David Eric "Dave" Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and film director, who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, main songwriter and founder of the band Foo Fighters. Prior to Foo Fighters, Grohl was the drummer for the grunge band Nirvana. He is also the drummer and co-founder of the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Grohl has additionally written all the music and performed all the instruments for his short-lived side projects Late! and Probot, as well as being involved with Queens of the Stone Age numerous times throughout the past decade. He has performed session work (as a drummer) for a variety of musicians, including Garbage, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, The Prodigy, Slash, Iggy Pop, Juliette Lewis, Tenacious D, RDGLDGRN, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lemmy, Stevie Nicks and Ghost.
1 Early life,
2.1 Scream (1986-1990),
2.2 Nirvana (1990-1994),
2.3 Foo Fighters (1994-present),
3 Additional projects and contributions,
4 Personal life,
8 External links,
Grohl was born in Warren, Ohio, the son of Virginia Jean (née Hanlon), a teacher, and James Harper Grohl, at the time a newswriter. He has Slovak, German, and Irish ancestry. As a child, Grohl's family relocated from Warren, to Springfield, Virginia. When Grohl was six, his parents divorced, and Grohl grew up living with his mother.
At the age of twelve, Grohl began learning to play guitar. He quickly grew tired of lessons and instead taught himself, and began playing in bands with friends. A year later, Grohl and his sister spent the summer in Evanston, Illinois, at their cousin Tracy's house. Tracy introduced them to punk rock by taking the pair to shows by a variety of punk bands. His first concert was in 1982 to see Naked Raygun at The Cubby Bear in Chicago when he was 13 years old. "From then on we were totally punk," Grohl explained. "We went home and bought Maximumrocknroll and tried to figure it all out."
In Virginia, Grohl attended Thomas Jefferson High School as a freshman. He was elected vice president of his freshman class and played bits of songs by bands like the Circle Jerks and Bad Brains over the school intercom before his morning announcements. Grohl's mother decided that he should transfer to Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria because his marijuana usage was affecting his grades. He stayed there two years, beginning with a repeat of first year. After his second year, he transferred yet again, to Annandale High School.
While in high school, Grohl played in several local bands, including a stint on guitar in a band called Freak Baby. While playing in Freak Baby, he taught himself to play drums. When Freak Baby kicked out its bass player, Grohl decided to switch to drums, and the new band called themselves Mission Impossible. During his developing years as a drummer, Grohl cited John Bonham as his greatest influence, and eventually had Bonham's three-circle logo tattooed on his wrist. Mission Impossible later rebranded themselves Fast before breaking up, after which Grohl joined the post-punk-influenced hardcore punk band Dain Bramage.
Many of Grohl's early influences were gained at the 9:30 club, a live music venue in Washington D.C.: "I went to the 9:30 club hundreds of times. I was always so excited to get there, and I was always bummed when it closed. I spent my teenage years at the club and saw some shows that changed my life."
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Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scream_(band)
At the age of seventeen, Grohl auditioned with local DC favorites Scream to fill the vacancy left by the departure of drummer Kent Stax. In order to be lined up for the audition, Grohl had lied about his age, claiming he was 20. To Grohl's surprise, the band asked him to join. After waffling for a brief period, Grohl accepted the offer. Grohl dropped out of high school in his junior year; he said, "I was seventeen and extremely anxious to see the world, so I did it." Over the next four years, Grohl toured extensively with the band, recording a couple of live albums (their May 4, 1990 show in Alzey, Germany being released by Tobby Holzinger as Your Choice Live Series Vol.10) and two studio albums, No More Censorship and Fumble, on which Grohl penned and sang vocals on the song "Gods Look Down".
While playing in Scream, Grohl became a fan of Melvins and eventually befriended the band. During a 1990 tour stop on the west coast, The Melvins' Buzz Osborne took a couple of his friends, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, to see the band.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_(band)
A few months later, Scream unexpectedly disbanded following the departure of its bass player. Grohl called Osborne for advice, and the latter gave him the phone numbers of Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain, who invited Grohl to Seattle. Grohl subsequently auditioned for Nirvana, and soon joined them full-time.
