“Monkey Wrench” by Foo Fighters

Unfortunately for Dave Grohl, it appears that he may be amongst those of us who perhaps got married too young for his own good. Dave wed Jennifer Youngblood in 1994, i.e. the year he would have turned 25 years old. And as illustrated by this song (“Monkey Wrench”) which is based on that relationship, things did not materialize as idealized.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Foo Fighters's Monkey Wrench at Lyrics.org.

As far as the titular metaphor goes, a monkey wrench is a tool which is known for its adjustability. And relatedly, in the second verse the vocalist  alludes to the notion that the reason he is comparing himself to such an instrument is because in the name of appeasing the addressee, his significant other, he has apparently ‘bended’ to her will numerous times in the past. But doing so has caused him, in one form or another, to ‘snap in the end’. So now Dave has resolved himself to ‘never be the monkey wrench’ of the addressee ever again.

So even though the lyrics rely heavily on metaphors, as illustrated above, what becomes clear is that the vocalist feels trapped in a relationship with a controlling and therefore toxic lover. Or viewed differently, he feels as if he’s selling his soul by letting his controlling wife run him.


The first verse shows, as such stories tend to go, that everything was all good in the beginning, with this whole situation commencing like your average teenage love, so to speak. But now, all of that “innocence” has passed away. So instead of allowing himself to remain with a partner he hates (who it seems feels the same about him), the vocalist has rather opted to call it quits. And as such the conclusive sentiment of this piece is actually one of celebration, with Dave celebrating his ‘freedom’ and all.

Lyrics to Foo Fighters' "Monkey Wrench"
Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl explains "Monkey Wrench"

Facts about “Monkey Wrench”

This track is the lead single from the Foo Fighters’ “The Color and the Shape”. Capitol Records alongside Roswell Records released it as so on the 28th of April, 1997.

At the time this song was put together, the Foo Fighters’ official membership consisted of leader Dave Grohl, bassist Nate Mendel and guitarist Pat Smear. And it is also those three individuals who are credited as the writers of “Monkey Wrench”.

When this song was dropped, the band was transitioning from their original drummer, William Goldsmith, to Taylor Hawkins (who has remained with the Foo Fighters since). So in fact it is actually Grohl who holds down the drumming responsibilities on “Monkey Wrench”. But as far as the music video is concerned, which by the way Grohl directed, Hawkins is depicted as doing so.

The Foo Fighters had just formed in 1994, so this is one of the earliest entries in their discography. And in fact by the looks of things, “Monkey Wrench” also marks the oldest Foo Fighters’ single to have earned a certificate, that being BPI gold status. That said, this track is also noted as being the band’s breakthrough hit.

This song was in fact a notable international success, despite only charting in a handful of countries. Most notably it topped the UK Rock and Metal Chart and also reached number one on the Australia Alternative Singles listing.

Grohl once broke his leg during an impassioned performance of “Monkey Wrench”, which was held in Sweden during 2015. However, the Foo Fighters used that unfortunate incident as sort of a marketing ploy for their performances that immediately followed, i.e. redubbing their tour of North America the Broken Leg Tour.

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