The tale of getting the drums on tape for the second Foo Fighters album The Colour and the Shape is one of the few cases when Dave Grohl diverts from his amicable public persona. Grohl performed almost all of the drum parts on the record, but at someone’s expense: he purposefully deceived drummer William Goldsmith into thinking that he was only performing slight overdubs.
Goldsmith was recruited from Seattle emo legends Sunny Day Real Estate along with bassist Nate Mendel after Grohl recorded Foo Fighters self-titled debut on his own. The initial sessions for The Colour and the Shape took place with notorious taskmaster producer Gil Norton. Norton was tough on the band, and especially on the rhythm section, dubbing them “the rhythmless section” during early recording.
But something else was brewing within Grohl – a desire to return to the kit himself. Without telling Goldsmith, sessions were moved from Bear Creek Studios in Washington to Grandmaster studios in California. Mendel reluctantly informed Goldsmith that Grohl was taking over on the drums, re-recording all the parts that Goldsmith had already put down.
It’s a rare time where Grohl truly seems like a villain. He later asked Goldsmith to tour behind the album, but the understandably disgruntled drummer left the band instead. That tour would prove to be a tenuous time in the band’s existence as guitarist also Pat Smear quit, citing exhaustion from touring. Grohl’s bandmate from D.C. hardcore band Scream, Franz Stahl, was brought in, but he would also be fired before sessions began for the band’s next LP, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
Although he acknowledges the drama with Goldsmith in the documentary Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, Grohl only briefly mentions Goldsmith in his otherwise extensive memoir The Storyteller, saying that the drummer was unequipped to handle the intensity of the Foo Fighters.
Grohl certainly doesn’t come off well in this saga, but it’s also hard to argue with his results. His drums takes on ‘Everlong’ and ‘Enough Space’ are some of the heaviest he ever laid down, and it would be hard to think of anybody bettering those classic beats.
Check out the isolated drums from ‘Monkey Wrench’ and hear the power for yourself.