We’ve seen post-Nirvana Dave Grohl (and by extension, Foo Fighters) transform from scrappy underdog living in Cobain’s shadow to perennial chart-topper to predictable institution (and, some might argue, anti-change codger at times). Adding to his lovable rock icon status, Grohl has also helped out other 2000s badasses like Queens of the Stone Age and Tenacious D. He’s made the absolute most of every phase along the way, and made these transitions seamlessly. It’s with that apt sense of timing that Foo Fighters are probably taking a long hiatus, but leaving us with the surprise Saint Cecilia EP before they likely call it a day.
There ain’t no secrets anymore
The EP’s opening lyric sums it up best: after over 21 years as a band — all in the commercial limelight — the outfit’s been out of tricks for quite some time. The EP’s biggest surprises tend to only be when they amp up the cock-rock vibes with some cowbell (“Sean,” which fits the ‘wasted with my buddy on a layover’ theme). So, Saint Cecilia serves instead to just soundtrack their reasoning for possible hiatus.
They’ve threatened as much a few years back, but it only lasted about four months (it’s certainly hard to ignore 1,000 musicians in sync, vying for your tour to come through). Still, despite Grohl’s restless work ethic, he’s described this past “broken-leg” tour as a career highlight that will be hard to match. Juggling the band, fatherhood, and aging might have something to do with the curtain call as well, but he’s also got to be aware of the possibility his creative spark is eroding over too much consecutive time as a rock star.
He all but says as much throughout the album. The opening title track is an ode its namesake patron saint of music, as well as the hotel where they recorded the EP. This patron Saint Cecilia “bring[s] healing” not only to Grohl, but he hopes to anyone who listens to his album (including the Paris attack victims, to whom he dedicated the EP). But the reason Grohl needs “healing” in the first place is the general suffering of weariness:
Even when he complain-brags about his awesome career and lifestyle later on the album, he acknowledges that he’s since lost youth and freedoms, as heard on “Iron Rooster:”
This is his Grohl’s, “One last stain to get beneath [our] skin.” And, as usual, it’s solid but not death-defying. Nonetheless, he said what he wanted to say to an impenetrable fan base.