This weekend Foo Fighters will play two of the biggest gigs of their careers. The pressure's on because they know how vital their performance at the Reading and Leeds festivals will be. Reading, in particular, means a lot to Dave Grohl. It was here that his old band Nirvana played what has become known as their greatest ever gig, in 1992. Three years later, Reading was where he broke the Foo Fighters to the UK, playing to a packed out tent that drew such a big crowd that people were climbing tent poles to get in. He knows how much this means and he wants it to be special. "Reading is an important place to me and to this band," agrees Dave Grohl. "In fact one of the reasons we decided not to do an entirely acoustic album was so that I could get messed up on Crown Royal whiskey and play Reading this year. It would have felt strange not to play here." The perfect opportunity then, to subject messrs Grohl, Hawkins, Shiflett and Mendel to our most fiendish interrogation technique. Gentlemen, come delve into Kerrang!'s Hat Of Doom...
CHRIS: "WHO HAD DOUBTS WHEN DAVE SAID
HE WANTED TO DO AN ACOUSTIC ALBUM?
TAYLOR, WERE YOU SHITTING IT THAT YOU
MIGHT BE OUT OF A JOB?"
CHRIS: "Actually, I don't think Taylor was ever shitting it. He was happy to take a break!"
TAYLOR: "Really? I thought we all had serious doubts."
NATE: "To be honest, I figured we should just do it."
TAYLOR: "Oh. So it was only me, then. Thanks guys. I thought the whole thing would be something that just ended up as an EP."
NATE: "But Dave was yammering about it forever."
TAYLOR: "That's true. We had told everyone we were going to do an acoustic record, so I guess we had to do it. This is supposed to be a funny interview isn't it? Oh well, this isn't very funny. You'll get over it. I wasn't too scared, though - I talked to Dave about it and he said we'd build up the record with acoustic guitars and then add percussion. I would have been happy even it didn't have any drums on it. I was like, 'Great, I can't fuck this one up!' "I also got to sing a song on the record, too. I've been singing live a lot as well. I've been doing my Freddie Mercury vocal warm-ups with the crowd, which I thought was pretty cool until I saw fucking Chris Cornell doing it the other day. He's stolen my fucking style."
DAVE: "TELL US YOUR FAVOURITE JOKE"
DAVE: "I see you're punching in with the weighty questions here. Okay - why was six afraid of seven?"
CHRIS: "I dunno."
DAVE: "Because seven eight nine."
CHRIS: That's pretty awful Dave. Get a new favourite joke."
CHRIS: "WHO STARTS THE MOST FIGHTS?"
DAVE: "I don't know, Chris (sarcastically). Who does?"
CHRIS: "Well, it depends on how much I've had to drink..."
DAVE: "Does anyone start them or do they just happen?"
CHRIS: "Usually Taylor will start at Dave because he thinks he gave him a bad look during the set. Taylor's very sensitive."
DAVE: "I'm sure it probably looks that way sometimes. If I'm having a technical disaster onstage I always hope something will happen in the middle section of the song to cover me. If it doesn't happen I'll give Taylor a look like, 'Come on then...'. The problem is that he can't read my mind but I still walk offstage thinking, 'How could he possibly not have seen that?'."
CHRIS: "There are a few songs that we jam and sometimes it's perfect - everybody knows what's going to happen and everyone catches the mood. Sometimes it's a fucking train wreck..."
DAVE: "I don't think it's ever ground to a halt but it has turned into free-jazz once or twice, which is worse than a train wreck."
CHRIS: "If it starts going really badly then Taylor rips into a drum solo. Then we all just walk offstage."
DAVE: "We used to ask Chris to fire out a guitar solo in the middle of jams. Then we'd all walk offstage and leave him there on his own to see how he coped alone in the spotlight."
CHRIS: "Yeah, you fuckers. That was horrifying."
DAVE: "IF YOU ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAVE SEX
WITH A MALE ROCK STAR, WHO WOULD IT BE?"
CHRIS: "Nate Mendel."
DAVE: "No, he's got that hairy chest. It would get in the way."
