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Dave Grohl interview

FHM - 2/2000

The former Nirvana drummer - now Foo Fighters frontman - on weapons, hygiene and his bedroom stamina ...


You're no fan of Courtney Love - widow of your former Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain. Is your new song, Stacked Actors - featuring the line, "You're just another ageing drag queen," taking a pop at her?
Dave: Everyone thinks that. I think specifics are boring - it makes for a good line in a song. To me, it takes a stab at the majority of people who live in Hollywood. I haven't talked to Courtney in a while. Whenever there's a Nirvana business to be done, she's the third partner, so there's a conference call when things need to be discussed.

Are you civil?
Dave: I don't speak.

Does the Nirvana lolly still roll in?
Dave: Sure, we get cheques now and then - at least once or twice a year. And they're still pretty sizeable. Am I a rich man? Yeah. I just rented am apartment in New York so I had to go through my financial shit. And I'm very happy.

It must seem light years away from your early jobs as a schoolboy. What was the worst one you had?
Dave: I've worked in a nursery, as a stonemason - all kinds of shit. But the worst part was when I was working at a pizza parlour called Shaky's. That job fucking sucked. I was working the whole summer, working my ass off, smelling of pepperoni, just to buy my books for school. And I knew that I would eventually just fucking discard them all anyway. Was I hygienic? Well, I was 16, and I'm sure my hands had been in places the pizza lovers wouldn't want to know about.

Any other shit jobs?
Dave: I worked in Tower Records in Washington, DC. The other day I was doing a signing session at that very store when two women in their late thirties - typical American housewives - came over, said hi, and asked me if I'd like to go to dinner with them and then on to a concert. Then they gave me this invitation. On the top sheet it said the name of the band and the time they were playing, then you flip the page and there's the address and time they're going to dinner. d then there's a photo of them in men's suits ... with no shirts on, and their tits hanging out. It was kinda obvious they'd both breast-fed at one time or another because their nipples looked like old chewing gum. I kept the invitation but didn't go.

Do you have many mental fans? People disguising themselves to get close to you?
Dave: Not really, but when our drummer, Taylor, was playing in Alanis Morissette's band, some guy made his way backstage saying he was Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish. Everyone believed him until someone said, "Wait a minute, there's no-one in Hootie and the Blowfish called Hootie!"

A lot of your fans must seem disconcertingly young - ever feel like preaching to them?
Dave: Oh no. Let them figure it all out for themselves: get all fucked-up, drop out of school, catch a sexually-transmitted disease. I'm not one to preach to kids because I'd hate it for anyone to tell me not to experiment with things. I've never done cocaine or heroin - acid was my thing in my teens. I never fancied coke at all, because a friend of mine had a heart attack outside a 7 Eleven when he was 18 doing coke. So it's always been this evil, deadly drug - plus if I started doing it, I'm the kind of person that would just fucking blow every cent I had, to shove the world up my nose. I'm hyperactive enough.

What's your scariest memory of school?
Dave: Well, I went to Catholic school for two years and that's a pretty scary memory. Why did I go? Reform! I was a naughty boy - just didn't care about anything, really. One enduring memory of that school is getting really stoned and then sitting down and having to go through the whole morning praying thing. I was so high it kinda sent me into a panic attack.

As a fan of cheesy metallers Kiss, did you attend discos in Gene Simmons make-up?
Dave: No, I didn't attend many school discos after I was about 13. But the other night in Miami we played a show and it was an outdoor gig - about 10.000 people - and about three songs in I saw this one Gene Simmons face in the crowd. This dude was in full gear, so I said, "Get him up here, now!" and then security pulled him up. He was in the full kit - the wings, the platform boots, and he was a man, not a kid - and he sang the chorus to one of our songs with me. Then, he went to the side of the stage, came back out and started breathing fire - but he was such a scrub that he was just necking lighter fluid and flame-throwing by spitting it out into a lighter's flame. And then he started spitting blood and licking my neck.

What was your first tattoo?
Dave: I did it myself - it was supposed to be a band logo but I never finished it. I wanted to remove it after a month because it was ugly and I looked like a convict. Someone said I should get a wet towel, sprinkle salt on it and rub the tattoo with it. Which turned out to be a pretty cruel joke, because all I did was sit there grinding fucking salt into this tattoo which hurt like hell and only made it brighter.

Do you have any strange ones?
Dave: There's a tiny "X" in my elbow - my old best friend Larry Hinkle and I decided we would be "brothers" and both put these "X"'s on our elbows when we were about 12-years-old. But I completely forgot about it ... and then about eight years later I was sitting in traffic with my arm out of the window and I looked in the side mirror and saw this fucking "X" on my elbow. I was like, "What the hell is that?" It took me a couple of minutes to remember. Clearly, the stupidest tattoo I ever had.

As a former resident of Los Angeles, have you ever come face-to-face with car-jackers?
Dave: That's more likely to happen in [Washington] DC - near where I live now. I've never had any bad road rage experiences. I have seen it though, and I've chased people, too. If someone cuts me up I'll fucking chase 'em down as much as the next guy. Would I get physical? Yeah, if I was mad enough.

Do you have a weapon in the car?
Dave: Well ... yeah. Not a baseball bat, but I'm sure there's something in the back of my truck to smack someone with.

Have you ever come close to shitting yourself with fear?
Dave: Oh yes. We played one of the big UK festivals a few years ago, and we were backstage, knocking back a bottle of Scotch, and we decided to take one of these golf carts which were there for people to get around in. We were all so fucked that we drove through catering and proceeded to demolish all the outdoor lawn furniture, backing over chairs and doing as much damage as possible. Unfortunately, six fucking huge security guards caught me, lifted me out of the car and started questioning me. I really thought that this was the day I was gonna get pounded to shit by six men - and I did have a feeling that I might lose the contents of my bowels.

You once had a tiddly bit-part in an episode of The X-Files. Do you think you could pull off a porn film?
Dave: Oh yeah, I think so. I can keep it up for hours. The vibe? Just hard fucking!

Finally, you've shifted millions of albums with Nirvana, and millions of albums with the Foo Fighters. But when you're trying to get your own way in a restaurant is it, "I'm Dave Grohl!" Or, "I used to be in Nirvana!"
Dave: Ha! Well, the N-word gets a lot more fucking mileage than my own name. The other night I was in New York and I made a dinner reservation in my name. I showed up with my girlfriend and they asked who I was, so I said, "Dave Grohl".
And they said, "Oh, we thought you said David Groh," who was in this fucking American TV show called Rhoda in the 80's. So no, I'm afraid my name doesn't have too much pull at all ...


Interview by Mike Peake for the February 2000 issue of FHM magazine. Transcribed by Rasmus Holmen, January 28 2000 for NFC.