In the past few months I’ve spent a little time listening to Foo Fighters. They have a great number of songs I like and several I love. I’d basically missed them until recently, largely because I was never a fan of Nirvana and just presumed FF to be a spin-off band. I am so stupid.
Dave Grohl has had a virtually unique career. He’s the only person I can think of who has gone from being a Mitch Mitchell (well-known but clearly a background member of a popular group) to being a Sting (the frontman and primary songwriter of a popular group) in different groups. Typically, musicians are cast in specific roles early on and are unable to shift positions later. That’s just not part of the pattern.
Actors often expect to move from supporting to leading roles but for musicians being a backup guy almost always means you’re going to stay a backup guy. Fans don’t typically accept that change any more than record companies do. Dave Grohl was part of the biggest band in the world but when that ended, he ultimately created a fabulous new entity that reflects his voice. Pretty impressive.
Also, are there any suggestions for folks who’ve had parallel career trajectories? Michael McDonald doesn’t count because nobody knew who he was in Steely Dan. Phil Collins stayed in the same band so I don’t think he works either. Maybe Eric Clapton? I dunno how popular the Yardbirds actually were then. They remind me of Buffalo Springfield in that they seem more important in hindsight. Any thoughts?