This week in Austin, TX the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference and festival is taking place. This is like the CSM of the music business. As I hear the buzz about the artists playing at the festival, it reminded me to listen to the surprise album “Saint Cecilia” released last year by the band Foo Fighters. This album was recorded at Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin during the SXSW festival. No fancy recording equipment. No expensive recording studio or production crew. Just a bunch of passionate guys who love music and love making it. So where does this all fit into physical therapy? For those that were not aware, Dave Grohl sustained an injury (fractured his leg) from a fall while playing live in Sweden last year. No doubt Dave needed some PT following this (he even got his Orthopedic physician, Dr. Lew Schon, on stage with him). So, given the times and reflection on South by Southwest, I thought it was fitting to show how Dave Grohl embodies what is right in PT. Below are my reasons:
- Simplicity: If you listen to Foo Fighter’s early records, one can see what I mean by this. Songs like “Monkey Wrench” are wildly popular even though it has been around for more than 20 years. What is more surprising is how simplistic the song is. In PT, we should strive to keep things simple. John Childs wrote about this earlier here. Keeping things simple makes our decision making steam lined and allows more challenging thought processes to occur when needed. The complicated days of “FRS and ERS” and “upslip this” and “nutated that” are over (or should be). We must not conclude, though, that simple is unskilled as some of the most simplistic songs are the most complicated to learn–just as some of the most simplistic reasoning processes take the longest to perfect.
- Resilience: When Grohl was the drummer of Nirvana, one would think that his career might be over following the death of Kurt Cobain. Grohl went on to form the Foo Fighters–while playing another instrument and singing–to become one of the most consistently popular rock bands out there. After his injury last year, one would think that he would have stopped touring, but he didn’t. Even immediately after his fall he was brought back on stage to continue performing. He had a throne made (see below) to help support his recovering leg so that he could continue on. As PTs, we must give patients hope and encourage resilience just as Grohl did throughout the years. We need to remind patients how resilient our bodies are and provide them hope.
- Energy and Passion. If you have ever been to a Foo Fighters show, you know that Dave and team put on an outstanding show. There are very few musicians out there that can have the energy and passion that Grohl can pull off for hours at a time. As PTs, we must possess the same energy and passion. No patient wants to come to a PT who lacks the passion needed to empower recovery or behavior change.
- Being Humble: Listening and watching many of Dave Grohl’s interviews makes it clear that he is a humble musician. He admires the craft put forward by other musicians before he even broke out into the main stream– artists like the Beatles, Heart, Dolly Parton to name a few. He studied them as we study published best evidence in PT. He pays tribute to those that paved the way for him. Being humble in PT will allow you to succeed through mentorship and learning. It is something we should all strive to be.
The list of reasons could go on, but these are the top 4 that I feel embody what is right in PT. It is interesting to see where inspiration for one’s profession can come from, but music is one that can relate to most anything. So now that you are done reading this, crank up some Foo Fighters in your class, office or clinic to inspire all that is right in our profession.