This blog started about the excellent Memphis Foo Fighters show I saw but ended up being a fangirl love letter to Dave Grohl. Sometimes that’s just how shit goes down. I’ll post my review of the show shortly.
When I posted pics from the Foo Fighters Memphis show, my friend Dustin commented: “Dave Grohl somehow sucked up most of the planet’s awesomeness.” He’s not wrong.
I’ve always been a fan of Foo Fighters music. It is universally known that Everlong and My Hero are two of the greatest songs to come out of the 1990’s angsty, alt-rock music scene – also known as Ali’s favorite time in music.
For me, Times Like These was the song that got me through my divorce. I listened to it on repeat daily while trying to figure out my life and what I needed to do to be happy again. I cried a lot of tears to that song. The line “I’m a little divided. Should I stay or runaway and leave it all behind?” gave me all the feels every time I heard it. Even now when I hear it, I still get all the feels, but for a different reason. It makes me realize how far I’ve come, how happy I am and that 11 years ago, I made the right choice for me.
Even though I loved the music, in all that time I hadn’t really dug into the band and their history. I knew Dave Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana. I watched enough MTV to know that he was a funny dude with a lot of charisma who loves him some F-bombs. But that was really it. It wasn’t until I got with mah boo that I learned more about him because he was such a fan.
The piece that got my attention and cemented my DGFANGIRL4LIFE status was his 2013 SXSW keynote speech. The highlights:
While all of those bullet points are pretty fucking awesome, the last one is what really struck a chord with me. In a world dominated by soulless, entitled Miley Cyruses and Kim Kardashians and Kanye Wests, all filled up with ego and pomp and circumstance, here’s an artist fighting for authenticity. And not just by giving this single speech. Every chance he gets to express this, he does. In interviews. In his music. In the movies and tv series he produces. All of it drives home this message of being true to yourself and creating things that have meaning and purpose and come from, as he puts it, “a place of truth.”
His art comes from within, and it’s always on his terms. I find that to be so incredibly inspiring.
It does help that he’s so charismatic when talking about it, too. His enthusiasm and his smile are infectious. He loves what he does, and he loves sharing it with people. And that makes the music… the product… so much more.
He’s also humble and thankful for all of the success he has. He sometimes gets really emotional during performances because he’s so overwhelmed by how big the band has gotten and how many people they are playing to. Call him the greatest drummer of our time and he will dismiss it with a an embarrassed look on his face, then follow it up with a statement about how bandmate Taylor Hawkins as the greatest.
On top of how passionate he is about his music, you need to see him talk about his family. That’s where you see him really light up. He’s got three beautiful daughters and a gorgeous wife that are everything to him. I’ve seen lots of show recaps where the family is off to the side of the stage watching the Foos do their thing, the kiddos rocking sweet pink headphones and jammin’ out. He’s also really close with his mom. He often thanks her for allowing him to drop out of school and follow his passion for music. He even brought her out on stage at their recent Wrigley Field show in Chicago to wish her a happy birthday and dote on her a bit.
Dave Grohl is an incredibly talented person who also happens to be an exceptional human being. He’s often referred to as the nicest guy in rock-n-roll. I have a firm belief that talent isn’t enough to achieve his level of success and career longevity. You have to be kind and gracious. I’ve read countless stories about cool shit he’s done for his fans. He’s done projects with legends like Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. He guests on other artists albums on a regular basis. He’s been inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Nirvana and will most likely be inducted again for Foo Fighters once they hit the 25-year mark in 2020. He was Dave Letterman’s musical guest on his last show because Foo Fighters are his favorite band and Everlong is his favorite song. He’s respected and revered in the music industry. Even if you aren’t a fan of his music, I just can’t imagine how you wouldn’t be a fan of the man.
Things you should watch to get inspired by Dave:
Sound City – This is an incredible documentary he wrote and directed about the history of the studio where Nirvana recorded Nevermind. Seriously cool piece of music history that has an outstanding soundtrack to go with. For nerd like me who loves pop culture history and documentaries, this is by far one of the most remarkable that I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched it several times and still pick up different things that I didn’t notice before.
Sonic Highways – His Emmy-winning HBO series that was inspired by the Sound City doc. He visited 8 cities and interviewed artists that contributed to the musical culture that developed in the area. He then wrote and recorded a song in each of those cities that reflected what he learned in his interviews and created the Foo Fighters Sonic Highways album from them.
Off Camera Interview. It’s a very subdued and introspective interview in comparison to most of the ones I see where he’s coffee’d up and talking 90 miles an hour. It’s an hour and a half long conversation between two people who love music and love talking about it.
Foo Fighters Back and Forth – The documentary about the band leading up to the making of their album Wasting Light recorded in Dave’s garage.
Check out these two Buzzfeed lists about Dave that I love:
The Dave Grohls of the world are who our kids should be looking up to. I know I have many WWDGD moments in my professional life. Times when I’m like – I shouldn’t say that, I may piss people off or its not my place… I think- why am I afraid? It’s the right thing to do and I shouldn’t be afraid to point it out and push for greatness. I legit think about all the Dave Grohl quotes and speeches and interviews I’ve seen and draw inspiration from them. It’s made a huge difference in my career. I’m getting where I want to go. I’m respected and looked up to. I push for great work and for what’s right. I’ve been called inspiring. And I feel really fucking good about that.
That’s what Dave does – inspires. He puts good things out into the world and pushes everyone just to be better.
Find your voice. Release your inner Dave Grohl. It will be life-changing. I promise.
Some day I will meet him and thank him for being exceptional in a sea of plastic mediocrity.