Listen to the Song that has Internet Metal Nerds Angry at Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters for Allegedly Ripping Off Dio’s “Holy Diver”
Foo Fighters have a new album coming out soon and, in case you live in complete media isolation, it’s a massively huge deal. While any new Foo Fighters record would be big on its own — while you weren’t looking, Foo Fighters have become a band that regularly sells out arenas — there’s a whole lot of extra hoopla that comes along with this one: each song was recorded at a different famous recording studio around the U.S., there’s an HBO documentary series on said recording process, and the Foos are just wrapping up a week-long residency on The Late Show with David Letterman (footage here of them deftly covering Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” on the show).
As bands are wont to do when they’re promoting new albums, Foo Fighters have now released a new song. It’s called “Something from Nothing,” and you’re likely to hear it on the radio constantly for the next six months if you live somewhere that you have to drive a lot and there’s still a rock radio station on the airwaves. The song is great — it sounds very Foo-y, and that’s a good thing. But it’s also got a main riff that is completely, unabashedly lifted from Dio’s “Holy Diver.” You’ll know it when you hear it:
First of all, let’s decisively answer the question as to whether the band knowingly lifted the riff: yes, absolutely, 100%. Dave Grohl is an unabashed fan of metal — see previously linked “War Pigs” cover, dozens of interviews in the press over the years, his work in Queens of the Stone Age, the fact that his metal side-project Probot featured guest performances by Lemmy, Max Cavalera and King Diamond (among others — he even allegedly approached Death’s Chuck Schuldiner before he died), oh, and the fact that he appeared alongside Dio himself in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny — and yes, there is no doubt here that Grohl knew exactly what he was doing here.
But here’s the thing: who gives a fuck? Bands pay tribute to their heroes in musical form all the time: BTBAM and Dream Theater are two examples that come to mind, both totally own up to it, and no one’s going to accuse either of sounding like anyone other than themselves. It’s the musical equivalent of wearing a metal t-shirt under your dress shirt to a family gathering, but with just a little sliver of logo showing through the top buttons so that maybe your 13-year old cousin will ask about it.
“Something from Nothing” still sounds like a Foo Fighters song. It’s not as if Grohl needs to resort to plagiarism to make a living; dude’s a songwriting, hit-making machine! He’s also one of the raddest dudes in all of music with zero bad-time vibes ever (unless you’re King Buzzo). So if anyone’s earned the right to insert a little nod to a hero in riff form, it’s him.
Sure, 99.9% of the people who hear this song on the radio will have no idea that the riff in the pre-chorus is a Dio riff. But, again: who cares? Even if the song — or this kerfuffle over it — inspires only 0.1% of those who hear it to go back and check out Dio, that’s an overall win, isn’t it?
So we salute you, Dave Grohl, for wearing your metal influence on your sleeve in a very non-metal setting. Keep on keeping on.