Many of you techno geeks know all about “foo”, or think you do, when “used very generally as a sample name for absolutely anything, esp. programs and files (esp. scratch files)”, to quote the <a href=”http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/foo.html”>Jargon File</a>. But what about the Foo Fighters?
Dave Grohl, formally a drummer with the likes of Freak Baby, Mission Impossible, Fast, Dain Bramage, Scream and a little-known band called Nirvana, now fronts Foo Fighters. But what’s with the name? The Jargon File entry continues:
One place “foo” is known to have remained live is in the U.S. military during the WWII years. In 1944-45, the term ‘foo fighters’ was in use by radar operators for the kind of mysterious or spurious trace that would later be called a UFO (the older term resurfaced in popular American usage in 1995 via the name of one of the better grunge-rock bands). Because informants connected the term directly to the Smokey Stover strip, the folk etymology that connects it to French “feu” (fire) can be gently dismissed.
For more on Foo and the Smokey Stover comic strip <a href=”http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/foo.html”>go here</a>. If this post has whet your curiosity and you’d like to know the origins and meanings behind other band names like Goo Goo Dolls and Pearl Jam, these are sticky questions and you’re on your own. This is a family program and we mean to keep our PG rating. Sort of.