Foo Fighters Members: This Band Is Dave Grohl's Dictatorship, That's Why It Works

"This band works because it's not a democracy."

logo
Ultimate Guitar
Foo Fighters Members: This Band Is Dave Grohl's Dictatorship, That's Why It Works
10

The members of Foo Fighters acknowledged that one of the key reasons behind the band's success is Dave Grohl's "benign dictatorship," with guitarist Chris Shiflett telling Rolling Stone:

"This band works because it's not a democracy. People can read into that what they want - but it's a big reason why the band hasn't broken up."

Drummer Taylor Hawkins chimed in:

"It's a benign dictatorship. I've learned to keep my mouth shut until Dave's really looking for input."

However, guitarist Pat Smear also pointed out that the band shares all publishing revenue equally, sayinig:

"I think Dave learned that this is the way to keep a band happy and feeling like a band. He's naturally a generous person - but he also gets that there's an upside."

Hawkins added:

"He was a fucking drummer, man! I think because he was in that back seat, he knows how we'd feel if we were treated badly."

And finally, Mr. Grohl shared his take on the matter, saying:

"I mean, I know at the end of the day it's my name at the bottom of the check. But we all hold different responsibilities that keep the thing fucking going."

Looking back at everything that happened over the years, which includes ending up in a coma for two weeks after overdosing on heroin back in 2001, Hawkins said:

"We went through a lot of crazy periods with our band early on. But since then, it's been pretty smooth sailing.

"I'm not saying that I can't piss Dave off, or Dave can't bum me out – Dave can hurt my feelings more than anyone else in the world. But there's not an evil, out-to-get-you vibe.

"It's more sibling-like."

