Today is the 29th birthday of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. Also known for his previous band, Nirvana, for whom he played drums, Grohl is one of the founding fathers of grunge. Born in Warren, Ohio, Grohl grew up in Alexandria, Va., near Washington, D.C. He first played drums in a punk band called Freak Baby, which changed its name to Mission Impossible and then to Fast. When the band broke up in 1986, Grohl moved on to Drain Bramage, with whom he played until he joined the hardcore act Scream the following year. He also worked for Tower Records in Washington, D.C., during his teenage years.
Grohl was recruited to play for Nirvana in 1990 after Chad Channing left the band following the release of Bleach. Shortly after he joined Nirvana, the band signed with David Geffen's DGC label to record its breakthrough album, Nevermind, with producer Butch Vig. The album was released in 1991, but didn't peak on the charts until January 1992 on the strength of its first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The band rocketed to super-stardom, with Nevermind eventually selling in excess of 10 million copies. In 1993, the band released Incesticide -- a collection of oddities and outtakes -- and In Utero, their third full-length album, which contained the hit "Heart-Shaped Box." The B-side for that single was Grohl's only solo piece with Nirvana, a song called "Marigold." Grohl also had a separate solo project that he nursed during his tenure with Nirvana, releasing a cassette called "Pocketwatch" in 1991. In 1994, singer Kurt Cobain's depression and chronic drug abuse caught up with him and, after several overdoses and failed suicide attempts, Cobain died on April 5, 1994, the result of a self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wound to the head. Six months later, MTV Unplugged In New York was released to the mourning public.
Meanwhile, following a brief stint of playing with Tom Petty, Grohl decided to continue working on his solo project and, in October 1994, he entered a studio to lay down some tracks. The result was the first Foo Fighters album, for which Grohl not only wrote all the songs but also sang and played all the instruments, with the sole exception of "X-Static," for which Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs played guitar. The Foo Fighters' self-titled debut was released in 1995, and Grohl picked up guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith to create a full band, with Grohl on guitar and vocals. The first single, "This Is A Call," quickly charted high and was followed by three more singles, including "Big Me," with its acclaimed Mentos-parody video. Taylor Hawkins replaced Goldsmith on drums and, in 1997, the group released The Colour and the Shape to critical acclaim. Smear decided to part ways with the band and was replaced by another ex-Scream member, Franz Stahl, in September. Most recently, the Foo Fighters were nominated for two Grammy awards: best hard rock performance for "Monkey Wrench" and best rock album for The Colour And the Shape.
Other birthdays: Jack Jones (singer of the "Love Boat" theme), 60; T Bone Burnett, 50; Chas Smash (Madness), 39; Geoff Tate (Queensryche), 39; Mike Tramp (White Lion), 37; and Patricia Morrison (Sisters Of Mercy), 36.