My Hero – Foo Fighters

foo_fightersFoo Fighters is an American rock band formed by singer/guitarist Dave Grohl in 1995.

Dave Grohl joined the band Nirvana as the group’s drummer in 1990. In order to occupy himself during tours, he took a guitar with him and wrote songs. Grohl held back these songs from the band; he said in 1997, “I was in awe of frontman Kurt Cobain’s songs. And intimidated. I thought it was best that I keep my songs to myself.” Instead, Grohl occasionally booked studio time to record demos, and even issued a cassette of some of those songs called Pocketwatch under the pseudonym “Late!” in 1992.

Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home on April 8, 1994, and Nirvana subsequently disbanded. Grohl received offers to work with various artists, and almost accepted a permanent position as the drummer in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Ultimately Grohl declined and instead entered a studio in October 1994 to record twelve of the forty songs he had written. With the exception of a guitar part on “X-Static” by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, Grohl played every instrument and sang every vocal on the tracks. “I was supposed to just join another band and be a drummer the rest of my life,” Grohl later said. “I thought that I would rather do what no-one expected me to do. I enjoy writing music and I enjoy trying to sing, and there’s nothing anyone can really do to discourage me.” Grohl completed an album’s worth of material in five days and handed out cassette copies of the sessions to his friends for feedback.

Grohl hoped to keep his anonymity and release the recordings in a limited run under the title “Foo Fighters”, taken from the World War II term “foo fighter”, used to refer to unidentified flying objects. However, the demo tape circulated in the music industry, creating interest among record labels. Grohl formed a band to support the album. Initially, Grohl talked to former Nirvana band mate Krist Novoselic about joining the group, but both decided against it. “For Krist and I, it would have felt really natural and really great”, Grohl explained. “But for everyone else, it would have been weird, and it would have left me in a really bad position. Then I really would have been under the microscope.” Having heard about the disbanding of Seattle-based emo band Sunny Day Real Estate, Grohl drafted the group’s bass player, Nate Mendel, and drummer, William Goldsmith. Grohl asked Pat Smear, who served touring guitarist for Nirvana after the release of its 1993 album In Utero, to join as the group’s second guitarist. Grohl ultimately licensed the album to Capitol Records, releasing it on his new record label, Roswell Records.

The group played its debut show at a keg party in February 1995. Grohl refused to do interviews or tour large venues to promote the album. Foo Fighters undertook their first major tour in the spring of 1995, opening for Mike Watt. The band’s first single “This Is a Call” was released in June 1995, and its debut album Foo Fighters was released the next month. “I’ll Stick Around”, “For All The Cows” and “Big Me” were released as subsequent singles. The band spent the following months on tour, including their first appearance at the Reading Festival in England in August.

My Hero

According to Dave Grohl, the song is dedicated to ordinary, everyday heroes, as he himself never had musical or sports heroes growing up as a child.

In 2008, the Foo Fighters criticized the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain for using their song at rallies without their permission.

Foo Fighters responded to the incident saying: “It’s frustrating and infuriating that someone who claims to speak for the American people would repeatedly show such little respect for creativity and intellectual property. . . The saddest thing about this is that ‘My Hero’ was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential. To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.”

The McCain campaign has noted that the song was used properly under blanket licensing (which does not require the artist’s permission), and all proper royalties were paid.

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Too alarming now to talk about
Take your pictures down and shake it out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

Don’t the best of them bleed it out
While the rest of them peter out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

kudos my hero leaving all the best
You know my hero, the one that’s on

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He’s ordinary

  • Audio from the 1998 album, The Colour and the Shape:


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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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