Considering he gets to hang with his idols all day, Dave Grohl has a pretty cool life.
Most recently, he’s been playing shows with his Sound City Players, featuring Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Cheap Trick‘s Rick Nielsen and Rick Springfield. His documentary, Sound City, features interviews with all of the above, as well as Neil Young, Tom Petty, producer Rick Rubin and Barry Manilow. And the film’s soundtrack features Nicks, Fogerty, Nielsen and even Paul McCartney.
Although Grohl comes from punk rock beginnings (before joining Nirvana, he played in D.C. hardcore band Scream, signed to Ian MacKaye’s Dischord Records), he’s been rolling with classic rockers for a while, despite being a generation or two younger. So we decided we’d go through his classic rock credentials and roll out the highlight reel.
He can hang with Beatles.
Remember Backbeat? It was the 1994 film about the pre-fame career of Liverpool’s most famous sons. The soundtrack featured songs from the Beatles repertoire from their days as a cover band, including “Money” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” played by an alt-rock all-star band including Mike Mills of R.E.M., Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and of course, Grohl. Years later, Grohl began a full-fledged bro-mance with McCartney that led to Sir Paul showing up in Sound City and writing “Cut Me Some Slack” with the surviving members of Nirvana. And let’s not forget all their on-stage jam sessions together, including the 2012 GRAMMYs.
He was almost a Heartbreaker.
Around the time that Nirvana dissolved following Kurt Cobain’s death, Tom Petty‘s longtime drummer Stan Lynch quit the Heartbreakers. Petty invited Grohl to join the band. Grohl sat in with the band on their performance on Saturday Night Live on November 19, 1994, but ultimately went on to form the Foo Fighters instead of sticking with Petty.
He can hang with metal’s most fearsome icons.
In 2000, Dave Grohl sang and played drums on Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi’s “Goodbye Lament” from his debut solo album, Iommi. In 2004, Grohl put together an album under the name Probot, featuring a number of metal legends including Lemmy of Motorhead. Grohl and Lemmy, along with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, later recorded (of all things) a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Run, Rudolph Run” for the 2008 album We Wish You A Metal Xmas. Dave later paid Lemmy respect by appearing in the 2011 documentary, Lemmy: 49% Motherf***er, 51% Son of a B****. That same year, Lemmy appeared in the Foo Fighters‘ music video for “White Limo.”
But he’s also down with Bowie.
The Foo Fighters backed up David Bowie at his 50th birthday concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1997, performing “Hallo Spaceboy.” In 2000, Grohl, guested on “Jewel” by Bowie’s guitarist Reeves Gabrels (the track also features Frank Black of the Pixies and Bowie himself). At the time, Gabrels told MTV News that Grohl had suggested putting together a supergroup, though that never happened with that particular combo. But Grohl did have supergroups in his future, and he did guest on David Bowie’s 2002 Heathen album, playing guitar on “I’ve Been Waiting For You” (a Neil Young cover: bonus classic rock points!).
Well, not really, but he did play the evil one in Tenacious D‘s 2001 song “Tribute” and again in their ill-fated film 2006 film The Pick Of Destiny. Not actually a classic rock moment, but how very ’70s heavy metal of him.
Again, not really. But he has jammed with the surviving members of Queen on various occasions, including at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. More classic rock bonus points: Queen’s Brian May played guitar on the Foo Fighters’ cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” from 2000’s Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack.
He even likes soft-rock!
As previously mentioned, Dave interviewed both Barry Manilow and Rick Springfield for Sound City, and jammed with Springfield on the soundtrack (and on the road). But in the ’90s, Grohl had the balls to cover Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 smash “Baker Street.” And, by the way, it rocks.
Oh, yeah, and the Zeppelin thing.
Grohl is a Led Zeppelin fan done good: He has not one, but three tattoos of John Bonham’s three-circle symbol from the Zeppelin IV album. Apparently, it made for a bit of an uncomfortable moment when he first met Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, as he interviewed them for Raygun magazine when they were promoting their Walking Into Clarksdale album in 1998. Kinda like if you interviewed William Shatner and you had a Spock tattoo. But in the years since, he’s jammed with Page and John Paul Jones, who joined the Foos onstage in June of 2008, at Wembley Stadium in London to perform “Rock and Roll” and “Ramble On.”
Speaking of JPJ, Grohl has had the honor of calling the man “bandmate” – the two of them were in Them Crooked Vultures together – which Dave told Radio.com was “one of the highlights of [his] life.” And of course, the Foos performed for Page, Plant and Jones (and President Obama) at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony last year.