William Goldsmith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

William Goldsmith
Goldsmith performing in 2000
Goldsmith performing in 2000
Background information
BornSeattle, Washington, US
GenresAlternative rock
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1992–present
LabelsSub Pop, Time Bomb Recordings, Roswell/Capitol
Associated actsThe Fire Theft, Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters Assertion

William Goldsmith is an American drummer best known for being with Sunny Day Real Estate and his tenure with Foo Fighters. Currently drumming for Assertion, he has toured with Mike Watt, IQU, and has recorded and played live with many other bands and artists.

Early years[edit]

Goldsmith was born in Seattle, Washington to Hugh and Skitty Goldsmith. He began playing drums as a child, after being introduced by his older brother to bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Costello and the Attractions and Talking Heads. Goldsmith has stated that he wanted to be John Lennon, but also a drummer,[1] and has cited Keith Moon of The Who as his biggest influence on the instrument.[2] During fifth grade, Goldsmith formed his first band, Screaming Hormones.[1] In high school, Goldsmith formed a duo called the 13 with John Atkins, and later formed the hardcore punk band Reason to Hate with his friend Jeremy Enigk, whom he had previously invited to be the bassist for the 13. After Goldsmith graduated from high school, Greg Williamson invited him to the band Positive Greed. Afterwards Goldsmith worked on many ensembles, at times being a member of four bands simultaneously. He also expanded his tastes in music, becoming a fan of post-hardcore bands such as Fugazi, and of Nirvana's debut album Bleach.[3]

Sunny Day Real Estate (1992–1995)[edit]

In 1992, Goldsmith was invited by bassist Nate Mendel and singer-guitarist Dan Hoerner to play with their band. Despite being a part of many projects, Goldsmith accepted due to their tenacity and strong focus. The band went through many names, such as Empty Set, Chewbacca Kaboom and One Day I Stopped Breathing, before settling down on Sunny Day Real Estate. Afterwards the trio recorded a single, Flatland Spider.[3]

As Mendel left temporarily to tour with another band, Goldsmith invited Enigk to jam with him and Hoerner. Enigk was then added to the band, and soon became their new frontman.[4] They recorded two studio albums, both released on the well-known independent label Sub Pop, that were greeted with positive critical reviews and brought about newfound popularity for the emo genre before they disbanded in 1995.

Foo Fighters (1995–1997)[edit]

During one of Sunny Day Real Estate's last concerts, former Nirvana member Dave Grohl left the band a note. Goldsmith called him back, and Grohl invited both Goldsmith and Mendel to his new band, Foo Fighters, along with former Germs and touring Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear, during late October 1994. In 1995, they embarked on a club tour supporting Mike Watt along with Eddie Vedder's side project Hovercraft. Afterwards, the band's already recorded debut album – on which Grohl had recorded nearly all instruments by himself – was released. Goldsmith stated that while he enjoyed the smaller venues, "pretty much everything after that blew," saying that as the band got bigger "it turned into a world-domination thing that became really creatively stifling" and he grew tired of reproducing songs he had no input composing. Goldsmith also developed carpal tunnel syndrome after the tour.[5]

After touring through the spring of 1996, the full lineup entered a Seattle studio with producer Gil Norton to record the band's second album. It was an arduous and mostly frustrating process for Goldsmith due to Grohl's perfectionism, which led the drummer performing his tracks over and over. "Dave had me do 96 takes of one song, and I had to do thirteen hours' worth of takes on another one. It just seemed that everything I did wasn't good enough for him, or anyone else."[5] With the sessions nearly complete, the band took a break. According to Grohl, Goldsmith's drumming had good moments, but for the most part his performances were not to Grohl’s standards. The band regrouped in Los Angeles in February 1997 and practically re-recorded the album—this time with Grohl on drums—without informing Goldsmith about the overdub session.[6] Goldsmith only later learned his contribution was being replaced from Mendel.[5] Feeling betrayed, and unhappy with Grohl's suggestion he continued on as the band's touring drummer only, Goldsmith decided to leave the band. He was replaced by Taylor Hawkins and the finished album, The Colour and the Shape, was released on May 20, 1997.[6]

Back with Sunny Day Real Estate (1997–2001)[edit]

In 1997, Sub Pop had approached Hoerner and Enigk about releasing a compilation of Sunny Day Real Estate rarities. Instead, the band decided to reunite and release a new studio album, 1998's How It Feels To Be Something On. While Goldsmith, who had by this time left Foo Fighters, took part in the reunion, Mendel remained with Foo Fighters.[7] Goldsmith also drummed with Sunny Day Real Estate on their subsequent live album, which was their last recording for Sub Pop, and their 2000 studio album The Rising Tide (for Time Bomb Recordings). After completing an extensive tour of the United States, the band hoped to tour Europe for the first time, but Time Bomb could not afford to support such a tour; the label soon ceased operations, resulting in the band's 2001 breakup.

