It is impossible to know when inspiration will strike, and what source will drive it. We humans are a varied lot. We take our inspiration from any number of places. For some of us, inspiration can come from a book, a song, a poem, a philosophy, or a religion. Sometimes we may be inspired by another person, or their actions or experiences. But whatever drives it, inspiration is deeply personal.
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that the Foo Fighters have been my inspiration for many actions in the last three years. You don’t have to understand the reasons why. I’m not sure of the whys myself. I only know that they are.
I found this band (or perhaps they found me) at a time in my life when I was facing significant change. In the face of much upheaval, little control, deep sadness and great uncertainty, I discovered a constant. At first, the band’s music was simply a source of solace and comfort. Regardless of what else was happening around me, I had their catalogue of songs to serve as my emotional anchor. It became part of my daily routine.
The early days of my Foo devotion coincided with Mark’s constant travel schedule for a new job. He would spend two weeks on the road, and two weeks at home. That was how we lived for a couple of years. And I hated it. But it was a lucrative gig, and he enjoyed the work, so as much as I dreaded the separation, I was determined to make the best of it. And with Foo music to keep me company, I found a source of strength.
Mark’s schedule was almost always the same during those days. He would fly out early on the first Sunday of the month, and return about 12 days later on a Friday evening. At first, he offered to take the airport shuttle, but I wouldn’t hear of it. I always ran the taxi service. I wanted to see him off at the gate, and to be there at the baggage claim to welcome him home. It was a much needed ritual for me. And, of course, the Foo Fighters had their place in it.
On those early Sunday mornings, we would drive to DFW International, with the sun just peaking over the horizon. We discussed life, or politics, or whatever tasks we would be tackling over the next two weeks that we would be apart. Once we reached security at the airport, we said our goodbyes. But I always hung back and waited. Once Mark was through all the screening and scanning, he would turn back, and we would exchange a wave. And then he would be gone.
And at that moment, I always had the same thought: Now I’m alone.
It’s funny how you can think of yourself as a competent adult, with all the responsibility that goes with it, and still feel lost and scared in certain circumstances. Like watching your spouse disappear into a crowd and knowing that it’s the last time you’ll lay eyes on him for nearly two weeks. There was always that tiny flicker of panic. How would I get by?
But then, I would take a deep breath, square my shoulders, and head back to the car. I would slip The Colour and the Shape disc into the CD player. The crackling opening notes of “Doll” would fill the car, and off I went. By the time “Hey Johnny Park” popped up, I was on the freeway, headed to Starbucks for coffee, confident that I would get by just fine.
After several months, I began to look forward to Mark’s trips, because his absences were forcing me to find something to do with myself. And with the Foos in the background providing a soundtrack, and constant inspiration, I started to learn who I was, beyond just being someone’s wife or mother. I really WAS a competent adult! Go figure.
Soon came the decision to go to work for this magical band, whose music had pulled me out of a deep well. And then I decided to pursue my master’s degree, just in case the job as the Foos’ Jewish mother didn’t pan out. It never hurts to have a backup plan. Next was the idea to write this blog, and finally, the inspiration to feed hungry people.
As I’ve said before, I decided early on not to question the hold the Foo Fighters have on my soul. It just is. And as long as their influence pushes me and inspires me to change the world in some positive way, there’s really no need to ask why.
One thing I did wonder about was, did this band inspire others as it did me, or was I the only one? A little digging on social media answered that question pretty quickly.
Turns out, there are multiple fan sites for the Foo Fighters, and tens of thousands of fans who frequent them. Groups like You Know You’re a Foo Fighters Fan When…, Appreciation of Rock and Grohl, Dave Grohl Should Host Saturday Night Live, FOO FIGHTERS – COME JOIN THE FOO FAMILY!
These groups are full of people who, like me, have been profoundly touched by this band. They are everywhere. I’ve befriended folks from Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Australia, along with fans all over the U.S. We go by many names – The Foo Faithful, Foonatics, or The Foo Army, just to name a few. The Foo following is huge, rabidly devout, and incredibly strong. Apparently, we are legion, but in a totally friendly, non-evil way.
I was curious about what had drawn others to the Foo Fighters and their distinct sound, so I posed the question to a couple of the groups. I was not really surprised by the answers I got, only by the similarity of the sentiments. It seems I’m not the only one who found the band at a low point and took comfort in their music.
Myeshia heard “I’ll Stick Around” at a time when she “was in a bad place mentally, and with my family” and says she found strength from it. Matt says “Its music of hope. Things are hard? Fight, you’ll get through it.” From Ryan: “They make the bad days good and the good days better.” And from Suzy, who runs one of the groups: “Their music helps me express how I feel, when sometimes I feel I can’t find the right words.”
And I’m not the only one bearing a Foo-inspired tattoo. Among the Foo Faithful, ink tributes are common. As is home décor and memorabilia. I’m really not unique in this regard. Compared to some, like a large group of British fans who recently held a weekend getaway to celebrate their Foo fanaticism, I’m downright subdued.
It’s a comfort to finally know I am not alone in my devotion. I’m just one of thousands of folks, bonded and connected over five guys and the music they create. In a sense, we really are a family. Everyone gets it and nobody wonders why.
Thanks, Foo Nation, for taking me in!