Time apparently does not heal all wounds. At least not when money and rock stardom are on the line.
Twenty years after splitting with the Foo Fighters, Seattle drummer William Goldsmith is still bitter about how things went down between him and Dave Grohl.
After Kurt Cobain’s death, Grohl recruited Goldsmith and bassist Nate Mendel—both of Seattle’s emo-tinged alt-rock greats Sunny Day Real Estate—to join his post-Nirvana project. However, his relationship with Grohl and the band soured during the recording of its sophomore album The Colour and Shape. In a new interview with British tabloid The Daily Mail this month, the drummer says he felt creatively “raped” during his two-year stint with the group, which ended acrimoniously in 1997.
“The way things were handled, and what was done to me, I do think that staying in that band would have made me feel like my soul was destroyed and I would have likely ended up dead,” Goldsmith, who battled drug and alcohol addiction after the tumult, told the tabloid.
The drummer recalled working 13 hours a day for three weeks during the sessions, only to have the bulk of his tracks redone by Grohl. Goldsmith only received credits for two songs off the platinum album, for “Doll” and the intro to “Up in Arms.” The record went on to fuel the Foo Fighters’ ascension to one of the biggest American rock bands of the last 20 years.
“He was a bit like the kid who is popular but is mean and everyone likes them,” he said of Grohl.
Goldsmith says he got the feeling that Grohl and management wanted Grohl to record the drums from the get-go, but instead dragged Goldsmith “through the coals.” After learning his work was “completely destroyed from existence,” Goldsmith found no consolation when Grohl asked him to continue touring with the band anyway.
“I was like, man, there are some people that are hired and session musicians and that's cool. But that's not why I set out to play music,” Goldsmith said. “That's not what I did it for. For me, to have that done to you and to continue playing live would have been damaging to my soul. I would have been going against what I believe in. I wanted to create music not make money.”
Limiting his credits, the drummer contends, was at least partly so that the band “didn’t have to pay” him as much. Now a father of three, Goldsmith receives royalty checks worth up to $1,100 every six months.
After leaving the Foo Fighters, Goldsmith and Mendel (who’s still with the Foo Fighters) recorded two more Sunny Day Estate albums and reunited again in 2009.
Clearly, he’s still a little salty about his tenure with the Foo Fighters, but Goldsmith says he’s also grown from the experience.
“I remember once Dave said in an interview that touring with me was like touring with a punching bag,” he said. “At the same time at that point in my life, my ability to set boundaries and my own self-confidence was lacking and I made it that much easier for him. As time has gone on I have gone through some experiences which turned me into a man. People aren't allowed to pull bullshit with me anymore.”