Many of us who picked up musical instruments while young dreamed of one day being fortunate enough to play in a rock band that gained us fame and, of course, a ton of money. It is only a small percentage of such individuals who are able to live out that dream. Dave Grohl has not only been to the mountaintop of the music industry. Grohl has been part of two legendary bands. The legacy had by Nirvana is one that will live on for generations. Some diehard fans of the Foo Fighters may consider that band to be one of the greatest rock groups of its time.
You almost certainly know about Grohl’s time drumming and also singing for Nirvana. Odds are that even casual fans could name multiple songs associated with the Foo Fighters. You may, however, know very little about Grohl’s early years, and those who have not read up on Grohl probably could not name the first band that he played in before he became a worldwide star as a member of Nirvana. Grohl has certainly lived a fascinating life over the past several decades, and there is little reason to believe that he will be finished providing us with memorable music at any point in the near future.
15. His Parents Were Divorced
Dave Grohl was born in Warren, Ohio. Grohl’s mother was a teacher, and his father worked as a news writer. His parents divorced when he was young, and Grohl ultimately grew up living with his mother and his older sister following that divorce. Grohl first began playing guitar before he was a teenager, and it was clear even before his high school years that Grohl knew what he wanted to do with his life as an adult. Years before he became a representation for outcasts everywhere as a member of Nirvana, Grohl was a rather popular student who was able to rock out during school days.
14. He Was Class Vice President
It was when Grohl was attending Annandale’s Thomas Jefferson High School that Grohl was vice president of his freshman class. It has been said that Grohl played punk rock songs over the school’s intercom before he began his announcements per his VP duties. Grohl also, as one probably would have guessed, was involved with bands at the time. Dain Bramage and Freak Baby are two of the bands Grohl played in back in the day. Grohl’s days in student politics ended up being not much more than something mentioned during trivia contests, as he dropped out of high school. That decision worked out alright for Grohl.
13. Nirvana Wasn’t His First Major Band
Nirvana was not, in fact, the first “major” band that Grohl played in following his years in high school. The band Scream was formed in 1981, and Grohl linked up with the group in 1986. Grohl and Scream toured for several years, and Grohl is featured on several of the group’s albums. Those who are interested in seeing a young Dave Grohl perform with Scream can do so via websites such as YouTube. While the group is a little rough around the edges, one can see visions of the drummer who was, years after those videos were first recorded, about to become part of a worldwide sensation known as Nirvana.
12. How He Dealt With Kurt Cobain’s Death
The music world was heartbroken in April 1994 when it was learned that Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain had taken his own life via a single gunshot. As would many a musician who suffered such a personal and professional loss, Grohl dealt with the death of Cobain by recording his own music. Per David Kirby of the NY Times, Grohl recorded a 15-song tape following Cobain’s passing. The talented musician played all of the instruments and also sang all of the vocals himself. As great as Grohl was while with Nirvana, it was after the spring of 1994 when we all learned how special of an artist Grohl would become when outside of the shadow cast by that group.
11. Cobain Heard The First Foo Fighters Songs
Grohl fans who have read up on his days in Nirvana know that Grohl wrote and recorded his own music while he was with the band. The Nirvana drummer once talked about sharing some music that would later be recorded by the Foo Fighters with none other than Kurt Cobain. Cobain, per Mitchell Peters of Billboard.com, liked what he heard so much that he “kissed (Grohl) on the mouth” because he was so excited by what he heard. This, if nothing else, is a nice story between two people who were friends as well as bandmates during their brief time together.
10. He Gets Stage Fright
Grohl has been one of the most famous rock stars in the world since the 1990s, and he has played massive shows in front of literally thousands upon thousands of people. Being on stage is probably not all that big of a deal to Grohl anymore, right? Apparently not, according to David Fricke of Rolling Stone. In a story that Fricke wrote in the fall of 2014, he described how Grohl would get stage fright backstage leading up to a show. Any such nervousness that Grohl has felt doesn’t show, something those of us who have been lucky enough to see him play live can confirm to be true.
9. He Always Chews Gum On Stage
Chewing gum can provide plenty of benefits to a person. Gum freshens the breath, and it also provides moisture for the throat and the mouth. That second benefit, per Grohl’s own words, is why Grohl has been seen chewing gum while on stage during shows. One could also deduce that chewing gum could be a way for Grohl to deal with stage fright. Some people can find chewing gum as a way to release pressure before and during a stressful situation, such as playing a show in front of 80,000 screaming fans while at a football stadium. Then again, maybe Grohl really just likes the taste of gum.