At the time that Grohl joined Nirvana, the band had already recorded several demos for the follow-up to their debut album Bleach, having spent time recording with producer Butch Vig in Wisconsin. Initially, the plan was to release the album on Sub Pop, but the band received a great deal of major label interest based on the demos. Grohl spent the initial months with Nirvana traveling to various major labels as the band shopped for a deal, eventually signing with DGC Records. In the spring of 1991, the band entered the studio to record the album.
Upon its release, Nevermind exceeded all expectations and became a massive success, catapulting the band to worldwide stardom. At the same time, Grohl was struggling with his status in the band. While his drumming style was a significant element in the band's success, Grohl saw himself as just another in a long line of drummers. Though Grohl had been writing songs for several years, he declined to introduce most of his songs to the band as he was in awe of Cobain's songs and didn't want to pollute the process. Instead, he compiled and recorded them himself, releasing a cassette called Pocketwatch in 1992 on indie label Simple Machines. Rather than using his own name, Grohl released the cassette under the pseudonym "Late!".
In the later years of Nirvana, Grohl's songwriting contributions increased. In Dave Grohl's initial months in Seattle, Kurt Cobain overheard him working on a song called "Color Pictures of a Marigold", and the two ended up working on it. Grohl would later record the song for the Pocketwatch cassette. During the sessions for In Utero, he decided to re-record the song, and the band released this version as a B-side on the "Heart-Shaped Box" single, titled simply "Marigold". Grohl also contributed the main guitar riff for "Scentless Apprentice". Cobain admitted in a late 1993 MTV interview that he initially thought the riff was "kind of boneheaded", but was gratified at how the song developed (a process captured in part in a demo on the Nirvana box set With the Lights Out). Cobain noted that he was excited at the possibility of having Novoselic and Grohl contribute more to the band's songwriting.
Prior to their 1994 European tour, the band scheduled session time at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle to work on demos. For most of the three-day session Cobain was absent, so Novoselic and Grohl worked on demos of their own songs. The duo completed several of Grohl's songs, including future Foo Fighters songs "Exhausted", "Big Me", "February Stars", and "Butterflies". On the third day of the session Cobain finally arrived and the band recorded a demo of a song later named "You Know You're Right". It was the band's final studio recording.
Foo Fighters (1994-present):
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foo_Fighters
Following Cobain's death in April 1994, Grohl retreated, unsure of where to go and what to do with himself. In October 1994, Grohl scheduled studio time, again at Robert Lang's Studio, and quickly recorded a fifteen-track demo. With the exception of a single guitar part on "X-Static" played by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, Grohl performed all of the instruments himself.
At the same time, Grohl wondered if his future might be in drumming for other bands. In November, Grohl took a brief turn with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, including a memorable performance on Saturday Night Live. Petty asked him to join permanently, but Grohl declined. He was also rumored as a possible replacement for Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese and even performed with the band for a song or two at three shows during Pearl Jam's March 1995 Australian tour. However, by then Pearl Jam had already settled on ex- Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons and Grohl had other solo plans in the works.
After passing the demo around, Grohl found himself with considerable major label interest. Nirvana's A&R rep Gary Gersh had subsequently taken over as president of Capitol Records and lured Grohl to sign with the label. Grohl did not want the effort to be considered the start of a solo career so he recruited other band members: former Germs and touring Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear, and two members of the recently disbanded Sunny Day Real Estate, William Goldsmith (drums) and Nate Mendel (bass). Rather than re-record the album, Grohl's demo was given a professional mix by Rob Schnapf and Tom Rothrock and was released in July 1995 as Foo Fighters' debut album.
During a break between tours, the band entered the studio and recorded a cover of Gary Numan's "Down in the Park". In February 1996, Grohl and his then-wife Jennifer Youngblood made a brief cameo appearance on The X-Files third season episode "Pusher".
