire with Steve Albini. That&rsquo;s Dave.&rdquo;</p><p>I relate these anecdotes with no sense of malice but in the spirit of the engaging, heartfelt and often very funny string of historical reminiscences with which Grohl traced his career from D.C. punk to alt-rock superstar to Foo-Fighting superstar while delivering the keynote address Thursday morning at South by Southwest, all building to the always-welcome conference fail-safe messages of do-it-yourself&nbsp; independence, &ldquo;the musician comes first&rdquo; and &ldquo;find your own voice.&rdquo;</p><p>Grohl entertained by scat-singing Edgar Winter&rsquo;s instrumental &ldquo;Frankenstein,&rdquo; a childhood favorite that introduced him to the world of rock, and by demonstrating how he&rsquo;d use two clunky cassette recorders to improvise his own multi-tracked recordings as a young teen.</p><p>Much of the written-out speech&mdash;delivered from behind a pair of reading glasses Grohl claimed to have purchased at the drug store&mdash;centered on his epiphany in Chicago during the family&rsquo;s summer vacation in 1982. His older cousin Tracy had become a punk-rocker, and she introduced him to her endless stacks of snarling 45s. He soon discovered the Wax Trax record store, he saw Naked Raygun play at Cubby Bear and his course in life was set.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanted to be someone&rsquo;s Edgar Winter,&rdquo; the musician said. &ldquo;I wanted to be someone&rsquo;s Naked Raygun.&rdquo;</p><p>Miracle of miracles, his accomplishments exceeded both. The tale of how <em>Nevermind, </em>a record everyone expected to sell 35,000 copies in its first six months (if they were lucky) soon was selling 300,000 a week and &ldquo;forever changing the music world&rdquo; now is rock mythology. And Grohl offered no more insight into how that happened than Cobain or Novoselic did: &ldquo;Maybe it was timing&hellip; Maybe it was a generation of kids sick of Wilson Phillips.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1grohlcartoon.jpg" style="float: left; height: 376px; width: 300px;" title="Dave Grohl (caricature by reelsinmotion/Flickr, Creative Commons)." />Then came the Foo Fighters, a band one could legitimately champion on its first album, a cathartic garage-rock record that Grohl recorded on his own &ldquo;as therapy,&rdquo; just like those teen experiments with multi-tracking. But from there, it promptly became an example of the worst sort of pandering modern-rock band unleashed by the alternative era, one that would play any corporate-rock radio festival, one that essentially beat the same tired song into submission over and over again through a seven-album discography, and one that has less in common these days with Nirvana than it does with Rick Springfield (a hero inexplicably lauded in Grohl&rsquo;s <em>Sound City </em>documentary, as if the man behind &ldquo;Jessie&rsquo;s Girl&rdquo; is equal to greats such as Neil Young, Tom Petty and Dr. John, who also recorded at that now-celebrated studio).</div><p>Who is the real Dave Grohl&mdash;the one of those anecdotes at the top of this post, or the one who spoke so movingly at SXSW? I don&rsquo;t know, and I&rsquo;m not sure it matters. Authenticity, after all, is a fake construct, and the most soulful sounds at SXSW or anywhere else are always in part show business. In any event, Grohl gave a heck of a keynote&mdash;every bit as good as the one last year by Bruce Springsteen, with whom he told us he recently dined in preparation for his big moment at the podium.</p><p><strong><u>My complete coverage of SXSW 2013</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/laura-stevenson-holydrug-couple-foxygen-and-more-106090">Laura Stevenson, Holydrug Couple, Foxygen and more</a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/imaging-jingle-crafting-crowdfunding-and-%E2%80%98born-chicago%E2%80%99-106087">Imaging, jingle-crafting, crowdfunding and &lsquo;Born in Chicago&rsquo;</a></p></p> Thu, 14 Mar 2013 12:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/foo-fighting-dave-grohl%E2%80%99s-keynote-address-106099 Lollapalooza, Grant Park, Day Three, August 7, 2011 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-08-08/lollapalooza-grant-park-day-three-august-7-2011-90236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-08/AP110807052276.