Foo Fighters – “Stranger Things Have Happened”

When: Pre-dawn 17 December 2007
Where: North Lake Avenue
Who: Nobody
Weather: Freezing

It had all been very depressing, and now I was to begin my finals. That morning was colder than it had been since I’d been going out so early. With all the death around me, I went into a small-c christian mood (even though I was Jewish, the terminology is irrelevant) and decided to make up for my more insensitive past. I went to go see Annie.

Next: The Sorrow and the Glory: 2008.

Foo Fighters – “Ain’t It the Life”

When: 21 November 2006
Where: Valley and San Gabriel Boulevards
Who: Several classmates, several students at a rival school
Weather: Sunny

For some reason on the day after the midterm elections, we got a half-day at school and my mom, who was somehow also off work, took me to Canterbury Records on Colorado. She bought Incubus’ Light Grenades (as I mentioned before), I bought AFI’s Decemberunderground and There is Nothing Left to Lose by the Foo Fighters, the only one of their albums I didn’t have. I spent the following day absorbing it.

It was a busy time– I was catching up on 24, trying to get a film festival started at Bosco, and everybody was watching the Polonium story unfolding overseas in the hope it would lead to a new Cold War.. Most notably I was in the process of writing my first feature script, not counting Dublin. This was a comedy, set in the early sixties and written as a ploy to get closer to a girl who went to Gabrielino. It was my first attempt at sweetness; sadly if any hard copy of the script still exists, I have yet to find it.

We rode the bus home every night, in the encroaching dark and often alone, as I took the opportunity to get my friends to review the screenplay. I dubbed us “Team Huddy.” I’d been recently listening to Al Franken’s book on CD, but this Foo Fighters album was often my companion on the long rides home.

Bodies had been showing up in the middle of the street on the way to school lately, which aside from being disturbing and inexplicable created massive detours that caused tons of trouble not only for us, but for the students at Gabrielino High School which was on our way. I had a huge crush on a girl who went there, but that’s for a whole other series.

Anyway, one of the bodies finally showed up in front of their school, and as the traffic here was already impossibly bad, we took an hour through residential streets to traverse one net block. That’s when I saw the body. In the spirit of seeing something so gruesome, I thought it appropriate to listen to something completely at odds with the situation. So I played “Ain’t it the Life,” and I never forgot it.

Next: Wives and knives

Foo Fighters, Best of You

When: August 2005
Where: the northbound Pacific Surfliner through Simi Valley
Who: My father
Weather: Foggy
Book: The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

My mother and Bubby were going to our semi-regular place of vacation, and rather than suffer that trip in a small* car I opted to take the train.

*Small by American standards, midsize by all other standards except Venezuela.

Foo Fighters – “I’ll Stick Around”

When: April 2003
Where: My Bubby’s House
Who: Nobody
Weather: Warm, clear

The war was going pretty well. All the footage on the news was of soldiers sliding down banisters in Saddam’s palaces, and while we had no idea where the man himself was, it was only a matter of time. Thankfully for the news media, there was a new story: SARS.

For two whole weeks, America was certain that SARS would come and kill us all. So many Asian immigrants were wearing surgical masks all the time, so we as a people took the initiative and started wearing them too. Health scares today pale in comparison to this mass freakout; compare it to Swine Flu, which was way more widespread. I had swine flu, but that’s for a later story.

Tiring of this ridiculousness, and still quarantined with the flu, I changed the channel to Comedy Central, at a time when they were still showing old episodes of Saturday Night Live; on that day it was Anthony Edwards and the Foo Fighters. And I felt a little bit better.

Next: The power of StarCraft.

Foo Fighters – “All My Life”

When: 14 October 2002
Where: Gas Station, Glendale
Who: My mother*
Weather: Warm, clear

If the Foo Fighters had stayed on top of the post-grunge food chain, we might have had a chance. They are unquestionably the face and codifiers of the genre; they and Incubus were in still relevant; but unfortunately Sony dumped all their Nickelback and Creed albums on area Wal-Marts and we were left with a mess.

Luckily the Garage Rockers got rid of all that overblown crap, but to your typical 7th-grader, the Foo Fighters were still king.

The first time I heard this was pulling into a gas station in Glendale, the weekend after the network premiere of The Matrix. The song fit, but was atypical of the band. Dave Grohl et al later denounced and rejected their album One by One, pointing to a lack of effort that plagued every other post-grunge act. Suddenly they’d fallen into their own trap, but like Pearl Jam they would rescue their prestige by maintaining a low profile and continuing to work at a steady pace.

But, in the words of Thomas the Tank Engine, that’s another story.

*Yes, my mother is in here a lot. When you don’t have the means to get yourself around, your parents generally do that crap for you and the radio is usually on. I promise they’ll show up less and less starting now.

Next: New Wave Revival shows up way too early, and everybody turns it into a stupid joke.