How Did Foo Fighters Get Their Name?


Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters performing live.

How did Foo Fighters get their name? – Author Cat Badra, Photo via Ken Settle

Foo Fighters are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. The band just knows how to write solid rock ‘n’ roll songs that take off on the rock charts. Dave Grohl, the former drummer of Nirvana, is at the helm of this longstanding project. So, how did Foo Fighters get their name?

How Did Foo Fighters Get Their Name?

Sure, Grohl came from the rock royalty of Nirvana. But, as you’ll soon learn in this story, he didn’t want that to overshadow his new project. In fact, he didn’t even want anyone to know he was associated with Foo Fighters when he first released new music from the group. Instead, Grohl wanted the music to stand on its own strength. It did, and Foo Fighters are still super strong today. How exactly did Foo Fighters get their name? Let’s get into the story behind how Foo Fighters got their famous moniker.

What’s the official definition of a foo fighter?

A foo fighter is a real thing. According to Oxford Languages, “a Foo Fighter is an unidentified flying object of a kind reported by US pilots during World War II, usually described as a bright light or ball of fire.”

Where did Foo Fighters get their name?

I think Foo Fighters is a pretty cool band name, but what’s funny is that Dave Grohl isn’t even the biggest fan of it. At first, Grohl wanted to stay anonymous when releasing his new band’s music, so he released some recordings in a limited run under the name Foo Fighters. He knew that the name was a World War II term, “usually described as a bright light or ball of fire.” He thought the name would trick people into thinking it was a whole band, even those the early Foo Fighters recordings were just from Grohl.

Grohl said (via, “Around the time that I recorded the first FF tape (that became the first record), I was reading a lot of books on UFOs. Not only is it a fascinating subject, but there’s a treasure trove of band names in those UFO books.”

He added, “Since I had recorded the first record by myself, playing all the instruments, but I wanted people to think that it was a group, I figured that Foo Fighters (WW2 term for UFOs) might lead people to believe that it was more than just one guy.”

Of course, the reason Grohl was self-conscious about the Foo Fighters being just him is because he did record the whole debut Foo Fighters album by himself, doing all the vocals and playing all the instruments. He recorded “Foo Fighters” in Seattle’s Robert Lang Studios to put the album on tape in late 1994 and early 1995, after the death of Nirvana vocalist Kurt Cobain in April 1994. He released the album in 1995 as his new “band’s” debut. That’s so wild. So, if someone asks you, how did Foo Fighters get their name, you now have the answer. But, it doesn’t end there.

In a later interview (via Rolling Stone), Grohl took on the question of how did Foo Fighters get their name and what he thought of the name. He actually said he wasn’t a huge fan of the name. “Had I actually considered this to be a career, I probably would have called it something else, because it’s the stupidest f***ing band name in the world.” I wouldn’t go that far, Dave. I’ve heard some pretty bad band names.

So, if you’ve ever wondered, how did Foo Fighters get their name, there’s your answer. Find Foo Fighters’ albums ranked, too.

Cat Badra
Posted by Cat Badra | Alternative, Features, Grunge, Music, Rock

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