It’s a story that a lot of people could probably tell, but one that I can’t forget since back in 1995 I was given a copy of this band that I’d never heard of, a band that featured their name and a strange image on the front cover. It was the Foo Fighters, and like a lot of people have done over the course of their lives, especially when seeing a CD by a new band, my first reaction was “Who’s this?”. Upon turning it around to check the tracklist though who else should appear but former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who was now the frontman for the Foo Fighters and had apparently written and recorded the entire CD back in late 1994. Putting in the CD felt almost blasphemous in a way since this was Dave Grohl, who was at one time part of one of the greatest grunge bands of all time, and how dare anyone listen to him in anything else. Hey, when you’re young and dumb there are quite a few silly thoughts that enter your head. But Foo Fighters took off like a rocket not long after that and there’s a good reason why. But while some folks might have thought that they wouldn’t last that long, they’re still here over two decades later, and they’re still thriving. Now we get to hear from Dave Grohl and many others in What Drives Us just what it takes to go from venue to venue, sometimes bound up in a passenger van with the rest of the band since fame and fortune haven’t come yet. The experiences of so many musicians that have come up through the years are bound to be interesting as well as inciteful when it comes to what’s kept them going and kept them together.
The stories of the road that so many bands have been through would be enough to create a sizable novel no doubt since to be certain, each band would be able to write a chapter that would have quite a few stories that people would enjoy hearing. Thinking the entire time of what they went through to obtain the kind of fame that they sought after for so long, and the sacrifices and long, long hours between one gig and another, would be something that might be intriguing to hear about. That, and the feeling that coming together thanks to the music would make for a great tale that many people would no doubt want to hear simply because musicians the world over know what it’s like to want the attention of others, and they understand the hardships that have to be endured to get people to really listen to what they have to say with their music. Dave Grohl is one of the best individuals to take this project on since he knows too well what it’s like to be a part of a struggling band, only to watch everything crumble down around him. But he also knows what it’s like to experience the triumph and what it’s like to reinvent himself since there was a time when he could have made his way to other bands that wanted him to join up.
Dave obviously didn’t go that route since in 1994 the Foo Fighters came about, and by 1995 their music was hitting the radio and CDs were hitting the shelves, where eager listeners were grabbing up their music without knowing what they might hear. But to hear from him and many others what it was like to travel so extensively in order to build up their career, their reputation, and to deal with their rising popularity in an era when the internet wasn’t even a fraction as quick as it is now when they had to go from one place to another to make certain that as many people as possible knew who they were, that was the mark of a truly dedicated band, and many groups strove to do this as they made their way along the highways and freeways in order to get the word out. Traveling from gig to gig is still done by many bands since those that aren’t a big deal in the music industry at this point need some way to get here and there, even if they have the internet to announce their arrival and tour dates. Back in the day though, even further back than the 90s, musicians had a huge struggle when it came to being known, and had to do their absolute best with every show just to make sure that they were memorable enough for people to enjoy. Those days are long past for some of the more famous bands, but as one might guess, they still have to get from spot to spot for their shows. These days though a lot of the more famous musicians can remember the old days fondly as they’re driven or flown to their gigs.