After several years playing in one of the world’s biggest bands, Dave Grohl found himself back at square one in the latter part of 1994. Standing amid the ashes of his own hopes and dreams following Kurt Cobain’s tragic death and the subsequent disillusion of Nirvana, the first seeds of Foo Fighters began to take root.
Single-handedly recording every track on their debut album, Grohl later formed a band for live performances alongside former Nirvana cohort Pat Smear. The missing pieces fell into place when he attended a show by Seattle emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate, witnessing what he considered a stellar rhythm section.
Having successfully recruited Sunny Day’s Nate Mendel on bass and William Goldsmith on drums, Foo Fighters embarked on their first tour. While the live show might have been satisfying enough, challenges arose during the recording of The Colour and the Shape when Grohl, dissatisfied with Goldsmith’s drum parts, re-recorded them without his knowledge. This led to Goldsmith immediately quitting the band and the swift introduction of Alanis Morissette drummer Taylor Hawkins.
The turmoil continued when Smear left, replaced briefly by Scream guitarist Franz Stahl. Despite these challenges, Mendel remained committed, until a pivotal moment when Sunny Day Real Estate reunited. Initially wanting to leave Foo Fighters for his old band, Mendel called Grohl to deliver the news.
This sparked a heated reaction from Grohl, leading to Mendel reconsidering his decision overnight. Realizing the gravity of his choice, Mendel called Grohl the next day to express a change of heart.
While Grohl and Mendel resolved their differences, the same cannot be said for Goldsmith. When Sunny Day Real Estate reunited for a tour in 2009, they eventually went into the studio to work on new music. Although multiple band members have gone on the record saying that nothing came out of those sessions, the drummer implicated Grohl in the shelving of this mysterious album, saying in a since-deleted Facebook post: “Recently by way of objective ears I have been reminded of the fact that the greatest Sunny Day Real Estate record ever made remains silenced, abandoned and buried within the murkiest depths of David Grohl’s sock drawer.”
His statement continued: “It’s both a shocking slap of reality and a swift kick in the balls. Gets harder to handle each time. Somehow someday – something has to be done. The tragedy of it is literally manifesting into physical pain. It honestly feels like someone has taken a part of me as a human being and locked it in a closet. My wife looked at me this evening and said “I am starting to understand what’s been haunting you for the past 6 years because it’s starting to haunt me as well.” This is not the first time I’ve had my voice taken from me. But now This music hasn’t just been taken away from me anymore – now it’s been taken away from my children. Unforgivable.”
As this claim was refuted by former bandmate Mendel, Goldsmith clarified in another post that multiple factors contributed to the album’s abandonment, expressing regret for the lack of moral support and engineering received by frontperson Jeremy Enigk.
Lamenting the record’s fate, Goldsmith continued: “If I come across as being a little bit outraged it’s simply because I’ve had the unfortunate experience of hard work being disregarded with no communication or explanation as to why.”
He then went on to say that Grohl “wasn’t too thrilled when Nate played with [post Sunny Day Real Estate band] the Fire Theft,” and added, “it’s misunderstandings like this that arise because people don’t communicate.”
In the end, Goldsmith concluded: “Dave and I should have hashed this shit out through honest human interaction a decade and a half ago.”