In Grohl We Trust: How Dave Grohl is Saving Rock and Roll

‘That’s one of the greatest things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.’

Courtney Standley, Editor-In-Chief

“That’s one great thing about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.” – Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl: Are You My Uncle?

     I first fell in love with the band, Foo Fighters, well before I could even crawl, let alone walk. For some reason, their record, Skin and Bones, was the one album my parents could play non-stop to get me to fall asleep or stop fussing. I was much too young to remember why, but there was something about Dave Grohl’s voice and his guitar playing on the song, “Razor,” made me feel safe. My parents are convinced it was because my mom was pregnant with me at the show, and they will forever be my favorite band. Especially this album. Perhaps I’ll even grace you all with my Top 10 Favorite Foo Fighter performances. But definitely check out my Spotify playlist at the end of this post entitled: Nirvana Walked So Foo Fighters Could Run.

 

 

     Then when I was old enough to stand, I saw Dave on my favorite TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba! I think this was the happiest day of my 2.5-year-old life. So my mom would start playing the band’s videos, and even as a young child, I couldn’t stop. I loved the sound, and the videos were like mini-movies that would make me laugh for hours.

The 3 year old me thinking I'd marry Dave Grohl one day.
Photo Courtesy of Nicole Standley

     

     By the time I was three, I was so used to seeing Dave on TV, that I actually thought we were related and called him, “Uncle Dave.” Which needlessly blew his mind the first time I ran up to talk to him yelling, “Uncle Dave! Uncle Dave! It’s me, Coco!” I’ll never forget the confused look on his face, but he was so great about it. He read me the children’s book, “Violet The Pilot,” and promised me that, “When you get older, have mom bring you to a show, and I’ll play the “Skin and Bones” song for you.” And guess what? He did. I’ve seen them perform live now about 8 or 9 times and even had the chance to cover and photograph one of their last shows before COVID. 

Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and Coco Standley
Photo courtesy of Nicole Standley

     But enough about that, I’m writing this article, because the other day, I was listening to Nirvana Unplugged, and for those who are unaware and just familiar with the shirts from Hot Topic and Smells Like Teen Spirit, I realized we’re in the midst of an era when streaming and extra-terrestrial radio like Sirius XM has taken over the radio waves. In the 1980s Video Killed the Radio Star, but now I wonder, will classic rock and roll cease to exist because of Spotify?

More importantly, WHO WILL SAVE ROCK AND ROLL?

 

Paging Mr. Grohl: A.K.A. Our Potential Savior and Rock Historian

     Well-loved by fans, respected by peers, and even our parents and grandparents, Dave Grohl has become what I would call the Patron Saint of Rock. Actions speak louder than words. We talk a lot about how rad Dave Grohl (I mean he did drum for one of the most influential bands of the 1990s,) and his band the Foo Fighters are, but this guy is single-handedly proving time and time again how he is saving rock and roll one day, and one idea, at a time, and he’s not afraid to try and everything. Failure is simply not in his vocabulary. Becoming the official historian of Rock and Roll is not a title that is easily bestowed upon experts let alone musicians. But Dave Grohl has a rightfully earned position. 

 

Here Are A Few Ways He’s Succeeded in Saving Rock and Roll:
Grohl made being a music fan fun again

     Between super-secret shows in L.A. where the bands left hints on their Twitter feed the day of the show, to pop up stores and randomly showing up for impromptu sets all over the nation for the Sonic Highways tour, no other band of this magnitude has ever done this before with the exception of Rolling Stones at the Fonda and Guns ‘N Roses at The Troubadour in L.A. The thrill reminded fans of the “good old days” when rock shows were fun and how they should be.

 

Promotional Footage Courtesy of Foo Fighters

 

The Kids Are Alright: He’s Archiving Music One City at a Time

     Dave Grohl, also known as “The nicest guy in rock,” is one of America’s greatest storytellers. In his HBO docu-series, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, Dave Grohl travels across the U.S. with his bandmates as he and local artists explore the history of American music with one-on-one interviews with music legends. During each visit, the band composes and performs a song inspired by what they’ve learned and legends of the area that influenced them with the songs being featured on the band’s Sonic Highways album. Hint: New Orleans is AMAZING. If you like music, then you are going to love how he produced and presented this rockumentary series. 

