Foo Fighters' Grammy-nominated 'Echoes' features a more introspective Grohl

Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Foo Fighters, from left Chris Shiflett, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl and Nate Mendel, were photographed Oct. 24 in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles ~ Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES -- Even though she's a good few years away from taking stubby pencil to paper herself, Dave Grohl's baby daughter Violet gets full credit for influencing her daddy's writing style.

For the Foo Fighters' founder and frontman, the 2006 birth of his first child added a personal, often confessional tone to his lyrics.

"Having a child made me feel like a superman in a way because I had to be," said Grohl, who turns 39 this month. "Just as I can't be afraid to ride the Spider-Man roller coaster at Magic Mountain when it's time, I can't be scared of writing things that I really feel. There are a lot of things that I kept myself from saying over the years."

Indeed, the Foo Fighters' current album, "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," includes some of Grohl's most revealing, introspective lyrics such as on "Stranger Things Have Happened," an intimate look at marriage.

It's clear both fans and critics are responding to "Echoes." The album has sold more than 530,000 copies in the U.S. since its September release and received five Grammy nominations including a coveted album of the year nod. The first single, "The Pretender," took up residence atop Billboard's Modern Rock chart, spending a record 17 weeks at No. 1. The group will play the song Feb. 10 at the 50th annual Grammy Awards.

"Echoes" is the group's sixth studio album, and is the follow-up to 2006's live acoustic CD "Skin and Bones."

As drummer Taylor Hawkins explains, the album "covers everything we've ever done in a weird way, sometimes in one song." The tunes on "Echoes" range from the hard rock of "The Pretender" to the pop sheen of the second single "Long Road to Ruin."

However, the CD also takes the band in new musical directions, in addition to the added lyrical depth. Grohl's wife gave him a piano for his birthday a few years ago, which spurred him to write the mid-tempo, Beatles-esque "Statues." He also takes on bluegrass-tinged country with "The Beaconsfield Miners."

Grohl, the Foos' primary songwriter, wrote the song as a tribute to two trapped miners in Australia who requested Foo Fighters' music delivered to them on an iPod. It wasn't until that incident that he realized the impact the Foos' music could have.

"For years, I've had people come up to me and say, 'That album helped me through a really difficult time' or say 'This song was the first dance at our wedding,' but something like the Beaconsfield incident, that was so much heavier. It was about survival," he said.

It's an idea he still has difficulty getting used to.

"The music that changed my life was made by people that I consider heroes," he said. "So it's hard for me to think the same of myself because that would be a little weird, wouldn't it?"

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