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-08/Foo.jpg" title="Foo Fighters (WBEZ/Aaron Pylinski)"></p><p>As Lolla 2011 wrapped up its final sold-out day in Grant Park, the festival seemed even more crowded. Perhaps many of the gate crashers ­who <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/6938158-421/beefed-up-fencing-fails-to-stop-lollapalooza-crashers.html">reportedly formed flash mobs</a> to await opportunities to jump fences (as this <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DC7k8KSvgQ">YouTube video</a> revealed) ­made it through and remained. While this year's crashers appeared more organized and determined, last year I witnessed a good 100 random kids scale a north side fence, bringing it down with them, before blending into the crowd in the field. Other times, a few at a time would jump over. Some were snagged and sent packing. Still, even if a few hundred made it over the barricades, it seemed like a few thousand more than the reported 90,000 folks that comprised each day’s capacity: It was increasingly harder to get around the park as the day wore on.</p><p>Yet, neither the early stifling heat, nor the potent smell of manure wafting through the field, nor two serious downpours drove fans away from the Lolla experience. And it&nbsp;was an experience my dedicated rain-soaked team (<em>Sound Opinions</em> production assistant Annie Minoff and photographer/writer Aaron Pylinski) and I set out to bring you day three.</p><p>12:50 p.m. Titus Andronicus ripped into what had to be the most geographically specific set of the festival. From that filched Springsteen line in opener “A More Perfect Union,” to references to the Fung Wah Chinatown bus and “senior year in Mahwah,” the indie punk band wore its New Jersey roots on its sleeve. Lead singer Patrick Stickles led the sweat-soaked audience in a cathartic chorus of “You will always be a loser, and that’s OK.”&nbsp;<em>-AM</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-08/JoyFormidable.jpg" title="The Joy Formidable (WBEZ/Aaron Pylinski)"></p><p>1:06 p.m. Welsh band The Joy Formidable met the heat with equally blazing passion; amazing considering they opened for Foo Fighters’ late-night show at Metro on Saturday. But Ritzy Bryan doesn’t strike me as someone who needs much sleep, and her intensity was contagious. This is the fifth time I’ve seen them, but it was obvious by set's end that they’d won over any newbies in a respectably-sized crowd. The sing-along opening “ah ahs” of “Austere,” the lush, fuzzed-out “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade” and “Cradle” were highlights. But when “Whirring” culminated in Bryan’s wielding her guitar against an amp and later whacking a giant gong with it and bassist Rhydian Dafyyd dropped to his knees it could only be described as "slaying."</p><p>1:41 p.m. Back-to-back strong female artists? Yes, please. Imelda May released music before this, but it was her 2010 Grammy appearance with Jeff Beck that brought her into the limelight. It was much deserved. The Irish-bred May had pipes that betrayed her petite frame, spanning bluesy, jazzy numbers along with rockabilly, which matched her retro look.</p><p>2:32 p.m. Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses mined roadhouse country-tinged blues, that by 2:50 p.m. had turned into a sprawling all-out jam. He may be most known for his work with T-Bone Burnett on the&nbsp;Crazy Heart&nbsp;movie (their “The Weary Kind” track won an Oscar and a Golden Globe), but his rough-hewn vocals matched his road-weary, booze-soaked tales stood on their own merit.</p><p>2:45 p.m. London’s Noah &amp; The Whale sent the right “indie” cues: suits in eighty-five degree heat? Check. Violinist? Check. Band name based on much-beloved Baumbach film,&nbsp;<em>The Squid and the Whale</em>? Check. But what’s most important – the music - was unremarkable.&nbsp;<em>-AM</em></p><p>3:25 p.m. The Pains of Being Pure of Heart felt as innocent as their name implies in comparison to Bingham’s hard-knocks swagger, with songs such as the romantic “Come Saturday” and their splendidly catchy “Young Adult Fiction."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-08/CoolKids.jpg" title="The Cool Kids (WBEZ/Aaron Pylinski)"></p><p>3:25 p.m. Chicago’s resident Cool Kids, Antoine "Sir Michael Rocks" Reed and Evan "Chuck Inglish" Ingersoll had the Perry’s crowd bumping to summer jams like “Get Right” and “Swimsuits.”