If you are a fan of foo fightersit is almost impossible that you do not know “Times Like These”, one of his most celebrated hymns both in its electric version and in its later and wonderful acoustic interpretation. What you may not know is that, during the song’s bill, the band came really close to breaking up.
The band’s fourth album, ‘One By One‘, was marked by personal tragedy, especially the divorce of Dave Grohl and the overdose he suffered taylor hawkins. The recording sessions for the album were basically torture for the Foo Fighters.
Guitarist Chris Shiflett, who had joined the group in 1999, perceived all this discomfort among his bandmates. “It was very confusing for me”he confessed years later to Apple Music. “I was like, ‘What’s going on? This is the weirdest record I’ve ever made.’“.
The late Hawkins remembered him with the following sentence: “We were still trying to figure out how to continue being a band. The record we did sounded a bit improvised.”
Dave Grohl, to top it off, had just recorded the drums for ‘Songs for the Deaf‘, the third album of Queens of the Stone Age. Seeing that he had had a better time with them and that he suffered recording with Foo Fighters, Dave decided to stop the project. But that was not all.
The Foo Fighters frontman accepted an offer to tour with Josh Homme’s band, surprisingly leaving his ensemble in a dangerous “limbo”, as bassist Nate Mendel would end up describing it.
The one who took it the worst was Hawkins, still recovering from the serious problems that tormented him. For Taylor, Grohl’s scare felt like a friend dumping you when you needed them most.
“I went through a horrible trauma and I was supposed to be glad Dave was having such a good time (with Queens of the Stone Age)”recalled Hawkins in the documentary ‘Back and Forth’. “But I wasn’t. I wasn’t happy that he was going to play with another band. Why would I be happy about that?”
A concert that changed everything
But Foo Fighters had yet to put on one last show before at least calling it quits for a while. Coachella 2002 was the scheduled setting for what could be the band’s last performance. It was in rehearsals for that show that Grohl first touched on the idea that would become “Times Like These.”
“Literally the first time we played it was at a rehearsal at Mates (rehearsal rooms)”Shiflett would later recall, “And we all got into a big argument. And maybe that was the closest the group ever got to breaking up.”
Hawkins recalled that Grohl told him: “You’re a fucking asshole, and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off”. The drummer assured that he would. “As soon as we play Coachella and finish this record, make whatever commitments we have, then I’m leaving.Hawkins replied. “If the Foo Fighters break up, the Foo Fighters break up. And that’s fine with me.”.
And so it was… more or less. The Coachella show was good, so good that the band decided, instead of breaking up, to take time off indefinitely. They could still cut for good, but trying to make room ended up working for them, basically because Dave eventually realized how much he valued his teammates.
And so, a letter that we all remember was born. “‘Times Like These’ was basically written about the disappearance of the band during those two or three months and me feeling like I wasn’t quite myself,” Grohl explained in the documentary ‘Back and Forth’. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m not done being in the band. I don’t know if they are, but I’m not.'”
Upon getting back together, everything fell into place for the Foo Fighters. ‘One By One’ was completed in just 12 days. “Times Like These”, as we all know, would become a commercial hit and, at the same time, help the band sell even more copies of their LP.
To this day, the band still plays it. The last time? In precious tributes to Taylor Hawkins. Once again, strange times were coming, but if the Foo Fighters have shown anything, it is that they will never lack the strength to carry on.
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Foo Fighters and the song that could have marked the end of the band: this is how “Times Like These” was born