Foo Fighters: Learning to Fly

Mick Wall. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-12233-9
In this entertaining if thin biography of one of the world’s most popular rock bands, veteran U.K. rock writer and broadcaster Wall (Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe) charts the transformation of Dave Grohl from Nirvana drummer to front man of Foo Fighters. Only, don’t think the book is about “Foo Fighters, the band,” Wall writes, but rather, “Foo Fighters, the man.” Indeed, from the very beginning—a small, cassette-only release that predated the demise of Nirvana and set the stage for Foo Fighters’ first record—the band has been Grohl’s baby, and much of the book is devoted to the often-public growing pains related to Grohl’s need to control nearly every aspect of the band’s output, often to the consternation of its ever-changing lineup. Unfortunately, that story line is barely enough to sustain Wall’s narrative. The book breezes too quickly through Grohl’s early career (most notably as the drummer for D.C. band Scream); devotes too much space to the Nirvana/Kurt Cobain story; and flies through Grohl’s most productive decade with the Foo Fighters. It’s not necessarily Wall’s fault, however. Grohl, frankly, just isn’t that compelling a subject; he’s too well-adjusted (he’s referred to by some as “the nicest guy in rock”) and guarded to generate the kind of turbulent material that propels most rock narratives. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 08/15/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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