It’s an indication of the changing face of the music business that in 2015 Foo Fighters no longer release physical singles – their last ‘product’ being a limited edition twelve-inch vinyl featuring ‘Rope’, the first song released from 2011’s ‘Wasting Light’ album. This is a shame, for some of the band’s most interesting and invigorating work has been tucked away on their singles.
Here’s 10 Foos b-sides which might just cause you to re-evaluate your thoughts on Dave Grohl’s stadium rockers, or fall in love with the band anew.
THE COLOUR AND THE SHAPE (Monkey Wrench, 1997)
The Colour And The Shape is something of a curio in the history of the Foo Fighters, not merely because it didn’t actually end up on the album of the same name, but because it’s the sole track from the band’s fraught second album sessions at Bear Creek studio to have obtained an official release in its original form. Rawer, noisier and thrashier than any of the cuts which made the album, it’s a song which will make old school fans nostalgic for a time when the Foos were a less polished, more fun collective.
WINNEBAGO (This Is A Call, 1995)
Co-written with former Gray Matter frontman Geoff Turner, Winnebago first appeared on Pocketwatch, the cassette-only album Dave Grohl recorded under the pseudonym Late!. Revamped by Grohl during the October 1994 recording session which yielded the first Foo Fighters’ album,Winnebago was ultimately nudged from the final track-listing by the song Wattershed, but has a cult reputation among hardcore fans and is often included in the set-list for ‘intimate’ Foo’s shows.
DEAR LOVER (My Hero, 1998)
Recorded during the band’s second stab at making The Colour And The Shape with Gil Norton, this understated ballad was presumably omitted from the final running order as Grohl decided that the album already had enough mid-paced, sentimental, starry-eyed love songs already.
MAKE A BET (Learn To Fly, 1999)
First recorded back in 1992, with Grohl’s big sister Lisa playing bass, Make A Bet is one of the oldest songs in the Foo’s catalogue. Curiously, Grohl went back and re-recorded the song again in 2002 with producer Nick Raskulinecz, this time re-titling the song Win Or Lose. This version is better.
**FRATERNITY (Generator, 2000)
**Written and recorded for There Is Nothing Left To Lose, Fraternity was left off the album, and subsequently re-recorded in December 1999, when the band booked a session at Grohl’s 606 studio in order to try out some potential B-side material with newly recruited guitarist Chris Shiflett. To date, this is the only song from this studio session to have surfaced.
DANNY SAYS (All My Life, 2002)
Another cover, with added novelty value for Foo Fighters fans in that it’s one of only two songs (the other being a cover of Jawbreaker’s Kiss The Bottle) recorded by the band on which guitarist Chris Shiflett takes lead vocals. Originally recorded by the Ramones for 1980’s Phil Spector-produced End of The Century album, the sweetly melodic song is titled in tribute to the band’s tour manager Danny Fields. Oddly, despite the fact that the Foo’s version was recorded at Taylor Hawkins’ home studio, the drums on this track were played by former David Lee Roth sticksman Gregg Bisonette.
FFL (Best Of You, 2005)
One of 31 songs recorded for the Foo Fighters’ fifth album, In Your Honour, FFL (Fat Fucking Lie) is one of the most aggressive, full-tilt songs recorded by the band in the past decade, but ultimately not seemed worthy of a place on the album’s ‘heavy’ side. A shame, because this side of the Foo’s isn’t heard often enough.
SPILL (Best Of You, 2005)
Recorded, as with FFL, during the monster sessions for In Your Honour, Spill didn’t make the cut for the album, which is curious, as it’s a better song than at least half the songs which were included. Perhaps too ‘typical’ of the band’s early sound, it’s another firm fan favourite, and one of the Foo’s most under-rated and less known ragers.
SEDA (Long Road To Ruin, 2007)
A sweet and pretty little ditty, with a skiffle beat and country feel, the low-key Seda was recorded during pre-production for Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace before Gil Norton arrived to produce the album sessions. A charming addition to the Foo’s catalogue, it’s one of their least-heralded cuts.
REQUIEM (Everlong, 1997)
Recorded at Radio 1’s Maida Vale studios on April 30, 1997 for Steve Lamacq’s Evening Session show, this Killing Joke cover carries not of the original’s bristling menace, but takes on a dreamier, trippier quality thanks to Grohl’s softly-spoken vocals. Famously, Nirvana ‘appropriated’ the riff to Killing Joke’s Eighties for Come As You Are, but this cover ensured that Grohl and KJ frontman Jaz Coleman became firm friends, leading to Grohl drumming on the band’s self-titled 2003 album.