&nbsp;When Fish Ride Bicycles collaborators Tennille and Mayer Hawthorne guested. Suddenly at 3:50 p.m. the music cut out, bringing the party to an abrupt conclusion amidst audience boos. -<em>AM</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-08/TheCars.jpg" title="The Cars (WBEZ/Aaron Pylinski)" width="500" height="405"></p><p>3:59 p.m. The Cars hit the stage one minute early and drew a massive crowd. They also drew Dave Grohl and his kids along with Kevin Costner (wha?) and Graham Elliott to the side stage to watch. And while classic summer jams, like “Let the Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “You Might Think” got the crowd moving, and “Just What I Needed” drew spontaneous clap-alongs, Ric Ocasek remained as cool, collected and unmoved as he was at their recent Riv performance. “Let’s Go” gets a tremendous response, despite a couple trip ups onstage. They sounded great, despite looking disinterested.</p><p>4:45 p.m. “Growing up in Rock Island, [Illinois], I had to fight for my identity,” recalled Lissie (Elizabeth Maurus) by way of introduction to a set of songs about family, friends and staying positive. Her country-tinged voice was strong and compelling, but the songs, though sincere, felt a bit clichéd. Probably not a great sign that the standout number was an (admittedly terrific) cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness.”&nbsp;-<em>AM</em></p><p>5:50 p.m. My intention of heading to Best Coast’s stage was derailed (as was Portugal The Man’s set) when a torrential downpour commenced. Stranded partly beneath a tree and a bit of tent, I could hear what sounded like elated screams every time the rain came down harder on the south side of the field. Electronic music drifted from Perry’s stage/tent, but it wasn’t close enough to get to in the rain/lightning.</p><p>5:50 p.m. The heavens opened just as L.A.’s Best Coast took the stage. The irony wasn’t lost on frontwoman Bethany Consentino. “You can tell your grandkids you were at Lollapalooza 2011 and heard a band that sings about the sun play in the rain,” she quipped. The band’s harder-edged take on ‘60s Beach Boys pop galvanized a soaking crowd. Still, one could wish for more lyrical variation on songs like “Boyfriend” and “I Want To.”&nbsp;<em>–AM</em></p><p>6:35 p.m. Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley and Nas didn’t catch Lolla’s sopping wet crowds in a particularly high-minded mood (to wit, the mud wrestling pit that opened up at the back of the field). That was a problem given they were performing songs off their record,&nbsp;<em>Distant Relatives,</em>&nbsp;the main themes of which – poverty, the African Diaspora – didn’t exactly lend themselves to partying.&nbsp;<em>–AM</em></p><p>6:35 p.m. Arctic Monkeys give an abbreviated but spirited set, which included “Flourescent Adolescent,” “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and a giant rainbow during “Brianstorm.” Way to turn lemons into lemonade, lads.</p><p>7:46 p.m. Explosions in the Sky, indeed. While they didn’t sound quite as ominous as their name implied when I walked by to a more atmospheric and contemplative song, they were a precursor for what was to come.</p><p>8:40 p.m. If any artist benefited from Lollapalooza’s second torrential rain shower, it was Toronto’s producer Deadmau5. Subtlety and nuance weren’t going to work here. We needed a thumping dance beat to make us forget how soaked we were. Deadmau5 - who played atop a pedestal tricked out with lights and lasers wearing his trademark mouse head – delivered.&nbsp;<em>-AM</em></p><p>8:00 p.m. If a band could conjure rain in a way that enhances their set, the Foo Fighters managed to do so. As if orchestrating when the second major downpour would hit, “My Hero” received buoyant cheers with every guitar downstroke and every time the threatening sky gave way for heavier rain almost in unison. “I don’t give a f--k that it’s raining,” shrieked Grohl, eliciting louder cheers. Along with other staples, like “The Pretender,” “Monkey Wrench” and “Learn to Fly,” the Foos played songs from their recent&nbsp;Wasting Light&nbsp;release as well, including the searing “Bridge Burning” and “Rope.” Drummer extraordinaire Taylor Hawkins gave a shoutout to Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction, later Grohl jumped into the audience for a long turn. It was a very rock ‘n’ roll way end to the night and Lollapalooza 2011.</p></p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 06:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-08-08/lollapalooza-grant-park-day-three-august-7-2011-90236