TAYLOR: "Who's a pretty man? Hmmm. What kind of sex are we talking? Can it be just a hand-job?"
NATE: "You're just making it worse for yourself here."
TAYLOR: "You're right; maybe it is better to leave it vague. Who's the manliest man you can think of?"
NATE: "Really?You want to be on the bottom?"
TAYLOR: "No, I'd want to make someone manly feel like a little girl. What about Freddie Mercury? He might show you a good time, if he wasn't dead."
NATE: "He certainly would have made you feel at home in an odd environment. He'd say, 'Taylor, I know this might be a little odd for you but let me show you how it works.' I think we'd have to fight over him, Taylor."
TAYLOR: "You can keep him, I'll take Scott Weiland. He's skinny. I could fuck him prison-style all night."
DAVE: "I guess I'd have to go with Sting because, apparently, he can fuck all night."
CHRIS: "Really? Dude, if you're having sex with a male rock star do you really want it to go on all night?"
DAVE: "..Next question."
TAYLOR: "WHO HAS THE MOST DISGUSTING
NATE: "There's a few. The way Dave eats is pretty disgusting. He's always eating McDonald's and this wretched, greasy, gnarly shit."
DAVE: "Hey, Taylor's constant 'unit' grabbing isn't so brilliant."
TAYLOR: "Well, if you've got something going then you have to grab it. I like a good old tug every now and then. Goddamnit, you've got to check the situation every once in a while."
CHRIS: "WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF
DAVE HAD JOINED QUEENS OF THE STONE
AGE? NOW WE'RE GETTING DOWN TO THE
DAVE: "I'd probably have been kicked out already. Josh is quite the task master."
CHRIS: "I guess the Foo Fighters would have broken up and I'd be making lattes in Starbucks. I'd be like, 'I used to be in a big-assed band. Do you want whipped cream with that?'."
DAVE: "WHO'S GOT THE BIGGEST COCK?"
DAVE: "Taylor always talks about his dick like it's huge. Actually, thinking about it, I've seen Taylor's dick. He was in a coma at the time so I'm not sure it counts."
CHRIS: "That doesn't count because you can get quite puffy and bloated in that state so it would have been a false representation."
DAVE: "Well, they had to feed him somewhere."
CHRIS: "Actually Nate and I went swimming together recently with our babies and wives. When we were in the changing room I happened to notice that Nate's a pretty big guy. I was like, 'Wooahhh, shit. I'm gonna turn the other way'."
NATE: "We had a bit of a nude run in there didn't we? You've got nothing to be scared of. It's not like it's going to be anywhere near you at any point."
DAVE: "That's a hard question to answer, though, because who's gonna say, 'Oh, it's me. My cock's fucking huge!'."
TAYLOR: "NAME ONE THING ABOUT A FELLOW
BAND MEMBER THAT MAKES YOU JEALOUS?"
TAYLOR: "Nate's penis size!"
NATE: "Why is everyone talking about my cock? Either my penis is massive or all these guys have massive insecurity issues."
TAYLOR: "It is massive. It's like a baby's arm holding an apple!"
DAVE: "TELL. US SOMETHING ABOUT FOO
FIGHTERS THAT NO-ONE KNOWS:'
TAYLOR: "Nate is the genius behind everything we've ever done."
NATE: "Oh, you guys..."
DAVE: "That's tough because, thanks to the internet, we're a pretty well-documented band. What haven't we talked about? Tell you what, let's change that to what's the wildest rumour you've heard about yourself?"
CHRIS: "I know what mine was. Some journalist recently wrote in a magazine that I had been kicked out of the band. It even said who had replaced me."
DAVE: "That was a story I leaked. I wasn't sure how to tell you that you were fired so I called them. I thought, 'Hmmm, how do I break this to Chris? So I told that magazine instead!'. The most amazing rumour I heard was that I was fucking Christina Aguilera. That was a good one. They were saying it on this radio station, so I called them up and told them, 'Fucking stop saying it, you bastards!'. I have met Christina Aguilera but I didn't fuck her. I wanted to but she's a little baby kid, so I couldn't do that.
