Dave Grohl: ‘I never imagined myself to be Freddie Mercury’

As Foo Fighters prepare to headline Reading and Leeds, Dave Grohl talks us through his landmark songs, from the ‘blood and guts’ of Nirvana to an anthem for a doomed election

Foo Fighters HQ is a warehouse in LA’s San Fernando Valley that acts as a temple to Dave Grohl. Every corridor is plastered with discs awarded to the bands he has put his stamp on: Foos, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Tenacious D, not to mention various other projects. There are awards from countries all over the world (and custom surfboards from Australia). The hangar in the back is home to fan-made flags and paraphernalia. Pinball machines are never far from reach; the wifi network is called “Suck It”; there is even a painted portrait of Grohl in a smoking jacket. The sofas are decorated with pillows that Grohl’s mum made out of old band T-shirts. “My mom asked me one day: ‘What are you gonna do with all your T-shirts in the attic? Can I make pillows outta them?’” he says, holding a Led Zeppelin one. “I thought: ‘Mom this is your second career.’ Could you fucking imagine?”

Grohl, now 50, spent his youth in Virginia before flying by the seat of his pants all over the US in the name of rock’n’roll. He lived in Washington DC and LA with hardcore band Scream. He spent time in Olympia, Washington and Seattle after joining Nirvana. His Foos duties saw him settle in LA. Today, in his studio’s control room, he sits opposite the sound desk that Nirvana’s landscape-changing Nevermind (1991) was made on. “This thing will outlive us all,” he says. It’s signed by Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, even Paul McCartney. Tacked to its left corner is a picture taken of Grohl’s drumkit. “Oh look!” he says, picking it up. “Here’s the only picture I have of recording Nevermind. Isn’t that funny? That’s all I got.” He’s joking, of course. It gave him everything …

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