In late 2001, the Foo Fighters came together after a particularly grueling tour schedule for their 1999 album There Is Nothing Left To Lose. After four months of session work, 29 songs recorded, and a total cost of over $1,000,000, the band was exhausted and uninspired. The band became hostile towards each other, and in an event relayed by the band members themselves in their documentary Back and Forth, they exploded into an argument, with frontman Dave Grohl coming to blows with Taylor Hawkins.
John Silva, the band's manager responded to the demos, saying that "we can release it now, but I don't know if anyone would want to buy it." In mid-2002, the demos were scrapped and the band went on hiatus. Dave Grohl played drums for the Queens of the Stone Age, Nate Mendel reunited with his former band Sunny Day Real Estate, and both Chris Shiflett and Taylor Hawkins worked on various musical projects. When they reconvened, they rerecorded the albums under much better circumstances, with many of the grievances that the band members had being addressed.
One By One was released on October 22, 2002, and became a major success.
The so-called "Million-Dollar Demos", however, remain a mystery among Foo Fighters fans. Although a slew of songs from those sessions--seven in total, mostly snippets--have supposedly appeared on YouTube, the band recorded 29, and only eleven were chosen for commercial release. Maybe someday the remaining three songs from those sessions will resurface, and perhaps more complete versions of the ones that have appeared will be released. But until then, it remains a piece of legend for Foo Fighters fans.
UPDATE: As of August 5th, the seven tracks in full have been uncovered and can be found thanks to the Foo Fighters community on Reddit at this link: https://www.reddit.com/r/Foofighters/comments/3fsk38/we_get_the_warhead_and_we_hold_the_world_ransom/
- Moll, James (director) (2011). Back and Forth (documentary). RCA.
- Parker, Matthew. (Feb. 27, 2013). Music Radar. Foo Fighers' Nate Mendel: fights and Sunny Day Real Estate. http://www.musicradar.com/us/news/guitars/foo-fighters-nate-mendel-fights-and-sunny-day-real-estate-571438