Where did Foo Fighters get their name?

It's not an uncommon question for those interested in the Dave Grohl-led rock band who may not be familiar with the original inception of the term "foo fighter," which was used by Allied aircraft pilots during World War II to describe the unidentified flying objects they had spotted in the sky.

But while Grohl was undoubtedly interested in the unexplained and historical phenomenon of unidentified flying objects at the time that he formed Foo Fighters, it's more the fact that the term was plural that the former Nirvana drummer chose the moniker for his brand new group.

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That's because Grohl wanted to convince listeners that Foo Fighters was a band after he recorded the entire first Foo Fighters album (1995) by himself on all instruments and vocals. He entered Seattle's Robert Lang Studios to commit the album to tape in late 1994 and early 1995, following the April 1994 death of Nirvana bandleader Kurt Cobain.

Grohl did later recruit a full band to tour the debut Foo Fighters LP. (In fact, guitarist Pat Smear and bassist Nate Mendel are still in the lineup today.) But when he first handed out Foo Fighters as a cassette demo to his friends, it was only him.

And he inscribed "Foo Fighters" on those cassettes to suggest the plurality of the act. One person who received a tape was Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, who played the early version of Foo Fighters' "Exhausted" on Pearl Jam's Self Pollution Radio show in January 1995, a full six months before the song arrived in its final form on Foo Fighters in July 1995.

Foo Fighters, "Exhausted" (Demo)

How Did Foo Fighters Get Their Name?

According to Clash, Grohl explained, "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."

READ MORE: Photo Timeline of Foo Fighters' Career

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."

Does Grohl Still Like It?

However, while the band name certainly stuck — it's now basically a signifier for rock music — Grohl may not be so pleased with it. Though the bandleader seems to have graciously accepted the moniker he made seemingly off the cuff, he has also joked in retrospect that it is a stupid band name.

In 2014, Grohl quipped in a 60 Minutes interview, "Had I imagined that it would last more than a month-and-a-half, I might have named it something else. It's the dumbest band name ever."

Foo Fighters, "Big Me" (Music Video)

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