CAA’s Marlene Tsuchii On Foo Fighters’ Longevity: ‘It’s Like A Brotherhood’

The Colour and the Stadium
Getty Images / Staff
– The Colour and the Stadium
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl performs at London’s Wembley Stadium during Live Earth on July 7, 2007.

The band that wine tastes together stays together.

“When we were in Chile, we all went wine tasting in Santiago,” says CAA’s Marlene Tsuchii, who has represented Foo Fighters since Dave Grohl formed the band in the wake of Nirvana’s dissolution in 1994. “It was just such a nice day. We all went out together, bought wine and then had a nice lunch outside at the vineyard.”

Tsuchii, who was part of the team Grohl carried over from his Nirvana days, has seen plenty of crabby, cantankerous rockstars – and it’s the Foos’ familial nature, she explains, that has been the secret to its quarter-century of success.

“It’s always all inclusive, everybody’s invited,” she says. “It’s just nice. That’s why they’ve had the same crew forever. Like, forever. That really speaks volumes.”

If you can hear it over the band’s high-decibel hit parade, that is. Since Foo Fighters released their self-titled debut in 1995 – a series of home recordings Grohl recorded mostly himself with production assistance from Barrett Jones – the alt-rock mainstays have been among the genre’s most reliable hitmakers, scoring 10 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart. The band has won scores of accolades, including 11 Grammys and now a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, and today is practically synonymous with the very phrase “rock ‘n’ roll.”

Reviving Live
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for FF
– Reviving Live
Foo Fighters pose backstage at Madison Square Garden after staging the first concert since the COVID-19 pandemic at the New York arena on June 20, 2021.

“If you can’t write songs that people can sing along to, it’s really difficult to get to the next level,” Tsuchii says. “At the end of the day, you want to sing along. … I know they’ve had a long career, but not everybody has that many hits, no matter how long their career is.”

Ubiquitous anthems like “Everlong” and “Best Of You” have made Foo Fighters one of rock’s strongest draws – not just in the band’s native America, but throughout the world. Foo Fighters regularly play festivals across the globe, and in 2018, the band notched its best hard-ticket showing, in both tickets sold and gross, when it sold out the U.K.’s London Stadium twice over, drawing 149,327 and raking in $13 million over two nights.

“They’re incredible live,” Tsuchii says. “No matter how big the stadium is – and I’ve seen a lot of big shows of theirs – you still feel like you’re not 10 miles away looking at a screen. … It’s a very personal feeling to go to their shows.”

Tsuchii’s CAA colleague Don Muller – with whom she previously represented Nirvana – books the band domestically, while Russell Warby handles Foo Fighters’ European and South African touring. Tsuchii, meanwhile, books the band everywhere else.

“We’ve had some incredible experiences around the world with their touring,” she says, crediting manager John Silva’s longstanding “vision of global success.” “Seeing people in Buenos Aires or Bangkok or wherever we’ve been, and they’re singing along, thousands of people, not in your native language? It’s awesome.”

The band’s camaraderie and musical passion – and “grit,” Tsuchii adds – drive its energetic live marathon, which can sometimes approach the three-hour mark.

Take Foo Fighters’ 2015 touring. During a show in Sweden, Grohl broke his leg onstage – and not only insisted on finishing the set, but on continuing the tour. To do so, he commissioned a custom-made “throne” emblazoned with the Foo Fighters logo and decked out with 10 protruding guitar necks, where he sat during performances, fractured bone be damned.

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Glastonbury
Ian Gavan / Getty Images
– Echoes, Silence, Patience & Glastonbury
Foo Fighters perform during a headlining set at England’s Glastonbury on June 24, 2017.

“We thought the touring was all going to go away for the year, and then he created that throne,” Tsuchii recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh, there’s certain parts of the world he’s not going to bring that throne.’ Well, guess what? That throne came to Japan when they did Fuji Rock Festival.

“It’s not in Tokyo, it’s outside [of the city] on a mountainside, it’s a ski resort,” she continues. “That thing got flown there, and he did the show. When he was traveling through the airport, he had this little scooter thing to put his leg on – that’s somebody who’s not deterred by anything.”

All told, the Foos grossed $127 million on the road in 2015, landing at No. 5 on Pollstar’s year-end worldwide touring chart, behind only Taylor Swift, One Direction, AC/DC and U2. For Grohl, it was just another moment of bare-knuckled determination in a career that’s been full of them.

“There’s always something in the back of his mind that he’s thinking about,” Tsuchii says. “I just so admire the fact that he tries so many things, whether he fails or not. It just never ends. Somebody who’s so joyous, not just about the music, just in general about life, it’s just so refreshing, especially in a business like the music business.”

But, much as Foo Fighters can sometimes seem like the Dave Grohl show – and started out as precisely that – today it’s a full-fledged band, and one of the most well-oiled, harmonious ones to boot.

“It’s like a brotherhood,” says Tsuchii, contrasting the group favorably with other, less simpatico groups. “They just all genuinely get along. It’s a family.”

And, for all involved, that family seems poised for longevity, whether it’s playing to sold-out arenas for decades to come or continuing to passionately promote emerging artists, as Grohl and bandmates Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel and Rami Jaffee have done for years.

“He truly loves rock and roll,” Tsuchii says of Grohl. “That’s why he’s the everyman, the ubiquitous rock guy. Rock dad, rock guy, rock god – kind of a little bit of everything.”

So, while the Rock Hall induction is certainly a major achievement – “It’s gonna be quite a party,” says Tsuchii, looking ahead to the induction ceremony in Cleveland – it’s likely far from the last the Foos or Grohl will notch.

“This man is going to be rocking from the grave,” says Tsuchii with a hearty laugh.