Monkey Wrench (song)

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"Monkey Wrench"
Foo Fighters Monkey Wrench CD1.jpg
Single by Foo Fighters
from the album The Colour and the Shape
ReleasedApril 28, 1997
FormatCD, CD-R, vinyl (7")
Recorded1997 at Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood, California
GenrePost-grunge, hard rock
Songwriter(s)Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel and Pat Smear
Producer(s)Gil Norton
Foo Fighters singles chronology
"Alone + Easy Target"
"Monkey Wrench"
Audio sample
Alternate covers

"Monkey Wrench" is the lead single from the second Foo Fighters album, The Colour and the Shape. The lyrics chronicle the 1997 disintegration of singer/songwriter Dave Grohl's four-year marriage to Jennifer Youngblood. The song peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart,[1] and at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Musical analysis[edit]

Monkey Wrench is an up-tempo rock song, written in the key of B major and performed with distorted guitars in Drop-D tuning. The song opens with a descending guitar line over a chordal riff of B5/F#5/E5 for two bars. After a gap, the main verse enters with vocals and a choppier, palm-muted version of the intro riff. A pre-chorus using an E5 power chord then gives way to a chord-based chorus of B5/G#5/F#5/E5/F#5/E5/C5/B5.[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by the band's lead singer/songwriter, Dave Grohl. In the video, Grohl arrives at his apartment with groceries in hand, but finds the door secured from inside by the chain latch when he tries to open it. Looking through the peephole, he finds black-clad duplicates of the band members playing the song. The rest of the band soon joins him at the door, peeking in through its mail slot, and eventually start trying to force their way in as the duplicate Grohl taunts them and spits on the peephole. He holds the door shut against the band's efforts for a while, but they eventually break in only to find the apartment suddenly empty. They look out the window and see the duplicates fleeing on foot through a courtyard, then close the door and finish the song using the abandoned instruments. As the video ends, a third set of bandmates is listening at the door outside, creating a recursive situation.

When Grohl is in the elevator heading up to his apartment, a muzak version of the Foo Fighters song "Big Me," performed by The Moog Cookbook, can be heard.

The music video for the song was the first to feature Taylor Hawkins on drums, although the actual drum track is performed by Grohl.

Other versions[edit]

  • The earliest public performance of the song was during an episode of TFI Friday on May 2, 1997 at the Channel 4 Studios in London. The performance was taped early in the day and later broadcast at 6:30 p.m. The performance was intended to be live but after the band went into a tirade of obscenities during a dress rehearsal that they mistakenly believed to be the actual live broadcast, the producers of TFI Friday decided to pre-record instead.
  • A version recorded during Episode 4 of Series 9 of Later... with Jools Holland on May 31, 1997 at the BBC Television Centre was released on the DVD Later... with Jools Holland: The First 15 Years.
  • A live version recorded on February 1, 2000 at the Chapel in Melbourne, Australia was released on the CD2 & Australian versions of the "Breakout" single.
  • A live version recorded on February 29, 2000 at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands was released on the Live in Holland Disc 2 version of the "Next Year" single.
  • A live version recorded on December 4, 2002 at the Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway was released on the special Norwegian edition of One by One.
  • A live version filmed at Hyde Park on June 17, 2006 was released on the Live at Hyde Park DVD.
  • A live version filmed at Wembley Stadium on June 7, 2008 was released on Live at Wembley Stadium DVD.

In other media[edit]

  • Cover version was a playable track in 2006 music video game Guitar Hero II.
  • Master recording was playable track in 2009 music video game Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.
  • It was a playable track in Nintendo DS version of music video game Band Hero.
  • Along with the rest of the album, it is downloadable content for Rock Band music video games since November 13, 2008, with the exception of "Everlong", which was featured in Rock Band 2.
  • It was a mash-up with the Beastie Boys song "Sabotage" for the video game DJ Hero.
  • It was heard during end credits of an episode of Daria.
  • The song was upgraded and made available to download on May 19, 2011 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, along with standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony vocals.

Personnel on record[edit]

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Monkey Wrench"

European CD, Japan CD, Australian CD and UK CD1:

  1. "Monkey Wrench"
  2. "Up in Arms" (Slow version)
  3. "The Colour and the Shape"


  1. "Monkey Wrench"
  2. "Down in the Park" (Tubeway Army cover)
  3. "See You" (Acoustic version)

Netherlands CD and UK 7" Vinyl:

  1. "Monkey Wrench"
  2. "The Colour and The Shape"

Charts and certifications[edit]


  • Ranked #48 in Kerrang! magazine's "100 Greatest Rock Tracks Ever" (1999).[13]
  • Ranked #26 in Kerrang! magazine's "100 Greatest Singles of All Time" (2002).
  • Ranked #65 in Q magazine's "100 Greatest Songs Ever!!" (2006).


  1. ^ Foo Fighters - Mainstream Rock Chart History Retrieved 26 May, 2014.
  2. ^ Foo Fighters - UK Singles Chart. Retrieved on Jan 20, 2013.
  3. ^ " – Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3252." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  5. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3236." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. May 17, 1997. p. 11. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Foo Fighters: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  8. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  9. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  10. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Foo Fighters Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "British single certifications – Foo Fighters – Monkey Wrench". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 27 September 2017. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Monkey Wrench in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  13. ^ Kerrang! magazine, issue 746, April 17, 1999. (voted by readers).

External links[edit]