Foo Fighters Wanted to Rule Rock. 25 Years Later, They’re Still Roaring.

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After our first conversation, the band notched another accomplishment: inauguration performer. The connection to President Biden’s campaign began in the fall, when Grohl, his mother, Virginia, and Dr. Jill Biden sat down for a Zoom call about education. (Virginia was a public-school teacher for 35 years.) In a convergence of circumstance and opportunity that worked out just right, as things tend to do for the band, the Foos also played “Saturday Night Live” on the night Biden was declared the election’s winner — a performance that took place with four days notice.

For the inauguration event, there was really no question about what they’d play: the hopeful “Times Like These,” a track released nearly 20 years ago that has endured as an unyielding, optimistic anthem, where Grohl’s voice ascends from tender to thundering as he sounds for a fresh start. No matter what year the song is performed, “Times Like These” always looks toward the future, imbued with a spirit of renewal much like Grohl himself. Across social media, the response was overwhelmingly positive; more than that, the band was greeted like old friends. Once again, Foo Fighters made sense.

Above all, Grohl maintains a forceful belief in the unifying power of music — in creating a space where people can come together and scream to feel something. As he explained it, everything the band has done, and continues to do, stems from this very clear purpose.

“I just want to stay alive and play music, especially after Nirvana,” he said. “When Kurt died, I truly woke up the next day and felt so lucky to be alive, and so heartbroken that someone can just disappear. I decided to take advantage of that, for the rest of my life.”

Throughout our conversations he’d been self-aware about what people expect from Foo Fighters, but did not take that responsibility lightly. “To me, this band has always represented this continuation of life,” he added. “We’ve been accused of being the least dangerous band in the world, and I think that that’s justified in some ways, because I know what it’s like to be in that other band, and I know what that can lead to. That’s not why I play music. It’s not why I started playing music, and it’s not why I play music still.” After all, he’d already played in the biggest band in the world. Why not do it again?

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