Dave Grohl’s Friend, Musician Jason Narducy, Picks His Foo Favorites
I met Dave Grohl when I was 11 and he was 13. I had a punk rock band called Verböten in Evanston, Illinois, and our singer, Tracey Bradford, is Dave’s cousin. He and his mom and sister visited Tracey’s family in Evanston in 1983. Tracey had an amazing punk rock record collection and she went to tons of shows, even as a 15-year-old. Dave saw us rehearse and was surprised that we played our own songs. He is very kind to credit our band with introducing him to punk rock and inspiring him to write his own original songs.
I am now fortunate to be the bass player for Bob Mould and we have done a number of shows with the Foo Fighters over the last five years. We will be playing with them again October 7 at Caljam. The band and their entire crew are incredibly kind and supportive. I can’t wait to see them. Below are some of my favorite Foo Fighter songs.
I call this song a barnburner. From the first album, this is Dave playing all instruments. I like how this song has both punk and metal influences throughout. The verse is sparse and tight with tension and the chorus is big and catchy. This song makes me want to play in a loud band in a basement after school again.
In 2012, the Bob Mould Band was touring with the Foo Fighters in Europe. In Prague, Bob and I stood at the side of the stage at the O2 Arena to watch the Foos soundcheck. They started working on this song (originally released via Dave’s solo project Late! on Pocketwatch). When they got to the bridge, Dave looked over at Bob and started laughing because the chords are so similar to Bob’s Hüsker Dü classic “Chartered Trips.”
I love this 10-ton riff. It builds slowly, starting with Nate Mendel’s bass line. (By the way, The Colour And The Shape is a master course in rock bass playing. Aspiring bass players would do well to steal everything Nate does. All of his work on the Sunny Day Real Estate records reveals the same badassery.) Then the guitar and drums crescendo and build to two and a half minutes of rage.
In 1995, I stopped by The Metro in Chicago to see my friend Peter Banta. He was a tour manager and was on the road with the Foo Fighters. I think it was only their second tour of the U.S. Peter and I caught up early and then I came back for the show, just as much to see openers Shudder to Think as the Foos.
At the time, there was still a “Nirvana’s drummer has a band” kind of vibe around the band. People knew that first album was good. Really good. But what was this thing? It wasn’t clear yet to me. But this show put that to rest.
At one point, Dave said, “This is a new song,” and they started playing “My Hero.” One minute into the song, I knew this was a very special tune. It still holds up after many, many listens for me. Then Dave did a Townshend-like jump, his feet at his vocal microphone height. No more “Nirvana drummer” label. This is a songwriter and front man. And a ripping band.
“Times Like These”
Perfect pop song? I would say yes. This track sounds just as great when Dave plays it on acoustic guitar as when the band plays it in front of 50,000 fans. “I’m a new day rising” is a nice lyrical tip of the hat to Bob Mould and his Hüsker Dü song “New Day Rising.”
Taylor Hawkins’ drumming on this song is as powerful as it is mischievous. He’s such a unique personality and it comes through in his playing. Taylor once performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with Bob and me when our drummer, Jon Wurster, was unavailable. I sent a thank you email to Taylor afterward and he wrote back, “I bet you never thought you’d play rock with a guy in swim trunks and flip-flops.”
Can you tell I like the Foo Fighter songs that peel paint off the walls? This one is relentless. Complementary song to “Weenie Beenie”? The band has opened shows with this! Decades ago, I saw the movie The Decline of Western Civilization when it came out in theaters. It features Pat Smear’s band the Germs. I still have to double take when I see him on stage with the Foos. That’s the guy from the Germs!
I like how the instrumentation is choked and tight while Dave sings a pretty melody on top of the verse. Does anyone mention what a great singer Dave is? They should. He can sing a smooth melody like this and then scream. Back and forth. For two and a half hours at their shows. Chris Shiflett lays down a scorching solo after the bridge. He’s sort of their hidden weapon. He’s got a pretty mellow stage presence but ends up carrying a lot of weight solo-wise.
I have a son named Sean so I took notice of this when it came out in 2015. The verse is as catchy as anything Dave has written, in my opinion. The lyrics are a countdown of time before returning home. Underappreciated song. Really strong.
This brand new Foo Fighters song features Sir Paul McCartney on drums! He sounds great, but that won’t surprise those who knew he played drums on “Back in the USSR” and many McCartney solo classics. Taylor Hawkins takes lead vocal duties on this blues-psych track, showing off his talent for easily carrying a tune at the front of the stage. I haven’t heard the Foo Fighters sound like this before, but I like what they do here. It sounds natural.
Another brand new one, the first single from Concrete & Gold, ‘Run’ will fill stadiums around the world for the next 20 or 30 years. Immediately sounds like a massive Foo Fighter hit song and yet has a fresh approach in that there are so many different parts — like five songs that fit well together. I saw the band play this at Metro in Chicago in August. It was the same stage I saw them for the first time 22 years ago.
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