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
Released April 28, 1997
Format CD, CD-R, vinyl (7")
Recorded 1997 at Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood, California
Genre Post-grunge, hard rock
Length 3:51
Label Roswell/Capitol
Writer(s) Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel and Pat Smear
Producer(s) Gil Norton
Foo Fighters singles chronology
"Alone + Easy Target"
"Monkey Wrench"
Alternate covers
Audio sample
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"Monkey Wrench" is the first single released 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. He walks into an elevator, as he tries to walk into the door he is stopped by the chain latch and peers in through the peephole. There a doppelganger set of the whole band is shown playing. The rest of the bandmates (save guitarist Pat Smear) walk out of their apartments and join Grohl as he views the band in his room. Smear then peers out of his apartment and is beckoned to join in the view. As the doppelganger band continues with the song Dave and his bandmates try to force their way into Grohl's apartment. As the lyrics go on, the doppel-Dave taunts the band, spitting onto the peephole lens and holding the door shut as he screams "free". When the door is finally opened, the musicians have left, and the first iteration of the band picks up their instruments to finish playing the song. Out in the hall, a third set of bandmates is listening, 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" 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"

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[3] 17
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[4] 37
Canada Rock/Alternative (RPM)[5] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 12
US Radio Songs (Billboard)[7] 58
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[8] 9
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[9] 9


  • Ranked #48 in Kerrang! magazine's "100 Greatest Rock Tracks Ever" (1999).[10]
  • 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. ^ "Foo Fighters: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  7. ^ "Foo Fighters – Chart history" Billboard Radio Songs for Foo Fighters. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  8. ^ "Foo Fighters – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Foo Fighters. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  9. ^ "Foo Fighters – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Foo Fighters. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Kerrang! magazine, issue 746, April 17, 1999. (voted by readers).

External links[edit]