After touring for the self-titled album for more than a year, Grohl returned home and began work on the soundtrack to the 1997 movie Touch. Grohl performed all of the instruments and vocals himself, save for vocals from Veruca Salt singer Louise Post on the title track, keyboards by Barrett Jones (who also co-produced the record) on one track, and vocals and guitar by X's John Doe on "This Loving Thing (Lynn's Song)". Grohl completed the recording in two weeks, and immediately joined Foo Fighters to work on their follow-up.
In the midst of the initial sessions for Foo Fighters' second album, tension emerged between Grohl and Goldsmith. According to Goldsmith, "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." Goldsmith also believed that Capitol and producer Gil Norton wanted Grohl to drum on the album. With the album seemingly complete, Grohl headed home to Virginia with a copy of the rough mixes, and found himself unhappy with the results. Grohl penned a few new songs, recording one of them, "Walking After You", by himself at a studio in Washington, DC. Inspired by the session, Grohl opted to move the band, without Goldsmith's knowledge, to Los Angeles to re-record most of the album with Grohl behind the kit. After the sessions were complete, Goldsmith officially announced his departure from the band.
Speaking in 2011 about the tension surrounding the departure of Goldsmith, Grohl said, "There were a lot of reasons it didn't work out... but there was also a part of me that was like, you know, I don't know if I'm finished playing the drums yet." He would also state, "I wish that I would have handled things differently..."
The effort was released in May 1997 as the band's second album, The Colour and the Shape, which eventually cemented Foo Fighters as a staple of rock radio. The album spawned several hits, including "Everlong", "My Hero", and "Monkey Wrench". Just prior to the album's release, former Alanis Morissette drummer Taylor Hawkins joined the band on drums. The following September, Smear (a close friend of Jennifer Youngblood) left the band, citing a need to settle down following a lifetime of touring. Smear was subsequently replaced by Grohl's former Scream bandmate Franz Stahl. (Stahl departed the band prior to recording of Foo Fighters' third album and was replaced by touring guitarist Chris Shiflett, who later became a full-fledged member during the recording of One by One.)
Grohl's life of non-stop touring and travel continued with Foo Fighters' popularity. During his infrequent pauses he lived in Seattle and Los Angeles before returning to Alexandria, Virginia. It was there that he turned his basement into a recording studio where the 1999 album There Is Nothing Left to Lose was recorded.
In 2000, the band recruited Queen guitarist Brian May to add some guitar flourish to a cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar", a song which Foo Fighters previously recorded as a b-side. The friendship between the two bands resulted in Grohl and Taylor Hawkins being asked to induct Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Grohl and Hawkins joined May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor to perform "Tie Your Mother Down", with Grohl standing in on vocals for Freddie Mercury. May later contributed guitar work for the song "Tired of You" on the ensuing Foo Fighters album, as well as on an unreleased Foo Fighters song called "Knucklehead".
Near the end of 2001, Foo Fighters returned to the studio to work on their fourth album. After four months in the studio, with the sessions finished, Grohl accepted an invitation to join Queens of the Stone Age and helped them to record their 2002 album Songs for the Deaf. (Grohl can be seen drumming for the band in the video for the song "No One Knows".) After a brief tour through North America, Britain and Japan with the band and feeling rejuvenated by the effort, Grohl recalled the other band members to completely re-record their album at his studio in Virginia. The effort became their fourth album, One by One. While initially pleased with the results, in another 2005 Rolling Stone interview, Dave Grohl admitted to not liking the record: "Four of the songs were good, and the other seven I never played again in my life. We rushed into it, and we rushed out of it."
On November 23, 2002, Grohl achieved a historical milestone by replacing himself on the top of the Billboard Modern Rock chart, when "You Know You're Right" by Nirvana was replaced by "All My Life" by Foo Fighters. When "All My Life" ended its run, after a one week respite, "No One Knows" by Queens of the Stone Age took the number one spot. Between October 26, 2002 and March 1, 2003 Grohl was in the number one spot on the Modern Rock charts for 17 of 18 successive weeks, as a member of three different groups.
