David Eric Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and documentary filmmaker. He was the drummer for rock band Nirvana and founded the band Foo Fighters, for whom he is the singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter. Grohl is also the drummer and co-founder of the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, and wrote the music for his short-lived side projects Late! and Probot. He has also recorded and toured with Queens of the Stone Age.
David Eric Grohl
January 14, 1969
Warren, Ohio, U.S.
Jennifer Leigh Youngblood
(m. 1994; div. 1997)
At age 17, Grohl joined punk rock band Scream after the departure of drummer Kent Stax. He joined Nirvana soon after Scream's disbandment. Nirvana's second album, and the first to feature Grohl, Nevermind (1991), became a worldwide commercial success. Following the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in 1994, Grohl formed Foo Fighters, initially a one-man project. In 1995, the eponymous debut album was released by Roswell and Capitol Records. Foo Fighters have released nine further albums.
Grohl established himself as a respected drummer with Nirvana and in 2014 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with former bandmates Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, in the group's first year of eligibility. In 2010, Grohl was described by Ken Micallef, co-author of the book Classic Rock Drummers, as one of the most influential rock musicians of the last 20 years. In 2021, Grohl will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a second time as a member of Foo Fighters, also in their first year of eligibility.
Having directed numerous Foo Fighters music videos since 1997, Grohl debuted as a documentary filmmaker with 2013's Sound City, followed by documentary miniseries Sonic Highways (2014), and the 2021 documentary What Drives Us.
David Eric Grohl was born on January 14, 1969, in Warren, Ohio, the son of teacher Virginia Jean (née Hanlon) and newswriter James Harper Grohl (1938–2014). In addition to being an award-winning journalist, James had also served as the special assistant to Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and was described as "a talented political observer who possessed the ability to call every major election with uncanny accuracy". Grohl is of German, Irish, and Slovak descent. When he was a child, Grohl's family moved to Springfield, Virginia. When Grohl was seven, his parents divorced, and he subsequently grew up with his mother. At the age of 12, he began learning to play guitar. He grew tired of lessons and instead taught himself, and he eventually began playing in bands with friends. At that age, "I was going in the direction of faster, louder, darker while my sister, Lisa, three years older, was getting seriously into new wave territory. We'd meet in the middle sometimes with Bowie and Siouxsie And The Banshees". At 13, 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 Naked Raygun at The Cubby Bear in Chicago in 1982 when he was 13 years old. Grohl recalled, "From then on we were totally punk. 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 in that capacity would manage to play bits of songs by punk bands like 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 cannabis use was negatively impacting his grades. He stayed there for two years, beginning with a repeat of his 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 as guitarist in a band called Freak Baby. It was during this period that Grohl taught himself to play drums. When Freak Baby kicked out its bass player and reshuffled its lineup, Grohl switched to drums. The reconstituted band renamed themselves Mission Impossible.
Grohl said he did not take drumming lessons and instead learned from listening to Rush and punk rock. He cited Rush drummer Neil Peart as an early influence: "When I got 2112 when I was eight years old, it fucking changed the direction of my life. I heard the drums. It made me want to become a drummer."
During his developing years as a drummer, Grohl cited John Bonham as his greatest influence, and eventually had Bonham's three-rings symbol tattooed on his wrist. Mission Impossible rebranded themselves Fast before breaking up, after which Grohl joined the hardcore punk band Dain Bramage in December 1985. Dain Bramage ended in March 1987 when Grohl quit without warning to join Scream, having produced the I Scream Not Coming Down LP. Many of Grohl's early influences were at the 9:30 Club, a music venue in Washington, D.C. He said, "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."
At age 17, Grohl auditioned with local Washington, D.C. favorites Scream to fill the vacancy left by the departure of drummer Kent Stax. In order to be considered for the position, Grohl lied about his age, claiming he was older. To Grohl's surprise, the band asked him to join and so he dropped out of high school in his junior year. He has been quoted as saying, "I was 17 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 show of May 4, 1990 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". During a Toronto stop on their 1987 tour, Grohl played drums at the Iggy Pop show.
While playing in Scream, Grohl became a fan of the Melvins and eventually befriended the band. During a 1990 tour stop on the West Coast, Melvins' Buzz Osborne took a couple of his friends, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, to see the band.
