November 6th, 2009
05:47 PM ET

The rock stars and the intern

Recently, I accompanied correspondent Denise Quan and photographer Chris Audick to an interview with the Foo Fighters at their studio.  I got the assignment on such short notice, I had no time to YouTube or Google the band.  I knew the band name, but couldn’t match them to music.  On the way to the studio, I had the nerve to ask, “So, Foo Fighters, they’re punk rock, right?”  Hurtful.

If I’d had the time to YouTube the Foo Fighters before the shoot, I would have realized just how deeply their songs permeated my early teen years - songs like “Everlong,” “Times Like These,” and “My Hero” among others.  When I hear their songs now, my mind flashes back to a simpler time: my early teen upbringing in NorCal, when I used to describe things as being “hella sick.”  I wouldn’t be surprised if I let such an expression slip when I first heard “All My Life.”  I still find myself humming their songs, more than five years later.  How could I not have connected them to songs I remember so clearly?

The halls outside their studio were covered floor to ceiling with hundreds of signed albums, awards, photos of the band members and other memorabilia, including artwork from Nirvana (the famous naked baby).  Obviously, these guys were big.  But their faces eluded me.  I had probably never seen them perform, but I had heard their music all throughout my middle school years.  Most recently, Foo Fighters shared the stage with one of my current favorite rock bands, Queens of the Stone Age, and mega-legend Led Zeppelin.  And still, none of this clicked.

I stood for a solid half hour, a mere five feet away from Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett, in a position that millions of fans would kill to be in.  And yet, I looked on blankly, as if Denise was interviewing the next up-and-coming Disney superstars.

I spent an unforgettable hour inside the Foo Fighters’ studio, a studio they said few people have visited.  I listened to them talk about their 15 years of fame, how they never imagined their success would last so long.  Denise asked what their future plans were, if Foo Fighters would continue as a band.  They joked that they can’t exactly jump back into the workforce now: they haven’t had real jobs in 15 years.  I empathized with them as they described, like a lot of us, how some of their families are struggling during the current economic turmoil, and how they’re trying to help.  The Foo Fighters sounded like regular guys, who just happened to be UBER successful musicians.

Now, perhaps seeking to console myself, I see my temporary ignorance as a positive.  I did not see the Foo Fighters as integral pop culture icons who I relate dearly to my early American roots.  I didn't meet Foo Fighters, the musicians.  Rather, I got to meet Foo Fighters, the people.

A lasting memory, no less.

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soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Hey maddawg, first of all, you spelled dog wrong. Second of all, you said Foo Fighters have never been anything special to music? Do me a favor and look up the unpopular song Everlong and the unpopular song My Hero, and while your at it see how much fame All my Life and Times Like These had. If and it's not about fame and it's about "talent" you have 4 quality musicians playing in that band. It's Dave Grohl we are talking about! He's going to go down in music history for being an incredible song writer and front man to one of the greatest rock bands. I don't know who you think the greatest rock bands right now are, maybe you think its 3OH!3.

    November 11, 2009 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. badger

    I doubt that an article written by a diehard Foo Fighters fan would have been half as provocative or garnered half the attention that this article has. The Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, etc, are SOOOO mainstream anyway, who cares? Kurt Cobain would laugh at you morons.

    November 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Daniel

    Okay, first of all give the kid a break. There is nothing here about him/her being specifically an 'entertainment' intern. Remember this is a CNN intern... this guy/gal is probably like most at this stage a glorified 'gofer'.

    Kudos that he/she is willing to poke a little fun at him/herself while clearly enjoying the experience they got to be a part of. I have to admit while I'm a fan of many bands music it isn't really a 'talent/skill' of mine to match music to band much less faces to band members for all the bands I like no matter how famous.

    November 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. maddawg

    UBER successful musicians??!?!???

    that doesn't even compute....success sure....but UBER should be reserved for those that actually make an impact in their industry or the world....and these guys don't do that....they just make music...not so great, not so bad....just music.

    they're the foo fighers....they've never been anything special to music, and they never will be.

    any monkey can play an instrument or make noises.....

    i guess for this iTard author, a visit to the studio of those guys can be considered one of the biggest moments in his life.....

    now that's pathetic!

