What I think after watching about 12 minutes of the Grammys…

I caught the Foo Fighters performance of “Walk” (I had to look up the title).

The Foos confound me.

I liked their first two albums just fine. The debut had killer singles (“This Is a Call,” “I’ll Stick Around”), fun tunes with funny videos (“Big Me”), and personal faves (“Floaty”). The second album was more of the same, only maybe a little hookier/better. I still find “Monkey Wrench” and “Everlong” to be killer tunes years after they were in heavy rotation.

But what they played last night didn’t catch my ear like those early songs. It just sounded like…a slightly cooler, perhaps rowdier, Wilco. (Yes, that’s a backhanded compliment.) Like some dudes who are technically proficient with their instruments flying on autopilot.

For everything that seems cool about Dave Grohl (like wearing Slayer shirts), I can’t get past the Nirvana factor.

Specifically that he was better at what he did in Nirvana (play drums, sing the higher-range backing vocals, throw his drums everywhere at the end of the set) than what he currently does with the Foos (yowl, play power chords, lead the crowd in clap-alongs).

Or that he’s not Kurt Cobain. Which is fine in the sense that he’s not addicted to heroin, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, or married to Courtney Love; but it also means he’s a dude whose songbook, decent as it might be, does not include “Lithium,” “Scentless Apprentice,” “Heart Shaped Box,” “In Bloom,” “Drain You,” “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle,” “Pennyroyal Tea,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Verse Chorus Verse,” “All Apologies”…

It’s hard for me to watch the drummer from a mainstream-jolting band like Nirvana stand on a stage at the Grammys and do some lame-o “clap-over-his-head” routine to get the crowd “pumped up.”

And come on, Mastodon should have won Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance.

[Update: You should read sambob25’s comment on this post. A differing perspective, but one I won’t—or perhaps more accurately, can’t—invalidate.]

Other thoughts…

We have the answer to the question, “Was John Stamos the absolute low point for the Beach Boys?” The answer, now, is no.

The Band Perry and Blake Shelton performing Glen Campbell songs was kinda cool.

Glen Campbell performing was kinda cool, too. I’m glad he was having a good day; it made his post-performance “Where do I go? Do I go somewhere or shut up?” utterance a bit charming, when on a bad day it would have been rather sad.

I shut off the Beach Boys after about 30 seconds, fired up the DVR to watch the new episode of The Walking Dead, then turned the Grammys back on in time to catch the Campbell tribute.

In other words, I watched the walking dead, then watched The Walking Dead, and then watched the walking dead.

3 comments on “What I think after watching about 12 minutes of the Grammys…

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with something you’ve written ever more than this.

    I get the Nirvana thing. I do. I get it. But have you ever seen someone go from being the drummer in one of the most revolutionary bands of all time and then – after said band’s tragic, premature demise – pick up a guitar and become the frontman of another band that has released seven more million-selling records and toured the world relentlessly for 17 years (which is 13 years longer than he was in Nirvana)? Nirvana was Kurt’s band and Dave Grohl’s drumming was arguably the missing link that made them go nuclear.

    It’s not fair to compare him to Kurt Cobain, because that’s what Courtney Love did in her ridiculous lawsuit. Well …

    At any given moment in 2002-03, you could be flipping through a FM radio dial (except in Marshalltown … WOOOOWWWWW, Marshalltown), stop on a rock station and hear him playing drums on “You Know You’re Right,” flip to another station and hear him tearing up the kit on “No One Knows” and then go to one more station and hear “All My Life.”

    Dude, he played drums for the D (and played the devil in the “Tribute” video and their movie … which is better than it gets credit for. It’s at least as good as “UHF.”)

    He helped another cool band – Queens of the Stone Age – reach another level of greatness.

    He wore a fucking Slayer shirt on the Grammys.

    He knocked the “Glee” guy down a few much needed pegs in the press after hearing Slash, Bryan Adams and Kings of Leon get publicly ripped (and, in my opinion, get passive-aggressively accused of being homophobes) just because they didn’t let him use their songs on his annoying TV show.

    Probot. C’mon. It’s awesome. It’s the thrash metal “Supernatural.” “Shake Your Blood” is the fuckin’ balls.

    He’s worked with frickin’ everybody and everybody wants to work with him. Google his list of collaborations sometime. He got John Paul Jones to pick up a bass and go on tour again. He played “Band on the Run” for McCartney with McCartney’s band at the White House. Youtube it. Seriously.

    Every record they put out goes platinum. They played Wembley. They headlined the final night of Lolla last year. Their tours hit everywhere and draw consistently. Yet, they’ve never been the “it” thing. They’ve never been too big, which allows them to stay out of everybody’s way. They’re just there – and have been for 17 years.
    (Maybe he’s Grammys’ darling. I can’t dispute that. People do find that annoying, because the Grammys are such a rub and tug for the crotchety old record company execs and elitist critics (like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that’s a whole ‘nuther bitchfest). But Jack White was Grammys’ darling, too.)

    I’m not trying to convince you to like the Foo Fighters. But I am looking for you to acknowledge that he is rock n’ roll’s greatest ambassador. He’s the only mainstream rock star that still has his indie cred. A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last night: “Great performer, good comedian, loves his fans, would die for his music!” Well, I couldn’t agree more. If I could steal anybody’s career and make it my own, I’d steal his. Period.

    (And you’re not wrong about Mastodon … why they combined hard rock and metal into a single category is beyond me. Oh well.)

  2. “I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with something you’ve written ever more than this.”

    In an effort to one-up this, allow me to say…

    “Barry Sanders would have had 34,503 career rushing yards if he had that Dallas line blocking for him.”

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