Many Alive readers may not remember a world before Foo Fighters, but believe it or not, when Dave Grohl stepped from behind Nirvana’s drum kit to front his own alt-rock band, people were pretty skeptical.
Grohl’s first singles were a rallying cry, “This Is a Call,” and a promise, “I’ll Stick Around.” Both have proven prophetic: Few modern rock bands are as popular and enduring as Foo Fighters. Grohl may never match Kurt Cobain’s aura of untouchability, but his fame, fortune and influence renders him every bit as iconic.
Sixteen years after that stellar debut album, Foo Fighters headline Nationwide Arena this Thursday in support of seventh LP “Wasting Light.” In honor of Grohl’s expectation-shattering career, here are seven other bands featuring alumni of awesome groups.
Wilco: Back in the days of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy’s grizzled whine was perceived as second fiddle to Jay Farrar’s rich country croon. Farrar kept rolling with Son Volt while Tweedy and the rest of the band formed Wilco. Seventeen years after the acrimonious split, nobody talks about Son Volt anymore, but Wilco are indie rock elder statesmen with an anticipated new LP on the way.
Wings: There are probably people out there trying to argue that Paul McCartney’s work with Wings bests his Beatles catalog. We are not those people, but we’d like to acknowledge their existence for the sake of this article. Either way, no one can front on “Band on the Run.”
Love and Rockets: Peter Murphy was Bauhaus. His on-stage persona was so immersive and electric that to imagine the band without him was almost impossible. As it turns out, though, subtract his theatrics and you’re left with a different, equally exciting goth rock combo.
Lil Wayne: Nobody expected the kiddie rapper from Hot Boys to evolve into the most whimsically wonderful codeine-fueled emcee on the planet. But that’s exactly what he did, tearing off a legendary run circa 2005-09. Even now, with his elite status fading, sales figures don’t lie: Weezy rules rap.
New Order: Given how much of Joy Division’s success was chalked up to Ian Curtis’ tortured magnetism, few could have expected his former bandmates to bounce back so spectacularly from his suicide. Sure enough, they reinvented themselves as perhaps the most successful rock-dance hybrid of all time.
Sebadoh: In the early ’90s, nobody (except maybe the experimental noise community) was praising Dinosaur Jr. based on what Lou Barlow was bringing to the table. For the most part, the band was great because J Mascis was great. As it turns out, Barlow had a few hundred songs up his sleeve too, many of which were pretty great.
Nick Tolford and Company: Before he was scorching concertgoers and frontman for the city’s best band, Tolford played bass for 2008 Alive Band to Watch The Slide Machine, a gig we were disappointed to see him abandon. In hindsight, there was no other choice.