Last Thursday night I went to see the new Foo Fighters documentary Back and Forth which was played in cinemas around the world for one night only. The movie chronicles the sixteen year history of the band through seven albums, months (and months and months) on the road and many personnel changes.
I have been a fan of the band since their first album and although recent releases have been patchy I still have a place in my heart for them. They have been accused in some quarters of becoming a bit AOR in recent years but I think that in fact they have mellowed. They are no longer skinny little boys, drinking and drugging their way through mad tours, playing pranks on each other and scoring groupies. Now they are married men with families and this maturity has found its way into their music. I guess it’s bound to happen.
Of course being the ultimate drummer fan the Foos are a godsend for me: not one but two of the best rock drummers of their generation in the same band! If I had enough money I would hire Taylor Hawkins to come to my house and play the drums every day, just so I could sit in rapt silence and absorb his genius. I have seen Foo Fighters live five times, both in London and Dublin, and they never fail to impress. Once the Foos were doing a secret gig in Dublin and the only way to get into the gig was by guest-list. I was so eager to get to the gig that I managed to get myself listed twice thus proving that I had the skills to be a groupie if I wanted a career change.
The movie is a comprehensive look at the band and is unflinching in its honesty. Disgruntled ex-band members are interviewed and their complaints are uncensored which is refreshing. Taylor Hawkins discusses his overdose and problems with drugs and Dave Grohl is close to tears when talking about the helplessness he felt as he watched his bandmate and best friend in a coma. There’s also tons of concert footage including some goosebump making clips from the band’s headline stint in Wembley Stadium.
As the movie progresses it takes a more intimate look at the band and their recording process, which for the seventh album, Wasting Light, took place in the basement of Dave’s house. This includes some particularly lovely scenes of Dave en famille, especially his daughter interrupting him as he’s recording some guitar parts to ask when he’s going to take her swimming like he promised! (I did relate a little bit here, given my many childhood years spent in recording studios and on the road with my Dad.)
All in all it’s a brilliant look at a band who are on their way to becoming rock legends. If this comes out on DVD, I’m definitely first in the queue to buy it.