David Eric "Dave" Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and film director, who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, main songwriter and founder of the band Foo Fighters. Prior to Foo Fighters, Grohl was the drummer for the grunge band Nirvana.
He is also the drummer and co-founder of the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Grohl has additionally written all the music and performed all the instruments for his short-lived side projects Late! and Probot, as well as being involved with Queens of the Stone Age numerous times throughout the past decade.
He has performed session work (as a drummer) for a variety of musicians, including Garbage, Killing Joke, Kristeen Young, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, The Prodigy, Slash, Iggy Pop, Juliette Lewis, Tenacious D, RDGLDGRN, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lemmy, Stevie Nicks, Zac Brown Band and Ghost.
Grohl was born in Warren, Ohio, the son of Virginia Jean (née Hanlon), a teacher, and James Harper Grohl, at the time a newswriter. He has Slovak, German, and Irish ancestry. When he was a child, Grohl's family moved from Warren, to Springfield, Virginia. When Grohl was six, his parents divorced, and Grohl grew up with his mother.
At the age of twelve, Grohl began learning to play guitar. Grohl grew tired of lessons and instead taught himself and eventually began playing in bands with friends. A year later, 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 in 1982 to see Naked Raygun at The Cubby Bear in Chicago when he was 13 years old. "From then on we were totally punk," Grohl explained. "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 played bits of songs by bands like the 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 marijuana use was affecting his grades. He stayed there two years, beginning with a repeat of 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 on guitar in a band called Freak Baby. While playing in Freak Baby, he taught himself to play drums. When Freak Baby kicked out its bass player, Grohl decided to switch to drums, and the new band called themselves Mission Impossible. During his developing years as a drummer, Grohl cited John Bonham as his greatest influence, and eventually had Bonham's three-circle logo tattooed on his wrist. Mission Impossible later rebranded themselves Fast before breaking up, after which Grohl joined the post-punk-influenced hardcore punk band Dain Bramage.
Many of Grohl's early influences were gained at the 9:30 club, a live music venue in Washington D.C.: "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 the age of seventeen, Grohl auditioned with local DC favorites Scream to fill the vacancy left by the departure of drummer Kent Stax. In order to be lined up for the audition, Grohl had lied about his age, claiming he was 20. To Grohl's surprise, the band asked him to join. After waffling for a brief period, Grohl accepted the offer. Grohl dropped out of high school in his junior year; he said, "I was seventeen 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 May 4, 1990 show 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".
While playing in Scream, Grohl became a fan of Melvins and eventually befriended the band. During a 1990 tour stop on the West Coast, The 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 following the departure of its bass player. Grohl called Osborne for advice, and the latter gave him the phone numbers of Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain, who invited Grohl to Seattle. Grohl subsequently auditioned for Nirvana, and soon joined them 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 major label interest based on the demos. Grohl spent the initial months with Nirvana traveling to various major labels as the band shopped for a deal, eventually signing with DGC Records. In the spring of 1991, the band entered the Sound City studio (see the movie Sound City, produced by Dave Grohl) to record the album.
Upon its release, Nevermind exceeded all expectations and became a massive success, catapulting the band to worldwide stardom. At the same time, Grohl was struggling with his status in the band. While his drumming style was a significant element in the band's success, Grohl saw himself as just another in a long line of drummers. Though Grohl had been writing songs for several years, he declined to introduce most of his songs to the band as he was in awe of Cobain's songs and didn't want to pollute the process. Instead, he compiled and recorded them himself, releasing 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 Dave Grohl's initial months in Seattle, Kurt Cobain overheard him working on a song called "Color Pictures of a Marigold", and the two ended up working on it. Grohl would later record the song for the Pocketwatch cassette. During the sessions for In Utero, he decided to re-record the song, and the band 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.
Nirvana (Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014.
Dave Grohl Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 1.