VIDEO: Chevy Metal with Dave Grohl at the Party In Your Pants! music festival

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Photo by Tairrie B. Murphy
Chevy Metal is a classic rock cover band that covers some of the best music of the genre, which includes hard rock and heavy metal. The group features Mick Murphy of My Ruin, Wiley Hodgden, Rami Jaffe, and Foo Fighers drummer Taylor Hawkins. One night, Dave Grohl decides to check out on Taylor, one thing lead to another and Grohl finds himself jamming with the band. This is the end result, a collage video shot by Murphy’s wife, My Ruin vocalist Tairrie B. Murphy, as Chevy Metal get into some nice Rolling Stones covers, including a take on Sticky Fingers‘ “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'”.

Mick Murphy and Grohl are taking part in another project, this one organized by drummer Reed Mullin of Corrosion Of Conformity that’s being called Teenage Time Killers, featuring former Seattle resident Greg Anderson, along with Vic Bondi, London May, Mike Dean, and Tairrie B. as well. Teenage Time Killers is still “in process” but when news of this one comes close to a final project, I will let everyone know about it.

OPINION: Dave Grohl puts Foo Fighters on hiatus

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News about Dave Grohl announcing a time-out for the Foo Fighters went live this morning, leading to immediate reaction, and speculation about the future of Grohl and the band. Reading Grohl’s own statement, it seems that for him and everyone else in the group, the time is right to do this:

Hey everyone…

Dave here. Just wanted to write and thank you all again from the bottom of my heart for another incredible year. (Our 18th, to be exact!) We truly never could have done any of this without you…

Never in my wildest dreams did I think Foo Fighters would make it this far. I never thought we COULD make it this far, to be honest. There were times when I didn’t think the band would survive. There were times when I wanted to give up. But… I can’t give up this band. And I never will. Because it’s not just a band to me. It’s my life. It’s my family. It’s my world.

Yes… I was serious. I’m not sure when the Foo Fighters are going to play again. It feels strange to say that, but it’s a good thing for all of us to go away for a while. It’s one of the reasons we’re still here. Make sense? I never want to NOT be in this band. So, sometimes it’s good to just… put it back in the garage for a while…

But, no gold watches or vacations just yet… I’ll be focusing all of my energy on finishing up my Sound City documentary film and album for worldwide release in the very near future. A year in the making, it could be the biggest, most important project I’ve ever worked on. Get ready… it’s coming.

Me, Taylor, Nate, Pat, Chris, and Rami… I’m sure we’ll all see you out there… somewhere…

Thank you, thank you, thank you…

Dave

The news and letter from Grohl is perhaps leading many to wonder why. For any musician, health is important. I’m not just talking physical health, but mental and creative health. That’s not to say that the Foo Fighters have lost their creative edge or they gave up on pushing themselves, but look at Grohl’s rise in success not only for himself, but for the Foo. Up until he joined Nirvana, it was only punk, hardcore, and alternative kids who knew who this drummer from Scream was. He had moved to Washington, D.C. and became the band’s drummer in his teens, and their fanbase was small but loyal. People loved his contribution to their sound, and they toured like crazy. With the alternative music boom of the late 80’s and early 90’s, Grohl would become a focus, but things went crazy when it was announced he would become a member of a band from “the other Washington” known as Nirvana. Kurt Cobain’s death left a void after incredible success with their second and third albums, but Grohl didn’t stop. He was already making tapes at home of his own material, multi-tracking everything, and that would be the Foo Fighters, where the only Foo on the album was him. While attention towards the Foo was focused on “the former Nirvana drummer”, he proved that he could do a lot more. Most drummers don’t get attention from the background unless they push themselves. He not only stepped up to the microphone, but he played the guitar. He was not afraid to play the fool in his videos, and the live band he had chosen would become the Foo Fighters group proper. Since the mid-1990’s, Grohl has been one of the more in-demand drummers out there, and he has always satisfied his muse by getting involved in many projects, including those of his childhood and adult musical heroes.

