Sunday, May 04, 2008

a great ROCKIN' knockin'-on-the-van story with the Foo Fighters and HiFi Handgrenades

(above) poster by artist "Chopper." Nice van!!
(above) the HiFi Handgrenades in action
(above and two below) the Foo Fighters in Toronto
photos by Mike Bax

While I was ruminating about the vans driven by The Beatles' road manager Neil Aspinall, and then reviewing all the great automotive-themed gigposters that surfaced in April, I came across a current (Fall '07) tour poster (above) for the HiFi Handgrenades, who opened for the Foo Fighters on their recent tour. Said to myself . . . "nice van." Then I chanced upon an even nicer van story, written by Sara-Jane Murree and published in the FAZER OnLine Music Magazine, which was part of a review of the two bands' appearance at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on March 22, 2008:
"At the recent Foo Fighters concert in Toronto," wrote Murree, "Dave Grohl [shown above] told a great story of his early beginnings in the music industry. Back in the late '80s he was in a punk rock band named Scream that was lucky enough to get a gig here in Toronto. The day of their big show, they were so anxious to get on stage that they went into the club several hours before their show started, hoping to get in some extra sound check and rehearsal time.
"Well, unfortunately for them, the club was alread booked for another event during the day, so the owner sent them out back to their van [in which] they had been living for months. Not having anywhere else to go, Dave and his band sat in their van lamenting their plight when all of a sudden a limo pulled up beside them. The door opened and out walked Iggy Pop who had the club booked out for a release party that afternoon--thus the reason why the guys in Scream were all shooed out of the club.
"Not being too happy about being given the boot by the club, they all started to dog Iggy a little, calling him a sellout, saying he wasn't punk like them anymore. Unbeknownst to them, Iggy was now approaching their van and, seconds later, surprised them by knocking on their window. It seems he felt like playing a bit for the release party and needed a band to play with him. So they all got to jam with Iggy Pop here in Toronto, in a 'dream-come-true' type moment. For Dave in particular, who remembered how odd it felt, an hour later, to have a record exec offer to get him whatever he wanted to drink or eat, he must of known this was a glimpse into what the future held for him."
Nice little knockin' to get some rockin' story there.
Here's Murree's specific review of the HiFi Handgrenades that night:
"The first opening band for the Foo Fighters on March 22 was the HiFi Handgrenades, which is a melodic punk band from Detroit which played a great set to the incoming crowd. The song "Facing the Firing Squad" really grabbed everyone's attention with its quick "Ramones-inspired" tempo and accessibility. Primarily led by the singer/songwriter and lead guitar talent of John Speck [see photo at the top of this blog], their onstage presence belied their relative newness as a band and was more indicative of the many years they all spent with different groups such as The Fags, Hoarse, and The Suicide Machines. Their first full-length album, Carry On, is due out this spring. It was recorded in the Foo's 606 West Studios where Dave walked in on them recording and offered them a spot on the tour."
Note that the HiFi'ers also have played with Bad Religion, the Dropkick Murphys, and Billy Talent. They've been compared favorably with the Loved Ones, Superchunk, Naked Raygun, Lawrence Arms, the Replacements, and Against Me! (which was the band that played between the Hi Fi's and the Foo's sets on this tour). Look out for the HiFi Handgrenades on this year's Warped Tour. There are many great photos of them (taken 3-12-08 by Kyle King) at


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