    November 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pat

    Intern Kris uses a weak framing device for this story - one that unfortunately puts the focus on Intern Kris. Notice how many sentences have "I" as the subject.
    Maybe that's the purpose of a blog like this – to offer a view of things through the eyes and the life experiences of the correspondent. But this attempt fails miserably.
    Can't blame the "the rock stars", who certainly are newsworthy. The headline mistakenly suggests a connection or at least some interaction between them and "the intern", who apparently stood mute for the entire interview. Probably for the best.

    November 10, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. S

    Hey, I was a music journalist in University, and I have a great understanding and vast knowledge of pop culture and music -past and present. I would love to write for this blog.

    please email me if you want me to send my resume. I assure you, something like this would never happen to me. Or, anyone who is over the age of 5.


    November 10, 2009 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    Kid, get out of the music industry – your story is absolutely terrible. If you LOVE a band and your favorite songs are THEIR songs and you don't know what they look like, know they are the ones singing your fav songs, and if your FAV BAND OF ALL TIME IS QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE WHERE DAVE WAS THE DRUMMER, just get out!

    November 10, 2009 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    I agree, I'm sure she was given the internship by some white guy with the musical tastes of Barry Manilow...what a waste. I had a roomate in college who would have killed for that opportunity you had, and you blew it.

    The worse part of this story is that you rely on "youtube" to do your fact checking. Journalism, or lack there of, hits another new low. It's bad enough that news these days passes as CNN reading the internet to viewers.

    November 10, 2009 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Richard

    If one takes the time to read this piece carefully you will see that shes just an intern and she wasnt there to do the interview. I was a bit dismayed also at her lack of pop music knowledge but the real question in my mind is this: why is she even writing about her experience?? Her lack of knowledge about the band is embarressing! Why is she interning there? We have interns at my company (in the space industry) and they are sharp and educated and passionate about space technology. Isnt that why people intern at a place? Because they already have some sort of passion or interest in what the company does?

    November 10, 2009 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Who are these said "Queens of the Stone Age" and "Led Zeppelin?" Who are they? Oh and by the way, I am looking to get an intern job interviewing bands just like you, can you give me any advice?

    November 10, 2009 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. james h

    Lets face it,people.she's probably a decent looking to knockout chick,whose likely morally ambiguous like most american women.
    As we've seen with countless recent news stories,these interns are actually prostitutes who are more focused inn who they market to.She has no business where she's at professionally,but yet,in a capitalist society...there she is! Why is that?
    The answer is as old as man.

    November 10, 2009 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jessica

    Is it better to admit that you didn't really know what you were getting in to? or is it better to pretend like you know everything?

    I mean, the Foo Fighters are one of the most popular bands of our generation, not to mention Nirvana or Queens of the Stone Age. They are on the radio, in video games and all over the TV but going to meet them as people is a WAY better expierence then meeting them as "Rock Stars" and while it's sad that CNN doesn't have more knowledgeable journalists – (I mean, look at Nancy Grace – really? You call her a journalist?! HA!) – I think this piece probably would have sucked if Kris knew what they were getting in to.

    I agree with Joe – don't be jealous of Kris because you don't have her job. Get off your lazy bum and try to get the job if you think you can do so much better.

    November 10, 2009 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Futzpah

    Wow, as much as I enjoy the Foo Fighters, the author is an intern. So maybe, just maybe, you all could cut him some slack for not being a walking Wikipedia. If anything kudos to the author for having the guts for admitting to not exactly knowing how great a band the Foo Fighters are and all of the great music they've written. I'll admit I was a bit perturbed reading the first paragraph, but if you actually *read* the article ...and keep in mind this person is an intern, not Walter Cronkite, you could give him a break. I absolutely love the Foo Fighters and any insight someone can give, even from a person who admits they weren't a walking dictionary for the band is appreciated in my book.