The new century also showed a change and shift in the music industry, with some wondering how some popular forms of music were not as popular, while there were artists who seemed to dominate the charts. It got to a point where some critics felt that the Foo Fighters were one of the few mainstream hard rock acts to not only release successful albums, but also go on tours that would also become successes. They weren’t so much role models for those who may have admired them, but they were the lone cubs. The Foo Fighters were still making new and vibrant music, they are not a nostalgia act and yet they were up there with the ranks of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Celine Dion. That’s not to take away anything from heavy music, because there’s a wealth of great and new music coming out on a regular basis. For a generation, the Foo Fighters were not only one of the few, but sometimes it felt like they were the only ones out there. While that may be good to be the sole group, sometimes creativity, passion, and drive comes from having competition out there, even through the true competitor is yourself.

Fortunately, Grohl has always found other projects to do, but with the word “hiatus” being thrown around for the Foo Fighters, is that just a calmer way to say break-up? If so, do we ask why or do we say “who cares?” That’s not to say that no one cares, but I think the issue of a band’s status comes from those who want more from their favorite bands, which only leads to a debate over fading out of the spotlight at the right moment vs. “we want you to rock forever”. Would it be different if Grohl didn’t make a statement? Perhaps, he could have easily remained quiet and come back in 2014 or 2015 and boom: new album and tour. Again, Grohl has been involved in many projects. Maybe he wants to show his Foo Fighters fan base that he has always been more than Foo, and if you like him for his work with that band, then follow his path wherever he chooses to go. The diehard fans will do that. I loved the Foo Fighters documentary where they all talked about their roots and origins, and how surprised they are to be where they are today. One can argue that perhaps Grohl is comfortable and wants to live a more sane life. He has been performing, recording, writing, and singing for 26 years. Maybe he wants to go fishing, head to Goodwill and by ceramic owls. Go to Wal-Mart at 2am and buy Preparation H. He might want to become a nurse, or become a part of the 2016 Olympic archery team. Or maybe this will be the moment when Grohl will be replaced in his own band by Alanis Morissette and truly freak people out.

Either way, whether it is a time out, a hiatus, a thinly guised break-up, or just his way of saying “my feet are sore”, be thankful for the music Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters have created. Even if you hate them, this only means your hate will/should end for the time being. Focus it on someone else you don’t care about. Grohl probably wouldn’t mind.

I’d welcome the return of Dale Nixon for a few projects, though. Now I’m being greedy.

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DUST IT OFF: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” 20 years later

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As a longtime resident of Washington State, I was very aware of who Nirvana were when they released their second album on this day in 1991. I had been involved in my local punk scene at the time, and while I lived 200 miles from Seattle, I knew of some of what was going on up there. I loved Sub Pop Records and much of what they were releasing, but Soundgarden had moved on to A&M. Green River was long gone, so some of its members moved on to Mudhoney, others went to Mother Love Bone. Mother Love Bone had been signed to a major label when its vocalist, Andrew Wood, died of a heroin overdose. In time, there would be discussion of a new band called Mookie Blaylock, who would eventually change their name to Pearl Jam. I liked the almighty Tad, but my favorite band on Sub Pop was Mudhoney. They were raw, grungy, and not grungy in “sound” but just… if they wanted to be sloppy, they had no problem in doing this. They were not my favorite Seattle or Seattle-area band, that honor went to Melvins and Melvins only, although by the time the 90’s started they had moved to Los Angeles.

Then there was Nirvana.

I think what I liked about Nirvana is that they could do the loud and distorted thing very well, but turn around and be pretty, harmonious, and delicate. Bleach was an album that became mandatory listening not only for music fans in the Pacific Northwest who loved the Seattle music scene, but anyone who looked to Seattle as a place for something different musically. If you wanted college rock, you normally had to turn to the “left of the dial” on the radio. Or you had to seek independent magazines or fanzines, and when you dipped into the underground, those publications were plentiful. If you wanted it, you had to seek it out yourself. England, however, showed an appreciation for the Seattle music long before the U.S. did, and that attention in England and the rest of Europe lead to an appreciation in Japan. Even if Sub Pop did find incredible ways to promote/hype their artists, it was effective and it got them into more venues, expanding their audiences incredibly. Or at least “incredible” in an indie label way.