8. He Has A Street Named After Him
Some rock stars and other celebrities have streets and highways named after them. In Warren, Ohio, one can take a journey down Dave Grohl Alley. Formerly a gross alley littered with garbage, the byway was ultimately converted into somewhat of a shrine to the famous musician after a police sergeant learned that Grohl was from Warren. The alley is covered with paintings and other murals, and it is also home to what have been called the “world’s longest drumsticks.” Grohl fans who are ever in the area should check the free attraction out if the opportunity arises.
7. The Beatles Are His Biggest Influence
You wouldn’t know it from listening to Nirvana’s music, but Grohl has stated on numerous occasions in the past that both he and Kurt Cobain were influenced by, among other groups, the Beatles. Grohl has credited the Beatles for “helping” him learn how to play music. Grohl also told Classic Rock Magazine back in 2009 that his favorite Beatles song is the soft ballad “Julia.” The song was written by John Lennon when the Beatles were on holiday in India. It is about Lennon’s mother who abandoned him when he was young and who was then killed when she was struck by a drunk-driver when Lennon was only 17 years old.
6. Led Zeppelin Helped Him Rehab His Leg
Some childhood dreams never completely die. That is even true for the person who has seemingly done it all during his legendary career. Grohl once talked about his love for Led Zeppelin as a youth, a passion that included Grohl wanting to play drums for the iconic rock band. That desire has apparently stuck with Grohl well into adulthood. Grohl suffered a broken leg in 2015, causing his right leg (the one he used to stomp on his drum kick pedal) to lose muscle. As a way to rehab that injury, Grohl, according to Luke Morgan Britton of NME.com, took up “air drumming along to Led Zeppelin three times a day.”
5. “Blackbird” is His Favorite Paul McCartney Song
While “Julia” may be Grohl’s favorite ever Beatles song, it is a different Beatles tune that it his favorite Paul McCartney song. Grohl told Q Magazine in 2010 that “Blackbird” tops the list of his favorite songs that are in the McCartney catalog. That should not be all that surprising, as Grohl has covered that legendary song in the past. Most recently, Grohl played a beautiful version of “Blackbird” at the 2016 Academy Awards. Grohl’s cover of the song off of The Beatles’ “White Album” was one of the highlights of this year’s edition of the Oscars.
4. He Believes In UFOs
Are you somebody who believes that we are not alone in the universe, and that we have been visited by beings operating unidentified flying objects? Dave Grohl is right there with you. Grohl talked about his fascination with UFOs during interviews back in 1995. While speaking with Billboard.com in August 2015, Grohl referred to himself as a “UFO fanatic.” During that same interview, Grohl stated that Neil deGrasse Tyson was a hero of his. Grohl also said that he could see himself as an “astrophysicist” in another life. We are happy Grohl chose to be a musician in this existence.
3. He Lives Drug Free
Kurt Cobain was a troubled soul, and his issues with drug use have been well-documented time and time again since he passed away in 1994. Grohl had an inside look at Cobain when Cobain was at his worst, and that seemingly had a deep impact on him that lasts to this day. According to James Lachno of The Telegraph, Grohl once said in an interview that he had never done cocaine or heroin. Grohl, who said in that same interview that he stopped smoking marijuana at the age of 20, apparently went back to weed at some point in 2014, but he told The Sun that vegging out and watching the Kardashians’ reality TV show ended that habit.
2. He Used His Grammy As A Doorstop
You are frustrated because your bedroom door won’t remain open. What do you do if you are unable or unwilling to produce a fix to the problem? You come up with a door stop. Grohl did exactly that, which would not be at all noteworthy had he not chosen a Grammy to keep the door from shutting. In time, Grohl did eventually decide to keep such awards on a shelf. In all fairness, though, Grohl has earned his fair share of trophies during his career. He could probably use one as a doorstop and another as a paperweight without noticing that they had gone missing.
1. Why He’s Known As “The Nicest Guy In Rock”
Take a spin around the ol’ Internet, and you will see that Dave Grohl has the reputation for being arguably “the nicest dude in rock and roll.” Lisa Respers France of CNN.com referred to Grohl as “the coolest” in a piece that was published in June 2015. Grohl is known to be a solid tipper (having reportedly tipped a waitress a thousand dollars after she was verbally abused by a customer), he has supported multiple charities in the past, and he has banned the act of fighting at his shows. There are, unfortunately, many stories of rock stars and celebrities being, for lack of a better word, jerks. Grohl is one of the good guys, and that makes him even more awesome.