CHRIS: "She's 'Dirrty', though."
DAVE: "WHO, IN THE PUBUC EYE DO YOU
DAVE: "Christina Aguilera! I hear she's 'Dirrty'.."
CHRIS: "Yeah, but you'd have to make sure Sting got off you first. He gets jealous."
NATE: "DAVE, YOU ONCE SAID YOU'D MAKE A
GREAT PORN STAR. WHAT WOULD YOU
DAVE: "Anal. Next question."
NATE: "WHATS THE GEEKIEST THING YOU'VE
EVER DONE, TAYLOR?"
TAYLOR: "Hang out with you, Nate. Actually, when I joined the band, Nate was like, 'Oh my God. You got that guy in. I don't know if I can handle him, he's such a fucking loudmouth, spazzy, dork' Come on Nate, admit it, that's what you said, isn't it?"
NATE: "What you just said was a perfect impression of exactly what I did at the time."
TAYLOR: "Who's your favourite person in the band now, then?"
NATE: "It could be you."
TAYLOR: "You know it is! Everyone else walks on eggshells around Nate. They're always saying, 'Oh, he's tired, he's doing his own thing. Leave him alone.' So I go up and tackle him, give him bear hugs and drag him around. He loves that."
NATE: "That's just Taylor's way."
TAYLOR: "I'm not gonna let him be all quiet. Not on my watch, pal."
NATE: "WHO'S THE BIGGEST ARSEHOLE IN
TAYLOR: "Someone has come into my head instantly but I'm not going to say his name because I'll get in trouble. I'll, just tell you what he does. This guy keeps making a fucking asshole of himself. He really thinks he's fucking great and he's always trying to be something he's not. He wants to look like a rock star so he keeps doing all this stuff he thinks rock stars do because he hopes that people will think he's a big-shot. He thinks rock stars are rude, so he keeps people waiting for him; he travels by himself and has a separate entourage from the rest of the band. He's taken it all from some shit he read in a magazine when he was a kid. All he does is copy other people's moves. Another person who's an asshole is Fred Durst."
NATE: "You never hear a single nice thing about that guy."
DAVE: "HOW WOULD I DESCRIBE MYSELF ON A
DAVE: "Healthy white male, 36. Into Icelandic Schnapps and anal sex."
CHRIS: "We've had quite enough of that, Dave."
TAYLOR: "You know why Dave likes Iceland so much? Because he's fucking drunk the entire time he's there. He's always yelling, 'It's the best place in the world!'."
DAVE: "That's true, Right, getting back to the point. Into Icelandic Schnapps and anal sex. Loves long walks through muddy fields hunting for cider. Must have Venom on the first date. How lucky do I think I'll get with that? Not very. Unless it's with some metal-head guy."
CHRIS: "A metal-head guy, you and Sting would make an interesting threesome."
TAYLOR: "WHAT'S THE MOST IDIOTIC
PRACTICAL JOKE YOU'VE EVER PLAYED?"
TAYLOR: "Oh God. I completely tortured my drum- roadie Jon-Jon. I would take a shit in his little tool- case. He'd go into it and just freak out. That was so awful. I'd hear him screaming. From miles away, all you'd hear was, 'YOU FUCKER!'. He was a good sport, though - he did it back to me. But we completely fucked with him. Once, when we were in the backstage catering after a show, they had these massive bowls of pasta. The things were fucking huge and packed with spaghetti. Dave dared him to eat the lot in two minutes and said he'd give him all the daily money he was getting on the tour. Dave never spends that money, so it came to about $2000. Jon-Jon had spent all his daily money and the pay-cheque he was earning, too. So he was like, 'Oh my God, that's three months' rent. I'll do it!'. He just sat there and spooned a shit-load of food in. He did really well too - he only had two bites left when the time came up."
DAVE: "But there was still food on that plate so he didn't get any money. I can be mean."
NATE: "WHERE, APART FROM TAKING PART IN
THIS IDIOCY, WOULD YOU RATHER BE RIGHT
TAYLOR: "At home taking part in my own idiocy. What does that consist of? Watching TV and rubbing my balls."
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