Our Complete List Of Foo Fighters Current And Former Band Members looks at a band that was founded in 1994 by Dave Grohl, the drummer for the grunge band Nirvana, which disbanded following the death of its frontman, Kurt Cobain. Grohl took this opportunity to step out from behind the drum kit and into the role of a frontman, initially recording a 15-track demo playing almost all the instruments himself. These demos were what would become the Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut album, released in 1995.
Grohl decided to form a band to support the album, recruiting Sunny Day Real Estate bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith, along with former Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear. However, Goldsmith soon left during the recording of their second album, “The Colour and the Shape,” released in 1997, and was replaced by Taylor Hawkins. This album would prove to be a turning point for the band, featuring hits like “Everlong” and “My Hero” that solidified their standing in the rock scene.
Franz Stahl, who had previously played with Grohl in the punk band Scream, replaced Smear in 1997 but left two years later. He was replaced by Chris Shiflett, who became the band’s lead guitarist. With this new lineup, Foo Fighters released “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” in 1999, an album that continued to build on their previous success and earned them their first Grammy Award.
Continuing their success into the 21st century, the Foo Fighters released several more albums, such as “One by One” (2002), “In Your Honor” (2005), “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” (2007), “Wasting Light” (2011), “Sonic Highways” (2014), and “Concrete and Gold” (2017), among others. Each album showcased the band’s versatility, straddling the lines between rock, alternative, and post-grunge. They garnered numerous awards and continued to be a major draw on the touring circuit.
The band’s lineup remained mostly stable until 2010, when Pat Smear rejoined the band as a full-time member. In 2017, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, who had been a session and touring musician with the band since 2005, also became an official member. Taylor Hawkins, the band’s long-standing drummer, tragically passed away in 2022, and was replaced by Josh Freese.
Despite the various lineup changes and the evolution of their sound over the years, Foo Fighters have remained a favorite of rock fans and at times have been called the last great classic rock band.
Dave Grohl is the founding member of Foo Fighters, establishing the band in 1994 following the dissolution of his previous band, Nirvana, due to Kurt Cobain’s death. Originally from Warren, Ohio, Grohl has been the primary vocalist and guitarist since the inception of the group. He has appeared on all the Foo Fighters’ albums, starting with their self-titled debut in 1995 to their most recent releases. Grohl is also the band’s primary songwriter and has penned many of their biggest hits, including “Everlong,” “Best of You,” and “The Pretender.” Outside of Foo Fighters, Grohl has been involved in several other musical projects, including Them Crooked Vultures and has even directed a documentary, “Sound City.”
Nate Mendel joined Foo Fighters in 1995 and has been the band’s bassist ever since. Born in Richland, Washington, he has contributed to every album since the band’s second release, “The Colour and the Shape,” in 1997. While Mendel’s primary role has been as a bassist, he’s also occasionally contributed backing vocals. Before joining Foo Fighters, Mendel was a part of the influential emo band Sunny Day Real Estate. He has also worked on side projects like Lieutenant and The Fire Theft.
Pat Smear joined Foo Fighters in 1995, and after leaving in 1997, returned as a session/touring musician from 2005 to 2010 before rejoining as a full-time member in 2010. Born in Los Angeles, California, Smear has been a part of albums like “The Colour and the Shape” and more recent works like “Wasting Light” and “Concrete and Gold.” He also contributes backing vocals. Smear was previously a member of the punk band The Germs and played as a touring guitarist for Nirvana.
Chris Shiflett joined Foo Fighters in 1999 and has been a part of the band’s lineup for albums from “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” (1999) to their latest releases. Born in Santa Barbara, California, Shiflett plays guitar and also provides backing vocals. He has co-written some songs but is primarily known for his guitar work. Before joining Foo Fighters, Shiflett was a member of punk bands like No Use for a Name and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. He has also released solo work under the name Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants.
Los Angeles native Rami Jaffee joined Foo Fighters as a session/touring musician in 2005 before becoming a full-time member in 2017. Specializing in keyboards and piano, Jaffee has contributed to several Foo Fighters albums, including “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” and “Concrete and Gold.” Before his involvement with Foo Fighters, Jaffee was known for being a founding member of The Wallflowers, a band that gained fame in the ’90s with hits like “One Headlight.”
Josh Freese, from Orlando, Florida, joined Foo Fighters in 2023 as their drummer. Given the recentness of his membership, it is not yet clear what albums he will contribute to. Freese is a highly sought-after session musician and has performed with a myriad of artists and bands, from Devo and Nine Inch Nails to Sting and The Vandals.
William Goldsmith, originally from Seattle, Washington, was Foo Fighters’ original drummer, joining the band in 1995. He played on the band’s second album, “The Colour and the Shape,” but left during the recording due to creative differences. Goldsmith was also a member of Sunny Day Real Estate alongside Nate Mendel before both joined Foo Fighters.
Franz Stahl was a member of Foo Fighters from 1997 to 1999, stepping in after the departure of Pat Smear. Hailing from Washington, D.C., Stahl contributed to the band’s third album, “There Is Nothing Left to Lose,” but was let go before the album’s completion. Prior to Foo Fighters, Stahl was in the punk band Scream, where he first collaborated with Dave Grohl.
Taylor Hawkins, who was from Fort Worth, Texas, joined Foo Fighters in 1997, replacing William Goldsmith on drums. He became one of the band’s core members until his untimely death in 2022. Hawkins played on most of Foo Fighters’ albums from “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” to “Medicine at Midnight.” He also contributed backing vocals and even took lead vocals on some tracks. Hawkins was known for his energetic drumming style and was an essential part of the band’s sound. Before joining Foo Fighters, he was the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette during her “Jagged Little Pill” era.