A few months later, Scream unexpectedly disbanded mid-tour following the departure of bassist Skeeter Thompson, who left to join The Four Horsemen. Grohl called Osborne for advice and Osborne informed him that Nirvana was looking for a drummer and gave Grohl the phone numbers of Cobain and Novoselic, who subsequently invited Grohl to Seattle to audition for Nirvana. Grohl soon joined the band 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 interest based on the demos. Grohl spent the initial months with Nirvana traveling to various labels as the band shopped for a deal, eventually signing with DGC Records. In the spring of 1991, the band entered Sound City Studios in Los Angeles to record Nevermind (as seen in Grohl's 2013 documentary Sound City).
Upon its release, Nevermind (1991) exceeded all expectations and became a worldwide commercial success. At the same time, Grohl was compiling and recording his own material, which he released on 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 Grohl's initial months in Seattle, Cobain overheard him working on a song called "Color Pictures of a Marigold", and the two subsequently worked on it together. Grohl would later record the song for the Pocketwatch cassette. Grohl stated in a 2014 episode of Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways that Cobain reacted by kissing him upon first hearing a demo of "Alone + Easy Target" that Grohl had recently recorded.
During the sessions for In Utero, Nirvana decided to re-record "Color Pictures of a Marigold" and 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.
The Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl incarnation of Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014, 20 years after the death of Cobain.
Foo Fighters (1994–present)
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 Studios, 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 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 drummer William 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, D.C. 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 explained that "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 also stated that he wished he had "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 was kicked out of 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. It was recorded following the departure from Capitol and their former president Gary Gersh. Grohl described the recording experience as "intoxicating at times" because the band members were left completely to their own devices. He added, "One of the advantages of finishing the record before we had a new label was that it was purely our creation. It was complete and not open to outside tampering."
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, 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' 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", on 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 became the band's first 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 November 10, 2014, the Foo Fighters released their eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, which reached number two in the United States. The album features eight songs, each inspired by a different U.S. city's musical history and culture researched by Grohl himself.
On June 12, 2015, while playing a show in Gothenburg, Sweden, Grohl fell off the stage, breaking his leg. He left temporarily and returned with a cast to finish the concert. Afterward, the band cancelled the remainder of its European tour. To avoid having to cancel the band's upcoming North American tour, Grohl designed a large "elevated throne" which would allow him to perform on stage with a broken leg. The throne was unveiled at a concert in Washington, D.C. on July 4, where Grohl used the stage's video screens to show the crowd video of him falling from the stage in Gothenburg as well as X-rays of his broken leg. Beginning with the show on July 4, the Foo Fighters began selling new tour merchandise rebranding the band's North American tour as the Broken Leg Tour. Grohl later lent his throne to Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses after Rose suffered a similar injury on April 1, 2016, the band's first show with Slash and Duff McKagan in nearly 20 years.
On July 31, 2015, Grohl posted a personal reply to Fabio Zaffagnini, Marco Sabiu, and the 1,000 participants of the "Rockin' 1000" project in Cesena, Italy, thanking them for their combined performance of the Foo Fighters' song "Learn to Fly" from their 1999 album There Is Nothing Left to Lose, indicating (in broken Italian), "... I promise [the Foo Fighters will] see you soon". On November 3, the Foo Fighters performed in Cesena, where Grohl invited some "Rockin' 1000" members onto the stage to perform with the band.
On September 15, 2017, the Foo Fighters released their ninth studio album Concrete and Gold, which became the band's second album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200. After the Concrete and Gold Tour, Grohl announced that the band would be taking a break, although he already had ideas for the band's next album.
The band's tenth studio album, Medicine at Midnight, was originally planned for a 2020 release, but the album and its accompanying tour were delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The album was finally released on February 5, 2021, and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200.
Musical 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, the Ring Spiel Tour both opening for Watt and playing with Eddie Vedder as Watt's supporting band.
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 nickname 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 plagiarizing 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 45th Annual 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 "The Pick of Destiny", 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, later returning to play drums on 'The Idea of You' from their 2016 EP Not the Actual Events. 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 Annual 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 December 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 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.
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.
In 2012, following the departure of Joey Castillo from Queens of the Stone Age, Grohl performed on some tracks as drummer on their 2013 album ...Like Clockwork.
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.
Grohl delivered a keynote speech at the 2013 South by Southwest conference in Austin Texas, U.S. 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 said during the speech that Psy's "Gangnam Style" was one of his favorite songs of the past decade. He also referenced Edgar Winter's instrumental "Frankenstein" as the song that made him want to become a musician.
On November 6, 2013, 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 also produced Zac Brown Band's EP The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1.