Grohl and Foo Fighters released their fifth album In Your Honor on June 14, 2005. Prior to starting work on the album, the band spent almost a year relocating Grohl's home-based Virginia studio to a brand new facility, dubbed Studio 606, located in a warehouse near Los Angeles. Featuring collaborations with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Norah Jones, the album was a departure from previous efforts, and included one rock and one acoustic disc.
Foo Fighters's sixth studio album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace was released on September 25, 2007. It was recorded during a three-month period between March 2007 and June 2007, and its release was preceded by the first single "The Pretender" on September 17. The second single, "Long Road to Ruin", was released on December 3, 2007, followed by the third single, "Let It Die", June 24, 2008.
On November 3, 2009, Foo Fighters released their first Greatest Hits collection, consisting of 16 tracks including a previously unreleased acoustic version of "Everlong" and two new tracks "Wheels" and "Word Forward" which were produced by Nevermind's producer Butch Vig. Grohl has been quoted saying the Greatest Hits is too early and "...can look like an obituary." He does not feel they have written their best hits yet.
The Foo Fighters' seventh studio album, Wasting Light, was released on April 12, 2011. It is the first Foo Fighters album to reach No. 1 in the United States. Despite rumors of a hiatus, Grohl confirmed in January 2013 that the band had completed writing material for their follow-up to Wasting Light.
On May 19, 2012, the Foo Fighters appeared with Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live. They performed the Jagger/Richards songs "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "It's Only Rock 'n Roll".
Additional projects and contributions:
Apart from his main bands, Grohl has been involved in other music projects. In 1992, he played drums on Buzz Osborne's Kiss-styled solo-EP King Buzzo, where he was credited as Dale Nixon, a pseudonym that Greg Ginn adopted to play bass on Black Flag's My War. He also released the music cassette Pocketwatch under the pseudonym Late! on the now defunct indie label, Simple Machines.
In 1993, Grohl was recruited to help recreate the music of The Beatles' early years for the movie Backbeat. he played drums in an "all-star" lineup that included Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, indie producer Don Fleming, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum. A music video was filmed for the song "Money" while Grohl was with Nirvana on their 1994 European tour, footage of Grohl was filmed later and included.
Later in 1994, Grohl played drums on two tracks for Mike Watt's Ball-Hog or Tugboat?. In early 1995, Grohl and Foo Fighters played their first US tour opening for Watt, and helped make up Watt's supporting band. Nicknamed the "Ringspiel" tour, Watt's band featured Grohl and William Goldsmith on drums, Eddie Vedder and Pat Smear on guitar, and Watt on bass.
During the early 2000s, Grohl spent time in his basement studio writing and recording a number of songs for a metal project. Over the span of several years, he recruited his favorite metal vocalists from the 1980s, including Lemmy of Motörhead, Conrad "Cronos" Lant from Venom, King Diamond, Scott Weinrich, Snake of Voivod and Max Cavalera of Sepultura, to perform the vocals for the songs. The project was released in 2004 under the moniker Probot.
Also in 2003, Grohl stepped behind the kit to perform on Killing Joke's second self-titled album. The move surprised some Nirvana fans, given that Nirvana had been accused of stealing the opening riff of "Come as You Are" from Killing Joke's 1984 song "Eighties". However, the controversy failed to create a lasting rift between the bands. Foo Fighters covered Killing Joke's "Requiem" during the late 1990s, and were even joined by Killing Joke singer Jaz Coleman for a performance of the song at a show in New Zealand in 2003. Also in 2003, at the 2003 Grammy Awards, Grohl performed in an ad-hoc supergroup with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, and Steven Van Zandt for a performance in tribute of then-recently deceased singer/guitarist Joe Strummer.
