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The life and times of Foo Fighters' fighter, Dave Grohl
Upclosed staff | Nov 18, 2017

The life and times of Foo Fighters' fighter, Dave Grohl

Then I'm done done on to the next one, Done done and I'm on to the next one...

Growing up, the Nicest Man in Rock, Dave Grohl, had a dream, of escaping the stuffy life of American suburbs for an adventurous life in Los Angeles. His dream indeed came true and he made LA - what he calls a city where 'porn stars become grocery clerks and rock stars come to die - his home, in the mid-90s. And he became a rock machine that never ceases to rock. His life, in his own words, is a journey driven by a 'sense of adventure,' of 'not knowing what lay ahead.' 

Considered to be one of the most influential, multi-talented rock musicians, he is estimated to be the third wealthiest drummer in the world, behind Ringo Starr and Phil Collins. And he has never ever done cocaine, heroin, or speed.

Those who have met him know he cannot finish a sentence without the four-letter word in it. And those who have seen him perform know he gives a serious fucking shit about rock. From being a drummer for Nirvana to being everything except the drummer for Foo Fighters, Grohl in one man who is admired by anyone who has anything to do with music.

In the early '90s, Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses called Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love "fucking junkies." The ensuing feud between GnR and Nirvana lasted more than two decades, until this week when Grohl appeared on stage with Guns N' Roses to perform "Paradise City" on their Oklahoma tour.

Dave Grohl, or David, as his mother calls him, was born on January 14, 1969, in Warren, Ohio. He has Slovak, German, and Irish ancestry. At the age of twelve, he began teaching himself guitar, and a year later, he performed on stage at The Cubby Bear in Chicago.

While in high school, Grohl played guitar in several local bands and also began teaching himself to play drums. During his developing years, he performed for various punk bands including Freak Baby, Mission Impossible, and Dain Bramage. 

Grohl in an interview with The Guardian said,

They don't understand that when I was 15 and had Zen Arcade (a Hüsker Dü album), that's when I decided that I loved this music. For me to do anything else for the sole reason of doing something different would be so contrived.

Such was his love for music. So much that he quit school and lied about his age, claiming he was 20, to join a Washington DC-based band, Scream.

After Scream disbanded, in 1990, Grohl auditioned with Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and filled the vacant spot for a drummer. Grohl was as much Nirvana as Cobain was, however, Grohl felt, with Nirvana, his other talents remained untouched. After all, the guitar was his first love, and he knew he could write well. He did quench his thirst by releasing an album called Pocketwatch (1992,) under the pseudonym "Late!." With time, Grohl got the opportunity to write within Nirvana. Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014.

Through Kurt, I saw the beauty of minimalism and the importance of music that's stripped down.

Cobain's death in April 1994, left Grohl confused and bewildered about his musical career. An ex-drummer for Nirvana would have no trouble landing a gig as a drummer with almost any band in America. But drumming was not the only thing that Grohl was after. Grohl declined to work with Tom Petty, and it was also rumored that Grohl was a possible replacement for Dave Abbruzzese, the drummer of another Seattle grunge act, Pearl Jam. 

"I thought that I would rather do what no one expected me to do. I enjoy writing music and I enjoy trying to sing, and there's nothing anyone can really do to discourage me." 

Grohl was onto something bigger. He started his one-man project, Foo Fighters, and a bit later, added Nirvana's Pat Smear (guitar,); and William Goldsmith (drums) and Nate Mendel (bass) of Sunny Day Real Estate, to complete the lineup. The group released their first self-titled album in July 1995. He turned his Alexandria, Virginia, basement into a recording studio, and continued to tour non-stop as the band grew in popularity. 

With Foo Fighters, Grohl was living the dream. For the band, he was the lead singer, the lead guitarist, and the songwriter. 

In 2001, Grohl, along with Taylor Hawkins, was asked to induct Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Grohl and Hawkins joined Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor to perform "Tie Your Mother Down."

Foo Fighters' first major breakthrough came with their song "All My Life" reaching the peak of the Billboard Modern Rock chart, in November 2002.

In 2013, Grohl delivered a keynote speech at the SXSW in Austin Texas. The speech covered Grohl's musical life from his youth through to his role with the Foo Fighters and emphasized the importance of individuality of voice. 

There is no right or wrong—there is only your voice... What matters most is that it’s your voice. Cherish it. Respect it. Nurture it. Challenge it. Respect it.

Since their formation in 1995 to 2017, the band has released nine studio albums, and none could be called a failure. Four of their albums won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album. Because, "Then I'm done done on to the next one, Done done and I'm on to the next one..."

Discography

  • Foo Fighters (1995)
  • The Colour and the Shape (1997)
  • There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)
  • One by One (2002)
  • In Your Honor (2005)
  • Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007)
  • Wasting Light (2011)
  • Sonic Highways (2014)
  • Concrete and Gold (2017)

Trivia

Foo Fighters sometimes perform as a cover band "Chevy Metal." 

The term foo fighter was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over the European and 
Pacific theaters of operations.

In 2004, George W. Bush's presidential campaign used Foo Fighters' "Times Like These" at their rallies. When Grohl found out about it, he decided to lend his public support to John Kerry, Bush's rival, about which he said, "There's no way of stopping the president playing your songs, so I went out and played it for John Kerry's people instead, where I thought the message would kinda make more sense".

In December 2015, Grohl appeared on an episode of The Muppets where he competed in a "drum off" with Animal.

Grohl is a Democrat. He supported President Barack Obama and performed "My Hero" in September at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

References

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/22/how-to-raise-a-rock-star-by-dave-grohls-mum
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/nov/06/sp-dave-grohl-foo-fighters-sonic-highways-album-tv-show
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foo_Fighters

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