In 1991, there was a great publication called Backlash, edited by Dawn Anderson, whose work I liked in another Seattle publication I had read frequently, The Rocket. In the March 1991 issue of Backlash was a Nirvana cover story, and it would become the magazine’s final issue. On the cover was a photo of the band, and the word “BYE”, which at the time seemed like nothing more than Anderson saying goodbye to her readers. The article hinted that the group were signed to a major, but it was almost as if she was hinting at something more, even though she didn’t know what that “more” would be. In truth, no one knew, but perhaps there were hints that Nirvana were going to get a greater push than any other Seattle band signed to a major label up until that point. Soundgarden were popular, but they were still a Seattle band. It was almost as if the “BYE” was saying aloha to another chapter in Seattle’s rich music history. Six months after that issue hit the streets, we’d found out exactly what would be changed.

Everyone has a Nirvana memory, or more specifically a Nevermind memory, and mine may not be any different than any others, but this is how I viewed things 20 years ago. A few weeks before the release of the album, MTV aired “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on its alternative music show, 120 Minutes. The music scene at the time was still about the power of hard rock and heavy metal, and while Nirvana never shied away from their love of hard rock & heavy metal, this was a different vibe. I was familiar with it, because the tattooed cheerleaders and slam dancers in the high school gym all looked like friends I hung out with at shows. Dave Grohl had been in the band for a short time at this point, but I knew of him from Scream. The video looked like the kind of mosh pit I wished I had in high school, and that everlasting note at the end of the song made me think “wow, what the hell?” I didn’t think “ooh, music is going to change from this point on”, it was an honor to realize that this band from 200 miles the west of me were getting airtime on MTV, and that was that.

Or so I thought.

Nevermind was released on September 24, 1991 by DGC, or the David Geffen Group. They had invested a good amount of money in the hopes Nirvana would break it big, but at that point in time, their major bread and butter was Guns N’ Roses. Geffen had just released the massive 2CD/4LP set Use Your Illusion, sold as two separate albums, on September 17th, so Geffen was more than happy to do anything for their golden boys. At that point in time, hard rock and heavy metal was king, so when it came to loud and abrasive, Guns N’ Roses were it. A month before this, Metallica had released their self-titled “Black Album”, which pushed them into the mainstream in a major way, pushed by the soon-to-be-radio-friendly “Enter Sandman”. Metal fans now had to battle between the old school GN’R and then-new school thrash of Metallica, there were headbanger battles on who would reign supreme, who would spend time with a patch on their denim jackets. Nirvana didn’t intend to be a swift kick in the nuts, but because they too also rocked but with an attitude that was far from metal and more like the prankster skateboarder kid who would mock you right in your face, people noticed. Nevermind caused a few ripples, which was to be expected since only 46,251 copies were initially pressed. Wikipedia also states that 35,000 more copies were pressed in the UK since most of Nirvana’s fans were there. The group were appreciated overseas, so they at least knew sales of it would lead to more tours. But the presence of a video on MTV, which for many was the first time they had witnessed slam dancing or a mosh pit, made everyone want to know who they were and what they were about. Sales of Nevermind would eventually grow, and of course the rest is history.

