Wednesday, March 12, 2008

After 13 years, it's over

Sorry to sound all dramatic, and you'll hate me when you see what the fuss is about, but my 13 year fan affair with the Foo Fighters is over. I'm sure many of you will say "about bloody time" since they sucked all along anyway, while some of you wont see what the problem is, but I think it's all kind of important in the grand scheme of things, so I'm going to try and lay it out as best I can.

I'm kinda known for being a music snob, so my unrelenting devotion to the Foo Fighters and Green Day were always blemishes on my record, but fuck everyone, because I'll never be ashamed of what I like. They'd both been there since my teenager years, and I'm nothing if not devoted. I stood by them as they made some lousy albums, just because I had such a good time at their shows, but in both cases, even that is no longer the case.

Me with Dave and Taylor from the first time I met Dave in 1998. It had been a long time coming. (Yes, I am wearing the same top from the top picture which was taken 5 years after this one)

Is the problem that I'm getting too old, you may wonder? Hardly. I go to these shows with as much energy as my lazy ass can muster, getting as close to the action as possible with the intention to rock my little heart out, always mindful that I will soon be snickered at by kids for being old and rockin'. But both these bands have sold out to such a disgusting degree that is has just about tainted everything they ever did in the past. The problem is that because they have opted to appeal to the mass market, they end up playing enormous arenas and stadiums and playing horrible arena rock style shows. Just six years ago, I saw Green Day and they invited people to request songs. Now everything is meticulously planned down to every explosion, jam and ribbing of George W. Bush. The Foo Fighters show I saw last week, the one which drove the final nail into the Foo coffin, was promised by Dave at the beginning to be the best show of their ever, eclipsing what they had to offer on all previous tours. The big arena rock show. With the acoustic stage set up down the cat walk 3/4 down into the area, I was not sold on this promise.

Even with my skepticism, I tried to have an open mind. I mean, I WANTED to enjoy it. I wanted nothing more than that out of the evening. I must have liked something about the eleven previous times I had seen them. I saw them five times, two tours before this one, I was growing weary of all the stretching out of songs and the boring rehearsed "jams". On the last tour on In Your Honor, an album which sucked incredibly, the live show had tightened up and I had a great time and was sorry when it ended. I thought they had figured it out and would go back to putting on a straightforward and simple rock show. For this reason, I thought there was promise for this most recent tour, despite the fact that the album sucking reaching unforgivable proportions.

Once the March 5th show at the LA Forum began, I can't even begin to explain the horrible mix of emotions I had to wade through. At first I jumped around with glee as they played This Is A Call, only to have them, not only break for a long winded jam in the middle (and I can't stand jams, period) but it was a fucking BLUES jam of all things. Can you think of anything more repellent? I can't, and I don't have to because I was there and saw this atrocity with my own two eyes and heard with my now aurally raped ears. I really did not need to see Dave Grohl leaning back with his eyes closed, a la Eric Clapton EVER, let alone in the middle of This Is A Call. It was so bad I was flipping him off and screaming "STOP!" During some other songs, no more than 30 minutes into the two hours set, we were further tortured with a four minute drum solo. Who the fuck wants to hear that?

Substitute "loud" for "lame".

So how do they get away with this? What is wrong with people? The problem is that this current caliber of fans is so excited to be at a show and with that many people in one place, the percentage on brainlessness is high, so they all cheer because "Look! Dave Grohl walked to my side of the stage!" or "Oooh! They are doing something different other than playing the song but I am too stupid to judge it and figure out that it is TERRIBLE and nothing I would listen to in my spare time." So since they cheer, the band, now so incredibly deluded, thinks they have succeeded in entertaining. Jam after jam is nothing short of self indulgent. It's just like masturbating on stage, and that would probably be better since most of the people in crowd, male and female, are curious about Dave Grohl's wiener.

So the huge problem with Foo Fighters and Green Day doing this is that they are cheating us. They said they were punk rock, and even if they aren't the best rock bands going today, they are few of the ones who aren't 20 years old, started playing music just to be famous and have no angst in their past. The least they could do is keep some credibility in mainstream rock. There are people who have knee-jerk reactions to things that are popular which I think is stupid because that means that nothing truly good can be popular. There was a time when lots of music that was good, was also popular.

The movement of crowd says it all. They don't move. They aren't moved by music like kids use to be. Just looking back to the mania caused by The Beatles and Elvis. That happened because the music was releasing the kids from their oppressed existences so they had something to scream and shout about. In times of war, music was a great commentary and release on what people were facing. That power of music, seems to have died. There is nothing to be released from as everyone is so self absorbed and kept occupied with consumerism. Mainstream rock music that comes out now is merely music made with guitars that are complimented by certain body movements, if one can be bothered. It does not seem to provide any kind of serious emotional involvement that rock once did. As the years have gone on, I have seen the crowds grow weaker and weaker as far as "going nuts" is concerned. Passion is so sincerely lacking in our culture and we need it! Passion drives everything, so it's a sad state of affairs when rock music can't even get the kids going any more.

This may read as me poo-pooing success. I am not. I am poo-pooing what corrupt corporate bands do with the success once they have it. The Foo Fighters have found that by pandering to every media outlet and making horrendous but palatable "rock", they can stay popular, and famous and continue making gazillions of dollars. Having so much popularity and the attention of so many is a huge opportunity to instill some fading, yet important values into music. It's an opportunity which Dave Grohl has squandered. Choosing the corporate path that is the antithesis of his punk rock roots, Dave Grohl shows himself to be a complete and utter fraud, he comes off as the nice guy, blows off Paris Hilton, name drops Buzz Osbourne of the Melvins at the gay-ass Foo Fighters acoustic show (okay, I had a better time that I thought I would, but it wasn't ideal) and delivers us corporate rock with all the trimmings. Of course if anything is going to be popular, there is going to be some fat cat ready to cash in. This didn't use to mean that the art had to suffer and all principles ignored by the artist. Does it mean that now? I'm not sure. All I know is that Dave Grohl appears overcome with greed, (or maybe just bad taste?) and just is about shitting on stage and onto CDs.

Since Dave Grohl's roots are in punk rock, it is disgusting to watch him whore himself out and completely turn his back on what he came from. Not only WHAT he came from, but the people from way back and the fans like me who were there for his little post-Nirvana effort. Don't think I'm taking this lightly. I loved this band, and loved this man. I just thought he was one of the good guys, and most importantly, sincere. I never thought I would live to say this, but FUCK YOU, DAVE GROHL.


At the time of writing most of this blog, two and a half weeks ago, I was annoyed. Between then and I now, the more I've thought about that godawful show, the angrier and more disenchanted I have become. I have proudly stated numerous time that I will never see the Foo Fighters again. When I said that, I was quite committed to that idea and truly believed it, with perhaps a slight awareness that deep in my heart, I may go see them on a nostalgia tour in 15 years when no-one gives a rat's ass about these crusty old rockers. I didn't realise that I may not get to stick to this resolve for even four months. My beloved, my most favourite, my "I'm going to see shows in four or five cities when they tour" band, Supergrass, it has just been revealed, are touring the US opening for the Foo Fighters. I am crushed to say the least. Funnily enough, given that they have opened for them before (a lineup I was pining for at the time) while at that most recent, uninspired Foo show, I wished Supergrass were opening. Be careful what you wish for, people.

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