After Sunny Day Real Estate, other projects, and reunion (2001–present)[edit]

After Sunny Day Real Estate disbanded for a second time, Goldsmith and Enigk formed The Fire Theft with original Sunny Day bassist Nate Mendel. An album and tour followed.

Around the same time, Goldsmith joined guitarist Billy Dolan, who had played on the Fire Theft album and tour, for a project called Varicocele. The band recorded about 30 songs, and presented them to Jonathan Poneman at Sub Pop, who declined to release them.

In 2008, Goldsmith formed Brawley Banks with Justin Schwartz and Jorum Young from Cobra High. In 2009 they played their first show.

In June 2009, it was confirmed that Sunny Day Real Estate would be reuniting once again with the original line-up.[8][9] A tour began later that year.[10] In early 2010, guitarist Dan Hoerner stated that a new album is in the works.[11]

In December 2018, Goldsmith claimed on his Facebook page that the unfinished fifth Sunny Day Real Estate album remained "silenced, abandoned and buried within the murkiest depths of David Grohl's sock drawer." He would later clarify that he was referring to the Grohl-owned Studio 606 where the album sessions took place and were abandoned due to Jeremy Enigk not receiving "the moral support as well as engineering that he deserved." Goldsmith also claimed that Grohl disapproved of Nate Mendel's involvement in The Fire Theft, and thus would not be supportive of Mendel completing the new Sunny Day Real Estate LP. Via Foo Fighters' representatives, Mendel denied Goldsmith's initial allegations, to which Goldsmith replied that he had not spoken with Mendel since 2011 after a planned conference call to discuss finishing the album did not happen.[12]


During the bulk of his time with Sunny Day Real Estate and Foo Fighters, William played an Ayotte drum kit with Zildjian cymbals. His exact setup was as follows:


  • 14" x 7" SteelHoop Snare Drum
  • 15"x14" Tom Tom
  • 18"x16" Floor Tom
  • 24" x 20" Bass Drum


  • 15" Zildjian K Custom Hi-Hats
  • 22" Zildjian K Light Ride
  • 22" Zildjian K Custom Dark Ride
  • 24" Zildjian A Medium Ride

He has also played with DW, Yamaha, Pearl, Craviotto, Slingerland, and Vistalite kits.

During the Fire Theft tour, he played with a massive 30" Zildjian K ride.


Sunny Day Real Estate (1994–95; 98; 99-00)

Jeremy Enigk

Foo Fighters

  • Foo Fighters (album) - Live Drums
  • The Colour and the Shape (1997) – (plays drums on "Doll", "Up in Arms" (credited only for slow intro), verses of "My Poor Brain" (uncredited), "The Colour and the Shape", and "Down in the Park" (10th Anniversary Edition) (uncredited))

Mary Lou Lord


  • Slickaphonics (1999)

The Fire Theft


  1. ^ a b Grubbs, Eric (2008). Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore-1985-2007. iUniverse. ISBN 0595518354.
  2. ^ William Goldsmith: Artist Update: Modern Drummer Magazine 25 March 2008
  3. ^ a b Grubbs, 2008. pp.73–74
  4. ^ Grubbs (2008), pp.74–76
  5. ^ a b c Roberts, Michael. "Bring Back that Sunny Day." Miami New Times. December 3, 1998.
  6. ^ a b Moll, James (director) (2011). Back and Forth (documentary). RCA.
  7. ^ Crain, Zac. "Brightness Falls". Dallas Observer. November 12, 1998.
  8. ^ http://www.earcandybeat.com/?q=node/61
  9. ^ "Sunny Day Real Estate Reunion in 2009? | Perfect Lines". Perfectlines.wordpress.com. March 17, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  10. ^ "Sub Pop Records". Subpop.com. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Sunny Day Real Estate". Fasterlouder.com.au. February 2, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  12. ^ Serota, Maggie (December 4, 2018). "Sunny Day Real Estate Drummer Accuses Dave Grohl of Holding Unreleased Album Hostage". Spin. Retrieved December 4, 2018.