    November 9, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeremy

    I agree with most of the comments but no one has mentioned what I feel is one of the saddest things of all...Dave Grohl ACTUALLY PLAYED WITH QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE!!! Why don't you watch the video for "No One Knows" and tell me who's playing the drums. This person claims the queens of the stone age is his favorite band yet he doesn't even know he is sitting by one of their drummers (who also happens to be in Foo Fighter and Nirvana). This person should not be writing anything that is related to music.

    November 9, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    I agree with everyone on this comment page: why would an intern be bragging about their total lack of rock music knowledge ? Even a casual rock music fan would know about the Foo Fighters and Nirvana. Pathetic.

    November 9, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Erin

    Why do I not have your job? You are a music columnist and you don't even know who the Foo Fighters are? They are easily one of the most influential bands in modern rock.
    OK, let's take it back to square one. There was a guy named Buddy Holly in the early 1950s....

    November 9, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Joe

    While I do love the Foo, I don't think the author's character and intelligence should be on the chopping block for not knowing one of her critics' obvious favorite bands. These responses seem so spiteful, and whether that is due to the band-obsession of the critics or their envy of the great opportunity the author has to learn in his/her position, I hope they are not taken too seriously.

    The position of "Intern" is for people who are looking to learn and gain knowledge on the industry they are entering. The point is to learn and grow on the job...otherwise they would just be an employee like everyone else. In the piece, the author even points out that they should have done more research, and in turn, will do so in the future.

    Kudos to the self-effacing author for setting aside pride to show a human side to some world famous mega stars (well, somewhat world famous 😉

    November 9, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jeff

    Dude, there must be a Burger King looking for an intern. Seriously, give your job to someone who will appreciate it.

    November 9, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Jim

    "Hella pathetic"!

    November 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  20. voiceofreason

    It's a good thing CNN really screens its interns for general culture awareness and empirical knowledge. It's one thing if you're invited to the studio as a friend, but as an intern it's a little shocking. Get a clue. Do your homework. Write a better article than one hailing your own ignorance and indifference on a subject that you're supposed to be relaying to the rest of the world. The attempt to twist your unpreparedness into a thoughtful final note is weak and amateurish. There's other people with better insight into the world of entertainment and culture waiting to take your spot.

    November 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  21. chris

    Typical modern day journalist. Give them a mike or pen, and have them ask inane questions and have them write a fluff piece. Don't bother sending an able bodied, no, minded person who might know how to ask a pertinent question. I hope this piece airs on Entertainment Tonight, and we can find out whose outfits they are wearing.

    November 9, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Leah

    I would hope CNN interns and writers for the Entertainment section would have at least somewhat of a base knowledge in music and pop culture. Apparently not.

    November 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  23. mortalOne

    Ignorant Intern said: "...and other memorabilia, including artwork from Nirvana (the famous naked baby). Obviously, these guys were big."

    Uhh... I hope your ignorance doesn't go so far as to miss that (singer/guitarist) Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters was the drummer for Nirvana! (Yeah, these guys 'were' THAT BIG! I would say 'are.')

    Please tell me you know that.
    If not, I'll be "Hella Sick" and not in the good way.

    November 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  24. James

    That was a wonderful story, Kris! So much is the case these days that stars are only seen as celebrities and icons, and not for them being people. Beneath all the veneer and stardom and fame, these people worked hard to be who they are now, and they like to be treated as humans who work hard. Don't feel bad about not knowing who they were, but since you know who they are now, perhaps it'll let you appreciate their music and history even more.

    November 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  25. pat smear

    i agree! glad that your ignorance brought about a newfound sense of humanism to a story that already is totally human. those guys are some of the most regular musician you could meet, mostly because they are huge fans of others themselves. i applaud you for being so candid about your shortcomings, but glad denise came along. weak!

    November 9, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  26. lame

    wow. talk about undeserving. you claim one of your favorite bands is Queens of the Stone Age and you know nothing of Foo Fighters beyond what you barely remember from highschool? why are you interning in the entertainment business? i'd call that "hella lame". let the people that would have killed to be there do it – and go on to reporting on investment banking or whatever it is you should be doing. such a shame – infuences of today's youth seem to go back about as far as a week.

    November 9, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |

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