61 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Parthan
    Being one of the last rock bands to really break through before the music market crashed probably doesn't hurt either. Fat paychecks have a way of keeping people happy.
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    Music market crashed? "brings back Vinyl records because demand was so high".....
    negativefx
    Yes.  The market crashed.  Regardless of how well vinyl is doing compared to how it was when CDs hit it big, the music industry is a sliver of what it once was... at least from an active band's perspective.  There may still be money to be had by uber-promoted pop stars, but the industry is still down.
    kramer242
    Yup.... End of the 90s it peaked, with bands starting to sell a million albums in a week.... Then crashed just as fast.... Calling something new platinum is almost a thing of the past and new albums going multiplication is pretty well extinct
    Mad-Mike_J83
    All bands tend to be a dictatorship in some way, there's always the one guy with the biggest sway on the vision of the group as a whole, and that's usually the one that dictates what direction it goes in.
    balta
    That. It is not the only way, but for many many bands it works having one of the members directing the creative vision, the way the songs are crafted even to seemingly absurd details like "this songs ends da da da da, not daaaaa".
    frankv
    It's so strange to me that Taylor wouldn't speak unless spoken to. Him and Dave have always seemed like such good buddies in interviews. Whereas Chris and Nate seem more like "Hope this next note won't make me stand out. I'm just hear because Dave needed actors in the next video clip."
    emptyshell
    Weenie Beenie, Colour and the Shape, Stacked Actors, All My Life, Low, White Limo all have pretty hairy nuts. Also there are waaay better songs on Probot than Shake Your Blood. Personal preference though I suppose.
    aobando20021
    A band should really have one or two leaders at the most. Once you have the "We're 5 different souls" crap, you burn the foundation. 5 people can't go in the same direction. They all eventually move on. That's why I'm not a band guy anymore. Just do studio work. Collect a paycheck and do what the client wants. No input. Nothing. Just do as I'm told. My old band, had a lead singer who thought he was Trent Reznor, Maynard and Axl rolled into one with not even 1/10th of the talent. 
    murray_lindsay
    It makes sense. He is proficient with all of the instruments and can be a one man band if he wanted to. Ultimately Dave writes the songs and checks and should have control of the band. He was in Nirvana with Cobain and from what I have read, KC was a control freak. I am excited for the new Foo's album. Queens was a major disappointment but Death From Above's new one is great. I am hoping the Foo's will have a stronger effort than Sonic Highways. Wasting Light/ Self Titled and There is Nothing Left to Lose are their best work.
    Monkedelic
    Don't give up on Villains. QOTSA albums have a way of growing on you exponentially.
    The_Crank3
    I felt the opposite. I think the queens new album is great while the death from above one is lackluster.
    kramer242
    Cobain received a bigger cut and died most of the writing... Yes he led but never seen anything suggesting he was a control freak.... Only that Courtney maybe tried to push him into taking more control
    beggar__
    [deleted]
    beggar__ · Sep 13, 2017 08:13 AM
    kristoefoe
    Is that your opinion or is it a reference to that article posted a few weeks ago?
    beggar__
    [deleted]
    beggar__ · Sep 13, 2017 08:51 AM
    1mmoralthang
    If you have to explain that it's a joke, it's not a very good joke is it? beggar 500's joke is shit.
    beggar__
    [deleted]
    beggar__ · Sep 13, 2017 09:47 AM
    townidiot
    I'm not sure whether to treat your opinions as jokes, or jokes as opinions!
    HarryParatestes
    dave has these boys whipped having no real creative input is why the foos are so soft dave is too much of a pussy to write something with any edge kurt had physical pain to push him and what does dave have  nothing but a bunch of yes men agreeing with him and sucking him off on the reg
    murray_lindsay
    Probot, Songs for the Deaf, Like Clockwork, Teenage Time Killers, With Teeth would disagree with you. 
    HarryParatestes
    shake your blood is the only song worth a fuck on probot and thats because of lemmy songs for the deaf is great but josh wrote that same for like clockwork teenage time killers is just him on bass he didnt write that shit with teeth trent wrote it all and had dave add the human touch now name a foo fighters song with some hair on its nuts
    the3tw
    Dave has no edge? His best friend fucking killed himself dude. Doesnt get more edgy that that... unless said friend doing the self killing is riding a pterodactyl while scream singing Ministry's Jesus Built My Hotrod.
    The_Crank3
    Saying Kurt and Dave were best friends is quite the stretch and this is coming from a big nirvana fan. Kurt and Dave didn't get along as much as Dave makes it out to be. Krist and Kurt were closer, heck even Dylan Carson was more likely to be kurts best friend than Dave.
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    Kurt and Dave were far from best friends. In fact Dave was on the verge of being thrown out of the band and almost wasn't allowed to contribute to the Unplugged show. He was just another drummer to Nirvana. They had like 7 drummers.
    HarryParatestes
    dave and kurt were not friends when it happened
    the3tw
    Yes they were. They were arguing at best. Have you never been mad at a good friend. Friends thst close eapecially fight bad at times.
    HarryParatestes
    true but they were only in a band for a few years kurt was using and dave wasnt they didnt hang out a lot and they really werent friends when it all went down
    deadsign
    Well, the band should have a leader or two. FF had Grohl, Metallica had James and Lars, Dream Theater used to had Pornoy, etc. 
    Vicryl 2.0
    i think Pat Smear is the invisible leader. ive read before Dave mentioned that he always looks to Pat for advises. even asking his thoughts on sacking Franz.
    suicidalpoptart
    I once read a YouTube comment that stated Pat Smear actually wrote all of Nirvana's songs...while anyone with half a brain knows that's completely retarded I do like the idea that Pat is some kind of evil genius controlling these bands from behind the scenes .
    friday.the.13th.jasonx
    Pat quit and returned like a decade later.
    cactusman1
    Music market crashed because 90% of album buyers are rock music fans.  There isn't any rock music.   They wont sign.  It's bullshit.
    mokeefe1319
    Who the fuck is the guy to Daves right in the picture? (actually his left I know)
    Matzliah
    Rami Jaffee, keyboardist working with the Foos since "In Your Honor" and lately officially introduced into the band.
    hakan.einarsson
    It's their keyboardist Rami Jaffee. Been touring with them since 2005 but became an official member in 2017.