Day 126: The song that was sung in your favorite music video.
“Learn To Fly” – Foo Fighters
I was never a fan of Nirvana. The state perhaps, but not the band. I think Kurt Cobain was a greasy, overrated junkie. Tortured does not (necessarily) equal genius. There. I said it. (Let the hate begin.)
Were they influential? Yes. They influenced a whole decade of crappy grunge bands and the run on flannel. Were they good? Yes, they were okay. But not great to the level that they’ve been raised to.
So when Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters, I was fighting my Nirvana prejudice. I remember thinking, “what, this drummer now thinks he’s a guitarist?”
Such was my post-Nirvana state of mind.
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The first single I remember, “Big Me,” did little to impress me, despite its Mentos commercial-spoofing video. But, in retrospect, I think this was mostly me being stubborn.
And I continued to be stubborn (as I’m wont to be, from time to time.) I ignored “Everlong” and “My Hero” and “Monkey Wrench” outright.
Then, I wouldn’t have admitted I was wrong. But I’ve mellowed.
I was wrong.
Dave Grohl is a hell of a musician, and a hell of a songwriter.
But the thing I like about him most? He seems down-to-earth. He doesn’t seem to be one of those entitled rock stars who think everyone should worship them. He doesn’t take his success for granted (which someone who rose to stardom in the flash of Nirvana frenzy could) and genuinely seems humbled by his achievements (playing Wembley Stadium, playing with Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones, inducting Rush into and playing with them at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame).
I find that refreshing.
And it all really goes back to the video for “Learn To Fly.”
The humor of the video kind of sucked me in. The fact that the band members play all the characters in the video (with the exception of the Tenacious D cameo at the beginning and end) grabbed my attention and so I watched. And as I watched I was shocked to discover I actually liked the song. Granted, this was probably one of the most accessible songs they’d done since “Big Me,” but still. Baby steps.
Since it was the era of Napster, I went and searched out the song. And they I said, “what the hell, I’ll grab the album.” (Attention RIAA agents, I have since purchased the album. Stand down.) To my even greater surprise, I discovered I liked most of the album. And not only did it throw me for a loop, it completely shocked my friend Ray, who generally has a pretty good pulse on what I’ll like and what I won’t. So this was not a foregone conclusion.
So, yes, “Learn To Fly” was the leak that undermined the dam of my Foo Fighter bias, causing it to come crashing down. And while I won’t say I love everything they’ve ever done, there’s quite a bit of the catalog that I do like. And, as stated above, I’ve come to respect Dave Grohl a lot.
So I’ve grown some. Over time, if you’re not completely stubborn, you realize your prejudices aren’t based on reality and your rethink your positions. Things change.
Except the Nirvana thing. Nope. Still not happening…
Many, many, many Foo Fighters… Listen for the muzac version of “Everlong” at the beginning.