In 1990, a promising young band called Nirvana were on the hunt for a new drummer to play on their forthcoming album, Nevermind, when they invited former Scream member Dave Grohl to an audition. The rest as they say, is history.
Today (14 January), Grohl celebrates his 50th birthday, and fans are taking part in the festivities by sharing some of their favourite stories about the iconic Foo Fighters frontman.
Here are 10 of the best moments in his storied career.
1) Being a go-to album guest
Even with his status in one of the busiest and biggest rock bands in the world, Grohl always seems keen to offer out his services to a host of other projects. He has drummed on records with Killing Joke, Tenacious D, Garbage and on a number of tracks on Nine Inch Nails’ With Teeth.
His crowning guest performance, however, comes in his appearance behind the kit on Queens of the Stone Age’s ground-breaking record Songs for the Deaf. The album enjoyed widespread acclaim and received two Grammy nominations in 2003 and 2004 for Best Hard Rock Performance, for “No One Knows” and “Go With The Flow”, respectively.
2) Not letting a broken leg stop him from finishing a gig
Grohl is certainly not one for slacking off, and in 2015 he proved the lengths he would go to ensure the best show for Foo Fighters fans. At a concert in Stockholm, he broke his leg after falling off the stage during their second song. For most people, this would probably signal the end of the night, but Grohl is not most people.
The frontman was bandaged up and wheeled back on stage where he proceeded to complete the show – and the remainder of that part of the tour – before receiving surgery. On his return to Sweden, the band turned pranksters, getting a lookalike to pretend to fall off stage once again during their set.
3) Affirming his status as the clumsiest man in rock
If the leg break was not enough to make him watch his step, Grohl began 2019 with another tumble – this time in Las Vegas when a beer got the better of him. His attempt to chug a crowd member’s can of beer with no hands resulted in a spillage over one of the speakers, after which he just downed the entire thing. Grohl then jumped back up but lost his balance and plummeted backwards off it, sending parts of the stage crashing around him.
4) Headlining Glastonbury festival
Despite finishing dates across Europe with his broken leg, the surgery Grohl required ruled the Foos out of their original Glastonbury headline slot in 2015. The band were rightly invited back for the 2017 edition, joining fellow headliners Radiohead and Ed Sheeran. Watching their two hour set filled with their career-spanning anthems, it was hard to think of many other bands more suited more to a Saturday night headline slot at Worthy Farm.
5) Hosting a competition to have Foo Fighters play in a fan’s garage
In the opening week of their 2011 record Wasting Light, Foo Fighters launched a competition that would see them swap stadiums for the houses of their fans. Or, more specifically, their garages. Each of the eight winners, plus 50 of their closest friends, were able to hang out with the band and also watch them perform in a rare, intimate setting.
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6) Trolling the Westboro Baptist Church
Before a 2011 show in Kansas, it was revealed that a few noisy, unwanted guests (Westboro Baptist Church) would be in attendance to protest “the entertainment industry of this doomed nation” in front of the arena where Foo Fighters were scheduled to perform.
In response, the band dressed up as hillbillies and parked a stage to play in front of the protestors. After initially thinking it was a country band there to support them, the group were suitably irked after the Foos started to sing “hot man muffins” and they realised the joke was on them. After the success of this prank, Foo Fighters have continued to troll the church's supporters, and occasionally dabble in a spot of Rick-rolling as well.
7) Inviting victims of a mining accident for beers
In 2006, miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell were trapped underground in Tasmania for two weeks. After hearing that they were passing the time listening to Foo Fighters, Grohl offered them free tickets and invited them to meet him for beers next time the band played Australia. In typical Grohl fashion, the singer said: “I’m not just having one beer with these dudes – we’re going for it. This is going to be a big night.”
After the band’s performance at Sydney Opera house, Grohl enjoyed the beers with the miners ands even gave his word that a composition he wrote and dedicated to them would feature on their then-upcoming album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace.
8) Literally all of his cameos
Grohl is partial to an appearance on screen. He added yet another credential to his hefty drumming CV when he played Animool on the kit of Fozzie Bear’s muppet tribute band in The Muppets movie of 2011. Grohl also appeared as Satan in The Pick of Destiny, in which he challenges Tenacious D to a “rock-off” to save their lives.
9) Not being afraid to take the p**s out of himself
A huge part of Grohl’s compelling personality is his ability to see the fun in everything. The video for “Learn to Fly” is arguably the best evidence of this, where the band parodies the film Airplane! and Grohl wears a multitude of ridiculous outfits with the help of Tenacious D.
This was 1999, but he has carried this charming silliness with him throughout his career. After his leg break he shared a photo of his throne he designed when “high as a kite” for their next tour.
10) Mocking “VIPS”
Grohl also loves to mock those in loftier positions than others (literally). In a hilarious piece of on-stage banter, he rips into the box-seat attendees of his concert.
“Don’t make me make you do the f***ing wave,” he yelled. “Because I’ll do it. I’ll get a wave going, you rich motherf***ers in the box seats. Look at you. They own car dealerships and s**t up there. I know who you are, you’ve got a f***ing carpet cleaning company. I get it. You got tickets from the hockey team or some s**t, it’s all good,” he shouted to the VIPs.
“Just so you know, I’m going to rock your f***ing balls just as hard as these f***ing mother***ers. You can sit there eating your chicken fingers, but your a** is mine motherf***er. That’s just how I roll. Hope you got some f***ing ranch with that s**t!”
Happy Birthday, Dave.
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