With the release of the new Foo Fighters record, But Here We Are, it has been said that the night is darkest just before the dawn. The surprise record was recorded following the death of long-time drummer Taylor Hawkins. The passing of front man Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia, also influenced the songs. What this record proved was that tragedy sometimes helps create great art. Many rock bands over the course of their careers have had great records come from tragic events. This blog highlights those events and how the band never let that define them.
Foo Fighters- But Here We Are
Released this year, the bands 11th LP was created from the death of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins (1997-2021). If Dave Grohl was the soul, Hawkins was the bands 4-4 rhythmic beating heart. In 2021, the band reconvened without Hawkins and recorded But Here We Are without an official drummer. The album has been seen by fans and critics as a return to form. Session drummer and journeyman Josh Freese has joined the band on tour and fits the group dynamic like a glove.
Aerosmith- Walk This Way to a Permanent Vacation
After the return of Joe Perry, who left the band in 1979 following creative differences and drug issues, The band converted to sobriety. Steven Tyler, the toughest one to convert, had an intervention staged featuring the band and friends and family. The group, now collectively drug free, had one thing left to do, come back.
Having no idea who the guys in Run DMC were, Joe Perry became infatuated with them when they began cracking open some beers. The group made their comeback with the crossover hit Walk This Way. Inspired by their newfound popularity, Aerosmith recorded their own record Permanent Vacation. The record has since found success in sales and its songs including “Rag Doll” and “(Dude) Looks Like a Lady” are Internet and FM radio staples.
Def Leppard Proves That Rick Allen Is an Animal
Rick Allen is simply put, The Man. Living proof that almost any obstacle can be overcome and that all problems only have solutions. On December 31st of 1984 Allen’s corvette flipped off a country road. Upon further examination and debilitation, the band, Allen, now missing his left arm came back. The band crafted for him a special drum kit, a combination of an electronic/ acoustic kit. It featured pedals that triggered the sounds he would have played with his left arm. Once producer Robert “Mutt” Lange was brought on board, all bets were off when it came to record the album that would become Hysteria.
The record featured every known recording technique available at the time. It made what would have been standard garage rock songs into sonic soundscapes. The result of the unique recording process surrounding Allen and the records use of technology, made Hysteria a 12x Platinum selling record.
ACDC are Back in Black
After finding success with their 1979 LP Highway to Hell, the boys in ACDC were delt a tragic blow. Their singer, Bon Scott was found dead in his car after a drinking binge caused him to lose consciousness. Following Scotts funeral, the band began to audition singers following the blessing from Scotts family. Ex Geordie singer Brian Johnson was brought in after he impressed the group. Despite initial positive feedback, the band had to go through all other candidates before calling Brian to tell him he had the job.
The band went to work recording some songs Scott had written, “Hells Bells” and “Have a Drink on Me”. The optimistic attitude towards recording the album in the Bahamas along with their new singer led to a positive minded recording session. The record was met with near universal acclaim. This led to Brian becoming the band’s permanent singer and a well-deserved comeback for the band.
And Justice for Jason
Following the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton, the band needed a new direction. After getting the blessing from Burtons family, the band hired Jason Newsted as his replacement. Things weren’t always smooth sailing with Jason. The band were still grieving the loss of Cliff while Jason was getting acclimated. Jason had to endure fraternity like punishments for joining the band. Including tricking him into eating wasabi, thinking it was guacamole. Though the most egregious treatment came during the mixing of the record. Lars Ulrich and front man James Hetfield wanted Jason’s bass mix turned down. Not to belittle the new guy, but because their hearing was shot from touring. They kept turning everything else up until the bass disappeared from the final mix almost entirely.
The record went on to be a critical and commercial success despite its production and is regarded as a fan favorite to this day. Lars Ulrich says of the mixing that like another Metallica record, St. Anger, which featured a loud snare drum, they were snapshots of where the band was at in its history.
The Who Figure Out Who They Are Without Keith Moon
During the recording of the band’s seminal LP Who Are You, Keith Moon was on a boozy binge. Known for his onstage and offstage antics, Moon had become reliant on booze so much so that it affected his health and reliability. In March of 1976 Moon passed out on stage over his drum kit. During the photography session for Who Are You, Moon had to have his distended stomach hidden. He died in September of that year.
The band decided to soldier on and released two more LPs, Face Dances, and It’s Hard before taking a hiatus from recording. While those albums featured songs such as “Eminence Front” and “You Better You Bet”, the frenetic energy Moon brought to the band was no longer there.
That concludes this weeks blog post. If there are any bands who I missed, feel free to let me know.