A while back I picked up Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, a great documentary about the Foo Fighters that goes into their past and how they became to be, but also shows them recording their latest release ‘Wasting Light‘ in Dave Grohl’s garage. I LOVE documentaries. I always seem to reflect when watching docs. I start to see how we’re different, or how I can be more similar, etc. When we’re talking about music/band documentaries I always ask why are they’re big and why none of the projects I’ve been involved in are not. And what I’ve been seeing over and over again, it doesn’t come to talent or skill, but passion.
A while back I think I first started to understand this with the It Might Get Loud documentary where they showcase three guitarists from three different genres of music and three different generations. It was clear that the the common thread was passion. They were going to “make it” no matter what, because they were so connected to music, that fame and fortune were just by products. They just wanted a reason to play guitar all day long and not have to deal with distractions.
When I was watching Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, I was immediately inspired by Grohl’s passion. After the demise of Nirvana, Grohl had options as a drummer and you know he had cash to do whatever, but decided to start completely over. To me, that takes some major balls. Just like the survival shows on Discovery you’ll hear people talking about the Risk/Reward ratio. If the risk is acceptable while the reward is good, it’s a good move. When you look at Grohl’s position, the risk was pretty high. The potential of tarnishing his rock cred by switching instruments.. and deciding to sing – and potentially sucking. Tough. The reward is obviously and apparently great. I like that it wasn’t handed to the band, and the Foo Fighters toured like animals to win the hearts and ears of each fan, one fan at a time.
This documentary clearly shows the struggle and challenges of creating the band and keeping the band together throughout the years. Struggles of creativity, relationships of band members and friends, the struggle of maintaining a quality and standards as music fan. I really enjoyed that they’re a band for people. They play music as if they were in the audience. They record music as if they were excited to pick up the new album. Their passion is pretty damn impressive. Giving up or stopping was not an option, because like I said with fame and fortune with It Might Get Loud, I could picture the Foo Fighters still playing tiny bars/clubs just so they could still keep playing for a living. They love playing live and recording music..hell who doesn’t, but it’s the drive/passion that keeps them doing it, while others hang up the guitar.
As I mentioned earlier, the documentary also goes into the recording of Wasting Light. I’m also fascinated with how bands record and seeing the creative process develop. Seeing the songs form and possibly change unexpectedly. For this album, I liked that they recorded to tape. I’m a fan of the analog sound.. and the analog process and to me, that’s another bold move for a band like this. They could have just Pro Tool’d the hell out of this, but they chose to track like the old days. Some guest appearances were cool to see as well.
If you’re looking for something to watch, I would highly recommend getting this documentary. Doesn’t matter if you like Foo Fighters or not, you’ll respect the road they had to travel. If you’re young and starting in a band.. and want to see what it takes to “make it”, this is a good watch.