When I listened to Nevermind in full for the first time, I liked it. Lots of heaviness, lots of cool songs, and a few mellow tracks. It was merely a follow-up to Bleach and the other songs the group had released, nothing more than just “new Nirvana”. After “Something In The Way” ended, my CD player kept going but nothing was playing. I didn’t know what was going on, but I figured I’d wait it out. Then I fast forwarded. 9 minutes, 10 minutes, nothing. 12, 13, and then I hear something. Rewind the CD dial. The band begins a new song, not listed anywhere on the cover, and it starts out with nothing but a bass. Then the guitar comes in, then the drums. It’s loud and distorted, and then it gets to a delicate part. Kurt Cobain sounds like he’s just moaning into the mic, then the venom comes back. Not even a minute into the song and I’m completely feeling this song, as it reminds me of a band Nirvana knew very well, Melvins. I knew Cobain used to hang out and go to many Melvins shows, but this song to me sounded like some Melvins tribute. They were honoring their friends, the band who arguably pushed these guys to become who they were, and I ate it up. The song then sounded like he was smashing his guitar in the studio, so all you ended up hearing was Grohl’s drums and Krist Novoselic‘s bass. After almost seven minutes, the song was over and I had the biggest shit-eating grin on my face. This was truly “nirvana”, I felt spent but I went to play the song again.

It wasn’t until early 1992 that I found there was a title for this song: “Endless, Nameless”, which makes sense since it had no proper title and it sounded like it could/should never end. Even though “Something In The Way” is the album’s proper ending, when I hear the album get to that point, it’s so open-ended that it’s openness left me going “okay, now I want a proper close.” Was “Endless, Nameless” in a small way a thank you to Melvins, a tribute to the Pacific Northwest, and to all of their fans who had stayed with them in the few years of their existence? The feedback sounds like a massive, sonic fuck but it’s so beautiful because that stereophonic chaos feels like it’s meant to be for you. Everything you ever wanted for people to know about the Seattle music scene felt like it was coming out of that damn studio in Los Angeles, it was like they were saying “c’mon fuckers, now we’re going to kick you in your face, this is our shit.” The last 20 seconds of the song comes off like a chime from outer space before the fuzz of the amps slowly fades out. I knew I would be listening to it in a year, 5 years, 10 years and now? “Endless, Nameless” is as awesome as it was when I first heard it. The song was their orgasm, and now we were bathing in the afterglow.

Too poetic? It didn’t matter. People speak about the 27 curse, and when Cobain died three years later at the age of 27, it almost solidified him as someone of importance. When he died, people wanted to make him a monarch and maybe rightfully so, since the power of the band *as a whole* made people want to cheer. That’s the power of music. Would he want to be a monarch, hell no. But people looked at him dying at 27. People also noted that Cobain’s major label exposure was barely three years. roughly the same time that both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had between their first major label releases and deaths. Deep down, Cobain was just a punk rock kid from a small hillbilly town with a love for music, writing, and art. He wanted to escape, first through his music, and with his music he left the town that made him feel like an outsider. I think with age, he might have realized that a lot of us are outsiders, but we eventually find someone or something that takes us to where we need to be. I’d like to think for a short time, Cobain was able to see an escape from the doldrums, and I’m certain he knows that his music helped many to leave their own situations as well.

A band like Nirvana would never get the kind of attention by major labels as they did 20 years ago. Because of Nirvana, every other major label wanted to have a chunk of their Seattle pie, but it helped push alternative music to a place it had never been, something that would never happen in that way again. Nirvana were something long before Cobain died, and will remain that for those who put faith in their music and how they did it. Nevermind is some incredible music, and I hope people who discover it for the first time today will appreciate what it was like to hear it when it was released in 1991, same for those in 2031 who will honor its 40th anniversary.

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VIDEO: Trailer for forthcoming Foo Fighters documentary


Ever dreamed of seeing North Richland’s own Nate Mendel on the big screen? You now can with a documentary film on the ultra-rockers known as Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters: Back And Forth, directed by James Moll, has nothing to do with Cameo or Aaliyah and there’s a small chance that if you are a Foo Fighters fan, you may not know what I’m referring to. It doesn’t matter, what you’re reading this for is to find out more about this Foo doc. All you have to do is click play on the trailer.

Like most music films/docs as of late, it will not be widely distributed but if it plays locally/regionally, please go to it. Since bassist Mendel is from the area I currently live in, I’m hoping it will open here.

SEPARATED @ BIRTH: Dave Grohl & Alanis Morissette

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I have seen the resemblance for years, and I resurrect it in 2011. If Alanis Morissette can turn into Dale Nixon, I will salute.

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