Grohl also featured on drums for new indie hip-hop band RDGLDGRN. He worked with them closely on their EP. The group asked fellow Northern Virginia native Grohl, who was filming his Sound City documentary, to drum on "I Love Lamp". Grohl agreed and played drums for the entire record, with the exception of "Million Fans", which features a sampled breakbeat.
Grohl, a fan of theatrical Swedish metal band Ghost, produced their EP If You Have Ghost. He was also featured in a number of songs on the EP. Grohl played rhythm guitar for the song "If You Have Ghosts" (a cover of a Roky Erickson song), and drums on "I'm a Marionette" (an ABBA cover) as well as "Waiting for the Night" (a Depeche Mode cover). According to a member of Ghost, Grohl has appeared live in concert with the band wearing the same identity concealing outfit that the rest of the band usually wears.
In September, the all-star covers album by the Alice Cooper-led Hollywood Vampires supergroup was released and features Grohl playing drums on the medley "One/Jump Into the Fire".
Between August and November 2020, Grohl performed in an online drum battle with ten-year-old drummer and YouTube celebrity Nandi Bushell, who had challenged Grohl after previously covering songs from Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Grohl had previously been impressed by her talent and energy. After going back and forth with Bushell a few times, he jokingly conceded victory to her, and later wrote and performed a song in her honor. Later, after speaking to Bushell over a video chat, Grohl offered to have Bushell perform with the Foo Fighters on stage when they were next able to tour in the UK. The videos of the drum battle received tens of millions of views.
Grohl has been a musical guest on Saturday Night Live fourteen times since 1992, more than any other musician. He has appeared with Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures, Mick Jagger and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
He has also appeared in several sketches on SNL. On October 13, 2007, he performed in the SNL Digital Short People Getting Punched Just Before Eating. On February 6, 2010, he appeared as a middle-aged punk rock drummer reuniting the group "Crisis of Conformity" (fronted by Fred Armisen) after 25 years in a skit later on in the episode. On March 9, 2011, he appeared in the SNL Digital Short Helen Mirren's Magical Bosom and the sketch Bongo's Clown Room.
In August, 2000, Grohl voiced Daniel Dotson, an egotistical art instructor, in Is It Fall Yet?, the first of two film-length installments for MTV's animated series Daria.
In mid-2010, 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.
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".
On May 20, 2015, David Letterman selected Grohl and the Foo Fighters to play "Everlong" as the last musical guest on the final episode of Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman stated that he considered "Everlong" to be his favorite song and that he and the band were "joined at the hip" ever since the band canceled tour dates to play his first show back from heart bypass surgery at his request.
Grohl appeared in the 50th anniversary season of Sesame Street in February 2019.
On January 28, 2021, it was announced that the first authorised Dave Grohl documentary will be released via the new music TV channel, The Coda Collection. The documentary was released April 30, 2021, as What Drives Us.
Grohl directed the Foo Fighters music videos for "Monkey Wrench" (1997), "My Hero" (1998), "All My Life" (2002), "White Limo" (2011), and "Rope" (2011), as well as all the music videos from the Sonic Highways and Concrete and Gold era. Outside of Foo Fighters, he also filmed the music video for Soundgarden's "By Crooked Steps" (2014).
In 2013, Grohl produced and directed the documentary Sound City, about the history of the famed Sound City Studios recording studios in Van Nuys, Los Angeles. The film, Grohl's feature-length directorial debut, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Accompanying the release of Sonic Highways, Grohl directed an eight-part documentary miniseries of the same name that chronicles the album's development and recording across eight different American cities. It premiered on HBO on October 17, 2014.
Inspired by California Jam, to celebrate the release of Foo Fighters' ninth studio album Concrete and Gold and begin their North American tour, Cal Jam 17, a music festival curated by Grohl and Foo Fighters, was held from October 6–7, 2017 at Glen Helen Amphitheater, with 27,800 attendees, 3,100 campers, and nine arrests.
Cal Jam 18 was held October 5–6, 2018 in San Bernardino, California which featured the Foo Fighters and a Nirvana reunion.
Grohl plays a large number of guitars, but his two primary guitars are both based on the Gibson ES-335. His primary recording guitar is an original cherry red Gibson Trini Lopez Standard that he bought in the early 1990s because he liked the look of the diamond-shaped sound holes. He also has an original Pelham blue Trini Lopez from 1965 which he bought from a doctor in the UK. His primary stage guitar is his signature model Pelham Blue Gibson DG-335, which was designed by Gibson based on the Trini Lopez Standard specs, but in a different color and with a stop tailpiece instead of the Trini Lopez's trapeze tailpiece. He also has another signature guitar called the "Memphis Dave Grohl ES-335" in silver finish that is otherwise similar to the DG-335. His primary acoustic guitar is a black Elvis Presley model Gibson Dove.
