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The Wright notes: La Jollan’s Foo Fighters tribute band rocks on TV’s ‘Clash of the Cover Bands’

Fooz Fighters Brent Wright, Boll3t, Nicky Rich, Gui Bodi and David Tishenkel (from left)
Fooz Fighters members Brent Wright, Boll3t, Nicky Rich, Gui Bodi and David Tishenkel (from left) will compete on E’s “Clash of the Cover Bands,” premiering Wednesday, Oct. 13.
(Evans Vestal Ward / E! Entertainment)

Taking the next stage in their musical journey, Brent Wright and his bandmates are going for glory on a new competition TV show, trading live rock concerts for recorded performances.

Wright, a La Jolla resident since birth, is guitarist and manager for the Fooz Fighters, a band he founded in 2014 to pay homage to the rock group Foo Fighters.

For the record:

3:00 p.m. Oct. 11, 2021This article has been updated to correct the time of the Oct. 13 premiere.

Fooz Fighters will compete on E! Entertainment’s “Clash of the Cover Bands,” premiering at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13. The series is hosted by Stephen “tWitch” Boss, with singer-songwriters Meghan Trainor, Adam Lambert and Ester Dean as celebrity judges.

During the 10 episodes of 45 minutes each, several acts will perform head to head in a variety of musical genres, with one winner getting $25,000 and an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

“It’s been a pretty remarkable journey,” Wright said of Fooz Fighters, whose lineup also includes lead vocalist Nicky Rich, drummer Boll3t, guitarist David Tishenkel and bass player Gui Bodi.

The band was originally formed as a tribute to Stone Temple Pilots but switched early on to Foo Fighters. “We just looked around the country [and] we didn’t really see many Foo Fighter tribute bands out there,” Wright said. “Within 10 months, we were getting tour offers back on the East Coast.”

Wright said receiving offers to play around the country has “been kind of a steady thing for us” since.

He said he and his bandmates were contacted by “Clash of the Cover Bands,” but “we weren’t really sure if we wanted to be part of it.”

After a few Zoom meetings with executives, the band members understood the show’s objectives and were excited when asked to go to Los Angeles to shoot the episodes, Wright said.

“I think as an artist and a musician, you always strive to get your name out there and increase your popularity,” he said.

“We live for playing live; that’s what we do. We don’t do it for any reason other than fans, to bring the music and experience of the Foo Fighters to people that maybe can’t afford to see the real Foo Fighters. … We’re always trying to put ourselves in the best position to get the best shows out there, and we saw ‘Clash of the Cover Bands’ as an opportunity.

“We didn’t know quite what to expect, but it was just an amazing experience.”

During the show’s recording, Wright and his bandmates “weren’t really focused on the live audience; we were focused on the judges,” he said.

The band experienced “nervous energy, [but] we were so fired up and so excited,” Wright said.

Most of the acts on the show are tribute bands, as opposed to cover bands, Wright said.

Cover bands typically play music from a lot of different artists, he said, while tribute bands “focus solely on one artist, and to a level that cover bands really don’t strive to go. They want to play the music note for note; they want to, in some cases, look a lot like the artists that they’re paying tribute to.”

Wright said Fooz Fighters focuses on “the real fine details. … We play pretty much all the same instruments, the same amp and guitars and drums and everything that the real band Foo Fighters use.”

Rich, the Fooz Fighters’ front man, didn’t look anything like Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl at the tribute band’s inception, Wright said. But he quickly grew his hair to appear more like Grohl, the former Nirvana drummer.

The other band members have changed a few times since Fooz Fighters was formed, due to family obligations or personality conflicts, Wright said. The current lineup solidified during the COVID-19 pandemic, when performance opportunities waned.

“We had 20 shows canceled in 2020,” Wright said. But the band took the extra time to add 10 more songs to its repertoire and rehearse.

The added time together in the studio showed Wright how well the current band had jelled, Wright said. “It’s the best group of people that we’ve ever had, and we’re experiencing the most success right now.”

When he’s not rocking onstage, Wright works in corporate real estate. He said he’s one of three Fooz Fighters members with a full-time job. “We get up and go to work every day, and music is sort of moonlighting for us.”

“I grew up in a very musical family; my mother was a beautiful choir singer, my brothers and I all play different instruments,” Wright said. “I started playing guitar when I was 5 years old.”

He said he stopped playing music after college, “but then when I had children, I noticed that when I would try to get them to go to bed at night, they all wanted to hear music. So I’d pull my guitar out and we’d sing songs. Sure enough, they’d be falling asleep. So I kind of picked it back up.”

Fooz Fighters currently are on tour in Colorado, Texas and Nevada and will return for shows at Music Box in San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 20, and Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach on Friday, Dec. 3. For more information, visit foozfighters.com.