HBO Dave Grohl Sonic Highways
Promotional Footage Courtesy of HBO

 

The Kids Foos Are Alright

 

Foo Fighters: America's Favorite Rock Group
Promotional Footage Courtesy of NBC / SNL

 

Beat The Bots: Grohl Declared War on Scalpers for their North American Stadium Tour.
And it was brilliant.

     Foo Fighters publicly declared war on scalpers for their North American stadium tour by allowing fans to purchase tickets directly at the venue before offering them online. Those lucky enough to stand in line scored someone the best seats in the house and didn’t have to pay any additional Ticketmaster charges. Score! Thanks, Dave. Here I am standing in line and scored my tickets right from the Honda Center box office with friends.

 

Foo Fighters Fan Beat The Bots the Old Fashion Way By Standing In Line at the Venue's Box Office during the on-sale.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Standley

 

He Helped Save the Vinyl Album Industry by Promoting Record Store Day with a Free Foo Show

     Not once, but twice Dave Grohl brought the band to play full set free concerts inside small record stores in celebration of being this year’s Record Store Day Ambassador to promote their latest album, Wasting Light, and release one of their greatest releases to date: MEDIUM RARE.

 

 

     Our family and friends were fortunate enough to attend this super small gig at Fingerprints in Long Beach, CA and if you look close enough you can spot us. Hint…look for the Yankees hat and drumsticks!

 

No Collaborations are Off-Limits and Dave Grohl’s Birthday Party was Better Than Yours

 

DAVE GROHL B'DAY INVITE

     Yep, and we were there! Dave Grohl celebrated his birthday with an all-star concert at the Forum in Los Angeles featuring legendary artists in their own right. By doing this, he collectively joined forces to celebrate all types of genres playing each singer or musician’s songs as opposed to their own. Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction) – “Mountain Song” and The Stones mega-hit “Miss You,” Paul Stanley (KISS) – “Detroit Rock City” and “Do You Love Me?”, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and “I’m Eighteen,” crowd sing-a-long with Slash and Tenacious D led “Happy Birthday” with tens of thousands of balloons dropping from the ceiling followed by Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (my fave from the movie School of Rock,) Trombone Shorty Jammed, and most likely the biggest surprise of the might, the OG Diamond David Lee Roth belting out, “Panama” and “Ain’t Talking ’bout Love.”

      But for me it was bittersweet,  it was the last time I would see the late Lemmy Kilmister of Mötorhead, Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age), and Slash perform “Let It Rock” by Chuck Berry. Rest in Power, Lemmy, you were always so cool to me. The Foo’s played lots of their own songs like my jam, “Pretender,” and closed the night with Lemmy. “N.I.B.” with Zakk Wylde and also Wylde, formally of Black Sabbath, signing what my family grew up calling me, “Fairies Wear Boots,” and that was just about as special to me as getting to sit next to H.A.I.M. and Jeff Probst of Survivor at The Forum Club.  Dave made us laugh because when he said he wanted the biggest birthday ever, he said, “I called everyone he knew and asked them to perform. And then when I was done, I called everyone I DIDN’T know, but always wanted to play with and asked them to show up and play which they all did.” 

     Speaking of Grohl studio collaborations, I would say there are three that rank as my all-time favorites. The first being his personal relationship with the legendary Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney. If that’s not impressive, When I was very young, Dave drummed at The Grammy’s with Paul on The Beatles song, “I Saw Her Standing There.” And that was it for me. It’s a moment burned in my memory, and one I’ll never forget. I kept thinking, “Dave is drumming for a Beatle!” That’s so awesome! 

Thee Three Kings: Mantra

    But then this happened. Promise me when you are sad, and lonely, you will lie down close your eyes, silence your mind and listen to this. Allow yourself to: “Let Go, and Let GOD.” The second one of my favorite behind-the-scenes music sessions, Dave Grohl lays down a fierce drum track for the song, Mantra with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Both are two of my top musicians as well. I could listen to this on repeat and the fact is, I do. Frequently. It’s an instrumental that my mom got me in the habit of because it begins our day in a peaceful way, giving us a few minutes to reflect on what we are grateful for what I have in this world.


     

The third? (And trust when I say, there is no shortage of other artists I could rattle off,) Them Crooked Vultures. Foo Fighters may come off as the ultimate “garage band,” but when you can connect with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, then you’ve created magic. And that’s exactly what that record is.