Grohl's drum kit, as designed by Drum Workshop, features five different sized toms ranging from 5x8 inches to 16x18 inches, a 19-inch crash cymbal, two 20-inch crash cymbals, an 18-inch China cymbal, a 24-inch ride cymbal, and a standard kick drum, snare drum, and hi-hat.
Grohl married Jennifer Leigh Youngblood, a photographer from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in 1994 and later divorced in 1997, after separating in December 1996. On August 2, 2003, he married Jordyn Blum and they have three children: Violet Maye (born April 15, 2006), Harper Willow (born April 17, 2009), and Ophelia Saint (born August 1, 2014).
Advocacy, philanthropy and views
Grohl contributed to a 2009 anti-drug video for the BBC. In a 2008 interview, he said he had never taken cocaine, heroin or speed, and had stopped smoking cannabis and taking LSD at the age of 20. He said, "I've seen people die. It ain't easy being young, but that stuff doesn't make it any easier." He described himself as a coffee addict, and drinks on average six cups of coffee every morning. In 2009, he was admitted to a hospital with chest pains from a caffeine overdose.
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 the Foo Fighters album In Your Honor to be sent to them. 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 a Foo Fighters acoustic concert at the Sydney Opera House. Grohl wrote an instrumental piece for the meeting, which he pledged to include on the band's next album. The song, "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners", appears on Foo Fighters' 2007 release Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, and features Kaki King.
Grohl is an advocate for LGBT rights. He has worn a White Knot ribbon, a symbol of support for same-sex marriage, to various events; when questioned about the knot, he responded, "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 Nirvana performed at a benefit to raise money to fight Oregon Ballot Measure 9, which forbade governments in Oregon from promoting or facilitating homosexuality. Grohl has also participated in two counter-protests against the Westboro Baptist Church for their anti-gay stance, once by performing "Keep It Clean" on the back of a flatbed truck and most recently by Rickrolling them.
Grohl is an advocate for gun control. Shortly after the D.C. sniper attacks ended, Grohl stated in an interview that the attacks were "an indication of the direction the country's heading in if we don't get tougher with gun laws ... People need to realize that our country has to get tougher on gun laws, it just does, and I grew up in suburban Virginia going hunting in season. I grew up with a firearm myself. But I'd be willing to give it up, if everyone else would."
Grohl supported President Barack Obama, and performed "My Hero" in September at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Foo Fighters supported president Joe Biden, playing at the "Celebrating America" concert on the day of Biden's inauguration in 2021.
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.
Grohl's hometown of Warren, Ohio, unveiled gigantic 902 lb (409 kg) drumsticks in 2012 to honor him. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the massive pair broke 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.
On November 11, 2014, Grohl joined Bruce Springsteen and Zac Brown on stage at the Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. to support U.S. troops and veterans.
In 2000, while on tour with Foo Fighters in Australia, Grohl was arrested by Australian police while driving a scooter under the influence of alcohol 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 said, "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."
|1992||1991: The Year Punk Broke||Himself||Documentary|
|1996||The X-Files: "Pusher"||Man walking down hallway||uncredited cameo|
|2000||Is It Fall Yet?||Daniel Dotson||Voice only|
|2005||Classic Albums: Nirvana – Nevermind||Himself||Documentary|
|2006||Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny||Satan||Performed drums, vocals, guitar|
|2011||Foo Fighters: Back and Forth||Himself||Rockumentary|
|2012||See a Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould||Himself||Performed guitar, drums, vocals|
|2015||Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck||Himself (Archival Footage)||Documentary|
|2015||All Things Must Pass||Himself||Documentary|
|2020||Bill & Ted Face the Music||Himself||Cameo|
|1996||Space Ghost Coast to Coast||Himself|
|2006||The West Wing||Himself||Performed vocals and guitar|
|2013||Drunk History||Memphis Mafia|
|2013||The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange||Himself|
|2013||Chelsea Lately||Himself||Guest host|
|2016||Drunk History||American Congressman||Episode: "Hamilton"|
|2017||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Himself||Guest host|
|2019||Sesame Street||Himself||Performed vocals and guitar|
|2021||From Cradle To Stage||Host|
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