Grohl lent his drumming skills to other artists during the early 2000s. In 2000, he played drums and sang on a track, "Goodbye Lament", from Tony Iommi's album Iommi. In 2001, Grohl performed on Tenacious D's debut album, and appeared in the video for lead single "Tribute" as a demon. He later appeared in the duo's 2006 movie Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny as the devil in the song "Beelzeboss", and performed on its soundtrack. He also performed drums for their 2012 album Rize of the Fenix. In 2002, Grohl helped Chan Marshall of Cat Power on the album You Are Free and played with Queens of the Stone Age on their album Songs for the Deaf. Grohl also toured with the band in support of the album, delaying work on the Foo Fighters' album One by One. In 2004, Grohl drummed on several tracks for Nine Inch Nails' 2005 album With Teeth. He also drummed on the song "Bad Boyfriend" on Garbage's 2005 album Bleed Like Me. Most recently, he recorded all the drums on Juliette and the Licks's 2006 album Four on the Floor and the song "For Us" from Pete Yorn's 2006 album Nightcrawler. Beyond drumming, Grohl contributed guitar to a cover of Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting For You" on David Bowie's 2002 album Heathen.
In June 2008, Grohl was Paul McCartney's special guest for a concert at the Anfield football stadium in Liverpool, in one of the central events of the English city's year as European Capital of Culture. Grohl joined McCartney's band singing backup vocals and playing guitar on "Band on the Run" and drums on "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "I Saw Her Standing There". Grohl also performed with McCartney at the 51st Grammy Awards, again playing drums on "I Saw Her Standing There". Grohl also helped pay tribute to McCartney at the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors along with No Doubt, Norah Jones, Steven Tyler, James Taylor, and Mavis Staples. He sang a duet version of "Maybe I'm Amazed" with Norah Jones on Dec 5, 2010.
Grohl played drums on the tracks "Run with the Wolves" and "Stand Up" on The Prodigy's 2009 album Invaders Must Die
In July 2009, it was revealed that Grohl was recording with Josh Homme and John Paul Jones as Them Crooked Vultures. The trio performed their first show together on August 9, 2009, at Metro in Chicago. The band played their first UK gig on August 26, 2009, with a surprise appearance at Brixton Academy in London, supporting the Arctic Monkeys. The band released their debut album Them Crooked Vultures on November 16, 2009 in the UK and November 17, 2009 in the US.
On February 6, 2010, Grohl performed with his band Them Crooked Vultures the songs "Mind Eraser, No Chaser" and "New Fang" as musical guests on Saturday Night Live Dave Grohl appeared as an old punk rock drummer reuniting the group "Crisis of Conformity" after 25 years in a skit later on in the episode.
In mid-2010, Dave Grohl added his name to the list of contributing rock star voice cameos for Cartoon Network's heavy metal parody/tribute show, Metalocalypse. He voiced the controversial Syrian dictator, Abdule Malik in the season 3 finale, Doublebookedklok.
On October 23, 2010, Grohl performed with Tenacious D at Blizzcon. He appeared as the drummer for the entire concert, and a year later he returned with Foo Fighters and played another set there, this time as guitarist and vocalist.
Also in 2010, Grohl helped write and performed on drums for "Watch This" with guitarist Slash and Duff McKagan on Slash's self-titled album that also included many other famous artists.
In October 2011, Grohl temporarily joined Cage the Elephant as a replacement on tour after drummer Jared Champion's appendix burst.
Grohl directed a documentary entitled Sound City which is about the Van Nuys studio of the same name where Nevermind was recorded that shut down its music operations in 2011.
On November 6, 2012, following the departure of Joey Castillo from Queens of the Stone Age, Grohl has been confirmed as the drummer for the band on the upcoming album.
At the 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert Paul McCartney joined Grohl and the surviving members of Nirvana (Krist Novoselic and touring guitarist Pat Smear) to perform "Cut Me Some Slack", a song later recorded for the Sound City soundtrack. In what was regarded as a Nirvana reunion with McCartney as a stand-in for Kurt Cobain, this was the first time in eighteen years that the three had played alongside each other.
