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William Goldsmith

William Goldsmith (b. July 4, 1972) is an American drummer best known for being the drummer of the popular Seattle emo band Sunny Day Real Estate and for his tenure as the drummer of the alternative rock band Foo Fighters. His cites Keith Moon of the Who as his biggest influence.

Sunny Day Real Estate (1992-1995)

In 1992, Goldsmith founded the band Sunny Day Real Estate in Seattle with bassist Nate Mendel and Dan Hoerner on guitar and vocals. The band soon recruited Jeremy Enigk, a high school friend of Goldsmith's as their new frontman. 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)

Goldsmith and Mendel then joined former Nirvana member Dave Grohl's new band, Foo Fighters, along with former Germs guitarist Pat Smear. In 1995, they embarked on a tour in support of the band's already-released debut album (Grohl had recorded nearly all instruments for the album by himself). The album was a massive hit, spawning five hit singles.

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. With the sessions nearly complete, Grohl took the rough mixes with him on a trip home to Virginia. While there, Grohl realized that he wasn't happy with how the mixes were turning out, and began demoing newer songs by himself at a studio in Washington, DC. "Everlong" and "Walking After You" were recorded by Grohl with him playing all instruments, and this version of "Walking After You" was the one used for the album. The band regrouped in Los Angeles in February of 1997 and almost completely re-recorded the album, this time with Grohl on drums, not telling Goldsmith about the session at all. Goldsmith later found out through bassist Mendel. Feeling betrayed and suffering the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, he decided to leave the band soon thereafter; he was replaced on drums by Taylor Hawkins. The finished album, The Colour and the Shape, was released on May 20, 1997.

As a result of this, Goldsmith actually recorded little material that would be released by Foo Fighters in spite of being a member of the band from 1995 through 1997. Most of what little material he recorded with them was discarded. In fact, he can only be heard on four tracks from The Colour and the Shape: "Doll", "Up in Arms", "My Poor Brain", and "Down in the Park" (the latter was released only as a bonus track on the tenth anniversary edition).

Back with Sunny Day Real Estate (1997-2001)

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 chose to stay with Grohl and Foo Fighters rather than return to his old band. 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 (2001-present)

Currently drumming for The Fire Theft, Goldsmith has toured with Mike Watt, 5ive Style, and IQU, and has recorded and played live with many other bands and artists.


He has acted in two feature films, Heartbreak Beat and For The Cash, both directed by Matt Matsuoka. For the Cash also starred Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate.


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 A Rock Hi-Hat
  • 20" Zildjian K Crash/Ride
  • 22" Zildjian A Crash/Ride
  • 24" Zildjian A Medium Ride

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



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