It’s pretty obvious that the Foo Fighters work pretty well together. After seeing a handful of band members come and go during the band’s first two recording cycles, the core lineup of Dave Grohl, Chris Shiflett, Taylor Hawkins and Nate Mendel have been together for the better part of a decade and have achieved great success, selling millions of albums, filling stadiums around the world and even headlining the White House.
But the quartet seems to spend an awful lot of time away from each other. Today marks the release of Shiflett’s first solo album (which he recorded as Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants), which is quite the departure for the former axe man for San Francisco punk band No Use For a Name. Rather than the buzzsaw riffs that have made the Foo Fighters huge, Shiflett’s album errs more on the side of the Foos’ quieter material, and it contains all sorts of nods toward country music (there’s a ton of slide guitar on there).
This isn’t the first time Shiflett has played away from his primary band, as he is a standing member of pop-punk sorta-supergroup Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (a quintet lead by NoFX frontman Fat Mike who put sped-up spins on classic covers). How does Shiflett’s life away from Foo Fighters square up against the rest of the band?
Of course, Grohl is one of the most sought-after collaborators in rock. He has regularly teamed up with friend and frequent tag-team partner Josh Homme, both as a part of Queens of the Stone Age and as two-thirds of the staggeringly awesome power trio Them Crooked Vultures. Grohl’s other outlets include the heavy metal fantasy squad Probot (which saw him team up with the likes of Lemmy Kilmister and Max Cavalera, among others) and drum services for Killing Joke, the Prodigy, Garbage, Cat Power, Pete Yorn and Tenacious D (among others).
After Grohl, bassist Mendel has had the longest tenure within the confines of Foo Fighters, but that doesn’t mean he has been monogamous. In fact, he recently got back together with his former band Sunny Day Real Estate for an incredibly well-received reunion tour. He has also worked on film scores, most notably for the 2005 indie flick “Our Burden Is Light.”
Foo Fighters began when a drummer stepped up to become a frontman, so it only seems right that Hawkins would follow in Grohl’s footsteps. He has his own solo project called Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, in which he sings and plays guitar. That country-kissed power pop combo has put out two albums (a self-titled 2006 debut and Red Light Fever, which just came out in April of this year). Hawkins also occasionally sits in with a Police cover band called the Cops, performed with Queen’s Roger Taylor and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Live Earth, spent some time during the Foo Fighters’ hiatus to play in a metal cover band called Chevy Metal and also dropped in on the recording of Slash’s recently-released solo album.
What is your favorite Foo Fighters side project? Let us know in the comments!