The Tao of Foo

Aging gracefully, with babies in tow, Foo Fighters gird themselves for a long future together by following a few simple credos

The Tao of Foo
WRITTEN BY
Steve Almond

Share Your Blessings With Those In Need

As he approaches elder-statesman status, Grohl stops short of considering himself a mentor to younger bands. He prefers to think of himself as a friend—with benefits. Upon first hearing My Morning Jacket, for example, he invited them out on tour, captivated by their Flying Vs and their flying locks. "I wanna see a band go up there and bleed beer. I wanna see a band that isn't perfect, that doesn't sound like the album. Those are the bands I'm sticking up for," he says, four days after the VMAs. "It's disconcerting when you see someone who's supposed to be considered an artist lip-synch a routine in a bikini. That's not music. I don't know what the fuck that is."

And so Grohl remains (without exactly meaning to be) perpetually on the lookout for fresh beerlike blood. "There's a band here right now in the [606] studio from Detroit," he tells me excitedly. "They've been recording for the past two days—and it sounds amazing, so I just asked them to come out on our fall tour." He pauses for a moment and then adds, under his breath, "I gotta get their fucking name."

Be Footful And Multiply

"Last night our keyboard player Rami [Jaffee] was about to split the band to go back to the Wallflowers," Grohl tells me. We're back out on his patio, watching the shadows stretch toward dusk. "I had to make that decision: 'Rami, I want you in the band, and I don't know if you know how it works around here, but once you're in, you're in, so I don't think you should go anywhere, because we have a lot to look forward to.' And so I got a text message from him last night saying, 'I'm all good, I'm in.'"

Does this mean Jaffee will be a full-fledged Foo?

"I hope so," Grohl says. "That's what I'm trying to do."

Specifically, what he's trying to do is make the Foos an eight-piece band, one that includes Jaffee, violinist Jessy Greene, percussionist Drew Hester, and guitarist Pat Smear, who had performed with Nirvana and was the Foos' original second guitarist (after Grohl himself, who played nearly all the instruments on their eponymous 1995 debut album).

"I was pretty upset he left," Grohl admits, recalling Smear's departure just after the release of 1997's The Colour and the Shape. "I'd been through a lot with this guy." A few years ago, though, the pair "got together and laughed and apologized and told each other we loved each other." When it came time to recruit a third guitarist for last year's Afoostic tour, Grohl figured, "rather than just get some Rolodex rocker, why not get someone who knows what it's like to be a Foo Fighter? I wanted the dynamic that we have when we play and when we just hang out together. It felt like a much bigger family. I remember seeing a Dead Can Dance gig and how cool it was that there were all these people onstage. Sometimes they played and sometimes they didn't. It seemed so musical, like a twisted orchestra. That's what I wanted to accomplish."

Gooch Is An Awesome Word

"Gimme bones!" Grohl says.

He's kneeling beside his daughter on the patio, holding out his fist. "Gimme bones!"

Violet, however, is busily splashing in a contraption called a water table, which amounts to a tiny, artificial pond for babies.

"Come on," Grohl pleads. "Don't leave me hanging."

With an air of obligation, Violet holds up her chubby fistlet and allows her father to bump knuckles.

"Bones!" Grohl cries. "Boooooones!"

"Bo," Violet murmurs.

She is, as Grohl has mentioned a few times now, a striking child, with enormous, ice-blue eyes that appear to have been directly transplanted from her mother.

"Okay," Grohl says. "This is the flip." He carries her to the lawn and assumes the position. "Baby in front of you, arm here, across the abdomen, other arm around the back, holding the legs. Ready? One! Two! Three!"

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