 

Post Malone x Nirvana

     And finally, I’m about to toss you one curveball. I never thought I’d say this, but the silver lining of COVID, didn’t necessarily have to do with Dave producing it, or even having anything to do with it, but what I’m about to share with you clearly shows how influential Dave Grohl and Nirvana’s music is to modern-day music and the musicians we love now. If you were lucky enough to catch it, Post Malone and Travis Barker of Blink-182 (and my future ex-boyfriend,) paid tribute to their love of Nirvana by playing an entire set from “Posty’s Place,” and covered the greatest deep track Nirvana songs. They sounded so tight! Even Dave was blown away saying how honored he was, especially that Travis took over the kit. But the coolest part? Here’s where my music snobbery comes out. I know all too well I’m not perfect,  but when I see someone wearing a Nirvana tee, my first thought is, “Name three songs.” I know that’s so cringy of me and makes me sound like such a jerk, so I was skeptical. BUT…the coolest thing Post Malone did was the most Nirvana thing ever. He refused to add “Smells Like Teen Spirit” to the setlist! Now THAT was savage. Post, you earned major points in my book for that play. Plus, he ended up raising a whopping $7,055,175.00 for COVID relief.  The most chilling part? The unhung Warhol-looking portrait placed right behind Travis’s drum kit of Kurt Cobain.

 

Speaking of The Nicest Guy In Rock

     There are two (and I’m sure there are many more than two,) feel-good stories I’d like to share with you. In 2015, Fabio Zaffagnini and Marco Sabiu of Cesena, Italy posted a video asking drummers from around the world to join together to perform the Foo Fighters hit, “Learn to Fly.” To their surprise, they ended up in a field with one thousand drummers and called the project “Rockin’ 1000.” So what did Dave do? He was so touched, he responded to their viral video and recorded his own response to them in Italian thanking them for their performance, and promised them that the Foos would “see them real soon.” On November 3rd, the Foo Fighters kept their word and performed an entire set in Cesena, Italy where he invited some of the 1,000 drummers to join in playing with the band. This video is enough to bring tears to your eyes. 

 

 

But then this happened…And You MUST WATCH

     A few years later, after Dave had to postpone his tour after falling from the stage, breaking his leg, he toured a bit from his famous “throne” only to return to the shows he had to miss due to the injury. Around this time I caught the mini-doc, Wheels of Madness, of a fellow rock fan confined to a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop him from going to festivals. He would go alone, and meet new friends, and have a blast, but couldn’t wait to see the Foos. Well at the end of the documentary, we see the very next day, the fan at the Sziget Festival, where the Foos headlined, and Dave noticed the young man, hoisted up by other fans, crowd surfing. Obviously, during this touching moment, Dave and the band instructed the crowd to surf him to the front for the encore of “Everlong,” and watch from the stage.

 

Up In Arms

Wheels of Madness
Promotional Footage Courtesy of Wheels of Madness: Galfest

 

Dave [explicit] screaming to the crowd

“He’s the [bleeping] star of the show right there — that’s the [bleeping] star of the show. My man! My man!” Grohl called out. “I have a question: Do you wanna come up and watch the show from up here?… Bring that [bleep] up here!”

Dave’s the raddest in all the land, but we all know he has a mouth like a trucker. When the man and his wheelchair navigated their way to the stage by the tens of thousands of fans hoisting him overhead, Grohl hugged him, invited him to join them to take their final bow with the band and Dave even gave the guy his guitar for a final smash in true rockstar fashion.

 

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A post shared by Wheels of Madness (@galfestival)

Thank You, Dave Grohl

     From one music lover to another, you’ve reached generation after generation of fans and have introduced us to music we may not have ever known or even worse, ever given a chance. Thank you for years of dedication and working endlessly to keep music organic and authentic. Documenting everything we love, and everything we should know like Sound City, which I’ll save for another day, because that’s a very special way you’ve preserved the soul of Rock and Roll. You are more than just a respected drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, you are one of the most influential musicians of all time, and rock and roll will never die because of you. As you say, “The page is out of print, we are not permanent,” but we are thanks to you and your contribution to the world of music.

“I hope to grow up to inspire people just like every musician I grew up inspired by. Because I think that’s the deal — you look up to your heroes and you shouldn’t be intimidated by them; you should be inspired by them. Don’t look up at the poster on your wall and think, “[Explicit], I can never do that.“ Look at the poster on your wall and think, “[BLEEP], I’m going to do that!“ – Dave Grohl

 

Foo FIghters Pilots Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, and Nate Mendel in Learn to Fly Video

 

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