The Truth About Pat Smear’s 10-Year Absence From Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl achieved worldwide fame with his band Nirvana after releasing monumental albums and performing unforgettable shows. For seven years, the band proved themselves as a groundbreaking act, primarily after their second studio album, ‘Nevermind.’ Unfortunately, the band’s career didn’t continue long enough to release more music after their ‘In Utero’ album since their lead singer Kurt Cobain passed away untimely.

Following Cobain’s death, Dave Grohl went on to work on a solo project in 1994, which later turned into the iconic act millions of their fans know as Foo Fighters. Grohl initially recorded the band’s debut studio album as a one-person project but was later joined by his bandmates, one of whom was the lead guitarist Pat Smear. Though the musician recorded six studio albums and toured the world with the band, he spent a decade away from them.

When Did Pat Smear Leave Foo Fighters?

After joining the band in late October 1994, Pat Smear first appeared on Foo Fighters’ second studio album ‘The Colour and the Shape,’ released on May 20, 1997. Shortly after this record came out, the guitarist quit the band due to their busy touring schedule. Though he initially stated that their relentless touring caused exhaustion, which led to his departure, there was another reason behind this decision.

Smear’s departure was also about the tension between the band members following Dave Grohl’s divorce. The frontman decided to part ways with then-wife Jennifer Youngblood, a close friend of Smear. After these conflicts, the guitar player officially announced his departure from Foo Fighters during a live performance at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.

In a statement before the show, Smear said:

“Although I am leaving the Foo Fighters, making music is my passion, and I am really excited to begin new projects of my own, musical and otherwise. I truly appreciate everyone’s kindness and support. I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.”

In their 2011 documentary, ‘Foo Fighters: Back and Forth,’ Dave Grohl said he desperately wanted Smear to stay. His persistence partially paid off since the guitarist temporarily played with Foo Fighters for their tour until his replacement arrived.

When Did Pat Smear Return To Foo Fighters?

Following his departure from Foo Fighters, Pat Smear started working on his solo projects. He produced the debut album for the band Harlow. The rocker also became a creative consultant in a motion picture around this time. Fortunately, the musician couldn’t stay away from his former bandmates any longer and began performing with them for several shows in late 2005.

Though he didn’t officially return to Foo Fighters for the entirety of their scheduled concerts, Smear kept playing with the band on and off for five years. Eventually, the guitar player fully rejoined the band in 2010 and began working on the recording sessions of what would later become the album ‘Wasting Light,’ released on April 12, 2011. Since then, Pat Smear has been playing and recording with the Foo Fighters, besides appearing with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic for special performances.