This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Foo Fighters' existence as a band. Not just any band, mind you. I'm going to say that in these past two decades, the ultimate rock #squad of Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett and (often) Pat Smear are the most important band in rock music today.
Now, the facts: Six of the band's eight studio albums have gone platinum (the other two went gold). They've won 11 Grammys, five NME Awards, two VMAs and have been nominated for nearly 90 other awards. They've endured personal tragedies and serious infighting but have always emerged triumphant, ready to keep rocking both on record and IRL.
You can disagree. Some days, I do. But what can't be argued with is the Foos' other superlative: They're definitely the most badass rock band currently making music on Planet Earth. 2015 in particular has proven this through a series of cosmic curveballs that've been tossed their way. Somehow -- whether through the divine force of Dave's tattoos or perhaps the permanent fan art they've inspired -- they've knocked them all out of the park.
Because Dave Grohl Broke His Leg Onstage But Didn't Stop RockingKevin Mazur/Getty Images
At a gig in Sweden in June, Dave ate it while rock-walking toward the runway to continue rocking, presumably at an even higher level, and snapped his fibula. But that wasn't the end of the set -- he had an EMT hold his broken leg in place while he waited for further medical attention, singing and screaming all the while. Pretty intense, and pretty badass.
Because Dave Grohl Charmingly Dissed Kanye And Got Away With ItRaphael Dias/Getty Images
After the events in Sweden, the Foos had to (understandably) cancel a bunch of gigs, including a headlining set at Glastonbury -- where Kanye West was scheduled as a co-headliner. So Grohl penned a long, hilarious apology note on the band's website, explaining the situation and ending by tossing just the tiniest bit of shade at the end: "PS... Kanye... Imma let you have this one..." (Kanye ended up having ALL of it, for the record.) It was all in good fun, and Grohl even publicly supported Yeezy's spot on the traditionally rock-oriented festival's lineup.
Because Why Use A Wheelchair When A Guitar Throne Will Do?Getty
After The Fall Of Grohl (future solo album title?), Dave sketched out a plan on hotel stationery so he could keep performing onstage while keeping weight off of his leg. He passed the rough scribbles along to his lighting tech, who rigged up what should henceforth be called The Almighty Throne -- a massive chair with guitar necks jutting out the sides, emblazoned with the Foo Fighters logo.
Because They Sing White Stripes Songs With Orthopedic Surgeons
After Grohl visited his doctor in Baltimore, he invited him to join the band onstage at Boston's Fenway Park for a song. So the surgeon, Lew C. Schon, chose The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," and they made it happen -- with the doc taking lead vocal duties and electrifying a crowd of 40,000 people.
Because They Made An Entire Italian City's Dreams Come True
Rockin'1000 is an initiative started by Fabio Zaffagnini, a northern Italian Foo Fighters superfan. Last week, he assembled 1,000 musicians and singers in the city of Cesena for a massive live performance of the band's "Learn To Fly" in hopes it would convince the Foos to come play there. Dave Grohl heard, and he responded with a "See you soon." Ultimate level of badassery: officially reached.
Because They Invite Emotional Fans To Sing Onstage With Them
In a scene that might as well be lifted from the Foos' as-of-yet-unplanned-but-surely-forthcoming future biopic, Dave and guitarists Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear slowed things down for a super intimate performance of "My Hero" at a gig in Colorado -- and one man in the crowd began to weep openly. This made Dave a little emotional as well, so he invited the guy to come up for a big hug, a headlock and an opportunity to get serenaded by his actual hero. I mean, come on. These guys fulfill people's most-deeply felt, real, passionate dreams, and we all get to watch. How real is that?
Because They Recorded An Album In Eight Different Cities
The recording process usually involves a band finding a studio and a producer and holing up in that one spot for weeks or months until they've got a completed record to show for it. But for their last album, the Foos went big -- traveling to Chicago, D.C., Nashville, Austin, L.A., New Orleans, Seattle and New York and creating one song in each city. The result was Sonic Highways, which also came out as an HBO series (of which a second season may be on the way).
Because People Forget That Guitarist Pat Smear Played In Nirvana, Too
He was the second guitarist at the MTV Unplugged In New York show who played the American-striped acoustic in the background. And he played in the Foos briefly in the '90s, then became a permanent member again in 2010 after being an on/off touring member for years. So technically, that makes two Nirvana alums in the Foo Fighters. Badass indeed.
Because Drummer Taylor Hawkins DGAF, Even On "MTV Cribs"
Yes. Oh yes. Just so much yes.
Because Guitarist Chris Shiflett Has A Country-Themed PodcastC Flanigan/Getty
Because Bassist Nate Mendel Plays In Lots Of Other BandsHutton Supancic/Getty
The Foos tour a lot (like, A LOT), so to have other musical commitments is kinda crazy. But Mendel makes it happen with his newest band, Lieutenant, who you could've caught at this year's SXSW, as well as with emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate, with whom he played in the '90s.
Because "Everlong" Will Never Not Be Everyone's Favorite Song
David Letterman requested the band perform it on the first show back after his open-heart surgery (and again on his last show ever). Monica and Chandler got married to it on "Friends." And the band typically uses it to end their sets, because what else could they possibly play? Two words: Bad. Ass.