23 years ago: Foo Fighters release ‘There Is Nothing Left to Lose’

There are plenty of ups and downs in the history of any long-running band and era Foo Fighters had been through a lot in their relatively short career, by 1999 the band members in place found a comfort level with each other and it showed in the music.

Before recording There is nothing left to loseFoo Fighters dismissed guitarist Franz Stahl, who had joined the band after the exit of Pat Smear. Stahl was a longtime friend of Dave Grohl before he dated Grohl’s time in Nirvana, but his Foo Fighters stint just didn’t work out and the band parted ways with the guitarist very early in rehearsals for the new disc. “I was in tears,” Grohl shared The Guardian about Stahl’s exit from the band. But it just united the trio of Grohl, bassist Nate Mendel and drummer Taylor Hawkins. With Stahl gone, Grohl took on the task of playing guitar on their new record.

Another unifying factor was that the band was between record labels. After recording their first two CDs for Capitol, the band was free of label intervention and decided to leave Hollywood, a place Grohl became increasingly enamored with, and set up shop in a basement studio he built in his home in Alexandria, Va. … He asked Adam Kasper to produce, and the trio escaped the LA trappings as they set about recording their third release.

“Throw all that rock star bull out the window and you’ll find something to believe in,” Grohl said at the time. “We were left entirely to ourselves. The record was entirely our creation. It was complete and not open to outside manipulation.” That included the decision to go back to the tape. “The way we recorded it was so real and natural,” the singer said. “We didn’t use any computers, anything digital or any of that auto-tuning crap. All you need are songs that deserve to be heard, a few friends and some real direction.”

Regarding that direction, Grohl shared Kerrang“It was about just settling into the next phase of your life, the place where you can sit back and relax because there had been so much crazy in the last three years. At that point, it was me , Taylor and Nate and we were best friends. It was one of the most relaxing times of my entire life. All we did was eat chili, drink beer and whiskey, and record whenever we wanted. When I listening to that record brings me back to that basement. I remember how it smelled and how it was in the spring so the windows were open and we sang until you could hear the birds through the microphone. And more than any other record I’ve ever made, that album does that to me.”

When the recording was finished, the band chose There is nothing left to lose as the album title as it conveyed the feeling that Grohl had at the time. “It’s about when you experience these feelings after you’ve been through a long, difficult period and you finally give in to this feeling that there’s simply nothing left to lose. It can seem… positive, desperate and ruthless, said Grohl.Leader also narrated Billboard that it represented the mood of the band during production. “We just signed off and played like all bets were off. Nobody was forcing us to be there, so it had to be fun — and the songs had to be the best we could possibly come up with at the time,” the singer recalled.

When the album was finished, Grohl knew that a replacement for Stahl would be needed for touring purposes. The band held auditions and Chris Shiflett ended up being the choice. “He fit in so well with the rest of us,” said Grohl, who also favored Shiflett’s background working with punk bands.

Foo Fighters, “Learn to Fly”

The Nov. 2, 1999, Foo Fighters released their third album There is nothing left to lose. The album may have only reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, but it turned out to be one of their biggest releases in terms of singles. Leading wasLearning to fly,” which arrived in mid-September 1999, a month and a half before the album’s release. The song, a melodic rocker, marked a change of pace from the band’s heavier output on their previous disc, The color and shape. It also became a huge MTV favorite thanks to its humorous video with Grohl, Hawkins and Mendel playing several passengers and members of a flight crew sabotaged by Persistent D‘s Jack Black and Kyle Gass.

The song hit #1 on Alternative, #2 on Mainstream Rock and hit the Billboard Hot 100 at #19. Plus the Jesse Peretz-directed video received a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. But even with all that success, Grohl said The Guardian that “Learn to Fly” was “one of my least favorite songs on the record.” Still, there was no denying the love for the song, and it became one of the band’s biggest hits.

Foo Fighters, “Stacked Actors”

The vitriolic”Stacked actors,” based on Grohl’s disdain for the Hollywood lifestyle, was the next single.”[The song is] a blast of feedback and then a Sabbath-on-speed-type tuned riff before blowing into this weird calypso-type thing with vocals that sound like Steve Miller,” Grohl told Guardian about the song. The band performed the song during a performance at The Late Show with David Letterman and the track hit the top 10 at Mainstream Rock radio, but has dropped in and out of setlists over the years.

Foo Fighters, “Breakout”

The other major single from the album was “Outbreak,” a high-energy rocker that got an extra boost due to its inclusion in the Jim Carrey film Me, myself and Irene. With a rather mellow opening, the track opens up to a full-throttle rocker where Grohl reaches a full scream. Grohl also appeared in the video for the song, which was included Me, myself and Irene actors Anthony Anderson, Tony Cox and Traylor Howard, as well as the singer’s mother.

Other songs that gained attention from the disc included “Generator,” which used a talkbox in parts of the song. The track was only released in Australia and Europe and never really got much attention stateside. They also got quite a bit of attention for the melodic rocker “Next year,” which served as a theme for the NBC TV series Oath.

Foo Fighters, “Next Year”

By the time the album cycle was over, Foo Fighters had won their first Grammy for Best Rock Album. It would be the first of three in a row for the band. Despite barely reaching the Top 10, the album would go on to be certified platinum. Reflecting on the disc in a 2006 interview, Grohl said Kerrang that the album was “completely based on melody” and “might be the favorite album we’ve ever done.”

Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal frontmen

Related Posts