Former band members William Goldsmith and Franz Stahl will not be included when the Foo Fighters are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Class of 2021.
Goldsmith was the band’s original drummer, handpicked by Dave Grohl in 1995 along with his fellow former Sunny Day Real Estate rhythm section alumnus Nate Mendel to tour behind the band’s self-titled debut album, which Grohl recorded by himself. Bits and pieces of Goldsmith’s drum performances appeared on the group’s second LP The Colour and the Shape, but Grohl’s insistence on rerecording Goldsmith’s tracks and replacing them with his own drum performances led to Goldsmith’s departure before the start of the accompanying tour.
Stahl replaced Pat Smear as the band’s lead guitarist in 1997 during the Foo’s tour behind The Colour and the Shape. Smear remained in the band up until the band’s appearance at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. Stahl played with Grohl in the D.C. hardcore punk band Scream before Grohl joined Nirvana. Stahl participated in early writing sessions for the band’s 1999 album There Is Nothing Left to Lose, but conflicts between him and Grohl about music composition resulted in the band firing Stahl before the start of the recording sessions. His only contributions to the band were the song ‘A320’ featured on the soundtrack for the 1998 Godzilla movie and a re-recording of the song ‘Walking After You’ from The X-Files film released that same year.
Goldsmith has been vocal in the past decade about his contempt for Grohl and the way he was treated while serving his tenure in the band. Stahl has remained relatively quiet about his relationship with Grohl and the Foo Fighters since his departure, although a reformed Scream did open up a few shows for the Foo’s during the Wasting Light era and record an EP, Complete Control Recording Sessions, at Grohl’s Studio 606.
The snubs are just the most recent in a long history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cherry picking members to be included for induction. Certain bands, like the Grateful Dead and Parliament-Funkadelic, made a point to include as many members as possible to paint the full picture of their collectives. Others, like fellow ’90s inductees Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, included certain members while excluding others despite their long tenures/notable recorded contributions.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame makes a concerted effort to pass itself off as an institution that preserves the history of rock music, but their inconsistent induction process highlights one of many fundamental flaws in the Hall’s foundation and ethos. There is some confusion as to whether bands have the ability to pick who gets inducted with them, with a number of artists responding that they had no say in the matter, while others, like Class of 2019 inductees The Cure, forced the Hall to include members lest the band refuse the “honour”.
It seems as though, if a band were truly inclined, they could make a request to include any and all members who they feel are deserving, while they can also exclude members passively if they so choose. Grohl most likely did not want to include Goldsmith and Stahl, and possibly requested relatively new member Rami Jaffee be included, but it’s hard to know for sure. In any event, the exclusion of band members from historical preservation makes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame less of a “museum” and more of a subjective entertainment club that should very seldomly be considered an institution that reflects the proper history of rock and roll. It’s mostly just the “Who is nice to Jann Wenner?” fan club, and speaking ill of the Rolling Stone founder is a one-way ticket to exclusion. That’s probably why, despite the voting committee consisting of a large number of music critics, I will most likely never be extended an invitation to join said committee.