December 2, 2022

The Foo Fighters Video That Expressed Anger Toward Courtney Love

It should go without saying for modern rock fans that Courtney Love has inspired a lot of musicians to write unflattering songs about her. Of course, there are the more notorious examples, including, but not limited to Nine Inch Nails’ “Starf***ers Inc.” and Foo Fighters’ “Stacked Actors,” both of which were released in 1999 (via The A.V. Club). Then there are more obscure examples like Mudhoney’s “Into Yer Shtik,” a deep cut from Seattle band Mudhoney’s 1995 album “My Brother the Cow” that seemingly referenced the death of Love’s late husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer (via Lethal Amounts). Indeed, Love was seen by many as the villain in the aftermath of Cobain’s passing, and many of his contemporaries weren’t shy about making those feelings known.

With that said, few of those contemporaries were as close to Cobain as Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who went on to form Foo Fighters shortly after Nirvana disbanded in 1994. Love and Grohl have been feuding on and off for around three decades and counting, and just as recently as 2021, the Hole singer-guitarist was taking shots at the Foo Fighters frontman on social media (via NME). It’s a beef that doesn’t show any sign of getting totally squashed anytime soon, and as noted above, it has seen Grohl call out his former bandmate’s widow through the lyrics of his current band’s songs. As it turns out, one of the Foos’ early videos also allowed Grohl to express his anger with Love in a rather unusual way.

The video of I’ll Stick Around stuck it to Courtney Love, says its director

“This is a Call” may have been the first-ever single and “Everlong” may have arguably been the song to establish them as future icons, but “I’ll Stick Around” could be described as the song that proved Foo Fighters was here to stay. The second single off their 1995 self-titled debut, “I’ll Stick Around” was the first Foo Fighters song that had its own accompanying video, and it was helmed by Devo bassist Gerald Casale, who was then enjoying success in his second career as a music video director. 

Speaking to Rock Classics Radio on Apple Music Hits, Casale revealed several details about the “I’ll Stick Around” video, including its most distinctive element, the “menacing ball” that could be seen floating around the Foos as they perform. According to Casale, the ball represented none other than Courtney Love, and it was his idea to include it after he figured out who the song’s insistent refrain was referring to. “When I heard the song, I immediately assumed that what Dave is talking about when he said, ‘I don’t owe you anything’ and knowing the problems they were going through with Courtney, I made the assumption, it was about Courtney,” he explained, as quoted by Loudwire.

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Casale also recalled talking to Dave Grohl about the lyrics and trying to get confirmation whether or not “I’ll Stick Around” was about the Hole frontwoman. According to the musician-turned-director, Grohl wouldn’t confirm or deny anything, so he “just rolled with it” and used the floating ball as symbolism for Love.

Grohl has long since admitted that I’ll Stick Around is about Courtney Love

Although Dave Grohl was cagey when asked by Gerald Casale about the meaning behind “I’ll Stick Around,” it was not a hot take, even back in the day, for one to speculate that the song was about Courtney Love. Specifically, the lines “How could it be/I’m the only one who sees/Your rehearsed insanity” were said to be the most pointed references to Kurt Cobain’s widow. In this part of the song, Grohl is supposedly pertaining to Love’s over-the-top behavior at Cobain’s funeral and how her antics were perceived to be an attempt to build up hype for Hole in the lead-up to the release of their 1994 album, “Live Through This.” 

For years after “I’ll Stick Around” was released as a single, Grohl wouldn’t confirm its meaning to anyone. But when speaking in 2009 to author Paul Brannigan, who wrote the Grohl biography “This is a Call,” the Foo Fighters founder finally confirmed what practically everybody had been suspecting. “I’ve denied it for 15 years, but I’m finally coming out and saying it,” Grohl said, per The A.V. Club. “Just read the f***ing words!”

With all that vitriol in its lyrics and an on-the-ball (no pun intended) symbolism to match in its video, “I’ll Stick Around” has rightfully earned its place as one of the most notorious, if undeniably catchy, anti-Courtney Love tunes out there.