In February 2013, Grohl filled in as host of Chelsea Lately for a week. Guests included Elton John, who disclosed on the E! show that he would appear with Grohl on the next Queens of the Stone Age album. Grohl had previously hosted the show during the first week of December 2012 as part of "Celebrity Guest Host Week".
Grohl delivered a keynote speech at the 2013 SXSW conference in Austin Texas, US on the morning of March 14. Lasting just under an hour, the speech covered Grohl's musical life from his youth through to his role with the Foo Fighters and emphasized the importance of each individual's voice, regardless of who the individual is: "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." Grohl also admitted during the speech that Psy's "Gangnam Style" was one of his favorite songs of "the past decade."
On November 6, 2013, Dave Grohl played drums at the 2013 CMA awards replacing drummer Chris Fryar for Country Music band Zac Brown Band. The band debuted their new song "Day for the Dead".
Grohl has been married twice. He was married to photographer Jennifer Youngblood from 1994 to 1997. On August 2, 2003, Grohl married Jordyn Blum and together they have two daughters: Violet Maye (born 2006) and Harper Willow (born 2009).
Grohl has been vocal in his views on drug misuse, contributing to a 2009 anti-drug video for the BBC. "I have never done cocaine, ever in my life. I have never done heroin, I have never done speed," he said in a 2008 interview, adding that he had stopped smoking marijuana and taking acid at the age of 20. In the BBC video he said "I've seen people die. It ain't easy being young, but that stuff doesn't make it any easier".
In May 2006, Grohl sent a note of support to the two trapped miners in the Beaconsfield mine collapse in Tasmania, Australia. In the initial days following the collapse, one of the men requested an iPod with Foo Fighters album In Your Honor, to be sent down to them through a small hole. Grohl's note read, in part, "Though I'm halfway around the world right now, my heart is with you both, and I want you to know that when you come home, there's two tickets to any Foos show, anywhere, and two cold beers waiting for yous. Deal?" In October 2006, one of the miners took up his offer, joining Grohl for a drink after Foo Fighters acoustic concert at the Sydney Opera House. Grohl wrote an instrumental piece for the meeting, which Grohl pledged he would include on the band's next album. The song, titled "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners," appears on Foo Fighters' 2007 release Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, and features Kaki King.
Grohl is an advocate for gay rights. He has worn a White Knot ribbon to various events to promote whiteknot.org. When questioned about the knot, he responded "You know what that's about? I believe in love and I believe in equality and I believe in marriage equality." Grohl's gay rights activism dates back to the early 1990s, when he and the other members of Nirvana performed at a benefit to raise money to fight Oregon Ballot Measure 9. "Measure 9 goes against American traditions of mutual respect and freedom, and Nirvana wants to do their part to end bigotry and narrow-mindedness everywhere", the group stated. The ballot measure was ultimately defeated on November 3, 1992.
Grohl is a Democrat and supporter of President Obama, and performed My Hero in September at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In August 2009 Grohl was given the key to the city of Warren, Ohio and performed the songs "Everlong", "Times Like These", and "My Hero". A roadway in downtown Warren named "David Grohl Alley" has been dedicated to him with murals by local artists.
In 2000 while on tour with Foo Fighters in Australia, Grohl was arrested by Australian police while driving a scooter for driving under the influence following a concert on the Gold Coast in Queensland. He was fined $400 and had his Australian driving permit revoked for three months. Following the incident Grohl stated: "So, people, I guess if there's anything to learn here, it's: don't drive after a few beers, even if you feel entirely capable like I did."
Dave Grohl's hometown of Warren, Ohio unveiled gigantic 902 lb (409 kg) drumsticks in 2012 to honor Dave. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the massive pair have broken the Guinness World Record. The record breaking drumsticks were shown to the public for the first time on July 7 during a concert at the Warren Amphitheater.