Metal Hammer 1996
Has the atmosphere been like this every day?
Dave: "Well, sometimes it's really crazy. Like in Stockholm, after the show there were all these contest winners and things started getting out of hand. People started pulling our hair and trying to take pieces of our shirts and things like that. And then I walked away to do something, and when I came back into the dressing room Pat had invited them all up to the dressing room! I was just so worried that all my shit was going to be stolen! I was looking around like, 'Oh my God...' But it's usually pretty tame."
Why were you so reluctant to talk to the press
earlier this year?
Dave: "Because I didn't really, you know. When we first became a band, people wanted interviews right off the bat, and it was just so obvious that they wanted to talk about everything but the Foo Fighters. So I thought, 'Why don't you let us be a band for six months so we have something to talk about.' Like, at least let us go on an American tour!
"So then the first interview we did was for this CD-ROM magazine called Blender. It was an old friend of mine that I'd known since I was 14 years old, so that was nice, and I trusted him enough to do it. And then the next thing we did was Rolling Stone. That was scary, but it turned out pretty painless. Now it can be press every day. Sometimes, like this with us now, they're more like conversations, and that's relaxing and you actually feel like... But when: they're the same questions you've heard every day, you get a little more creative with the answer - you learn how to say the same thing like 500 different ways, you know? Or then doing interviews sometimes just feels like you're! in therapy, like I'm lying on a couch talking. Which can be healthy. But for Christ's sake, it can also be enough to drive you insane."
You seem remarkably cheerful under the
Dave: "Well, if you think about it, look at what we do. We go out and we play music for an hour and 15 minutes every night. And the thing' that I love to do the most is to play music. So being able to do this six nights out of a week is kind of a luxury."
It seems like a lot of hard work too.
Dave: "The travelling, the lack of nutrition, the lack of sleep, the lack of everything else, being away from home, those are the downsides. But it is a lot of fun."
Maybe you're not really happy. Maybe you're
just delirious due to sleep deprivation and
Dave: "Well yeah, kind of. But I mean it's like, I'm 26 years old, I get to do this for as long as I possibly can and then do something else. So right now I'm perfectly content with what's happening. I mean, if the circumstances were any different maybe it would be a different story, but right now everything is right. It's nice, yeah."
It makes a change to see a rock musician
smiling all the time.
Dave: "Well I've always been such a goof anyway! When I was a kid I was always a show-off and a little comedian for the family. I put on shows and shit like that."
Thinking back on Nirvana while watching you
perform now, it's hard to remember your
energy trapped behind a drum kit.
Dave: "Really? Wow! That's nice. I'm glad you said that. It's weird, because one of the coolest things about music is being able to jump around and dance to it. And playing drums is an extremely physical thing, but you're sitting down! And there's so many times when you just want to get up and jump around and you can't, and so you feel trapped behind this thing.
"For the last couple of years, I really felt that the music that Nirvana was making, I was so into it and I loved it so much that I just wanted to get up and jump around. And that's why I used to play drums so hard - because I couldn't get up, you know? It almost made me angry. So I thought like, 'Okay, well I'm just going to wear myself out. Every song. I want to make myself as tired as possible.' Sometimes I feel most comfortable when I'm totally exhausted. It freaks me out to have a lot of energy. Like, 'Oh my God! I have too much energy!' And I sort of try to run myself out..."
Random Fan: "I almost got crushed at Reading
and I ended up in the ambulance tent and
everything, but it was totally worth it. Will you
sign my poster?"
Dave: "Sure. Shit! Thank you for sacrificing yourself to our music! Wow, thanks a lot. But you're okay now? That's good. Let's shake hands. Thank you very much..."
You were here hours before the rest of the
band. Are you always practically the first
person to arrive at the venue?
Dave: "I'm sort of borderline hyperactive, and I have this obsession with punctuality; after being in bands for eight or ten years where everyone is always late, and if you say: 'Practice is at 5.00', then that means practice is at like 5.40. But then it gets to the point where I'd think like, 'Alright, they said practice was at 5.00, so I'll get there at like 5.20.' And I'm still the first one there! And then, because they know that I'll be there at 5.20, then that will give them until like 5.50. So it just keeps on going and going and going, until you don't practice until 8.00. But yeah, I think being on time is very important. If you have a responsibility, you should meet it."
It sounds like you had a proper upbringing.
Dave: "Not really! [laughs] I think it's just sort of the result of not doing that for 24 years! The last two years I decided, 'Okay, it's time to change.'"
How do you kill time on the bus?
Dave: "There's absolutely nothing to do on the bus. On this tour we've watched JFK every night - for about three weeks. The first night we watched it, it was like, 'Wow.' Then the second night we watched it, it was sort of funny. Then after about a week of it, it was this running joke. Everybody knows every line from it, and we started dressing up as characters."
Who got to put on a dress and be J. Edgar
Dave: "We didn't actually have any of the cool wardrobe, but we'd paint big eyebrows on us and wear a wig, stuff like that. So that was kind of cool."
Maybe you should get the video of Dangerous
Dave: "Yeah, right, something with really elaborate costumes. We'll get Caligula! But the bus is painfully boring. We usually eat, watch TV, smoke a cigarette, go to sleep - try to go to sleep. Get woken up just as you're falling asleep. Hot, cold, hot, cold - you're hot on the bus, then it gets freezing cold, then it gets really hot and you're sweating, you're freezing, you're sick."
And yet you're still cheerful.
Dave: "[laughs] I love it. It's so fucking great."
Isn't there anything you're sick and tired of?
Dave: "When we were in Amsterdam I was sick of hash! When we were in France I was sick of everything being so expensive. When we were in Germany I was sick of meat. I'm a total fucking carnivore. I eat like pounds of meat a day - three times a day. But it's like yeah, sure, I like a good steak or something; but a pig's heart? I'm not going to fucking eat that, you know?"
What about the UK?
Dave: "I haven't been here long enough. But my favourite meal in the world is the English breakfast. I love it with a passion."
Even the black pudding?
Dave: "[laughs] That is the one thing I don't eat! But even if I have a hangover, like if I've had like ten fucking pints of whatever, I'll wake up in the morning and have like four bangers, a fucking mountain of beans, fried eggs, fried toast... It's beautiful."
Pat's previous band, the Germs, was quite
influential in the punk days. Were you a fan?
Dave: "Oh, yeah. I wish I had been there."
Dave: "Fuck, yes!"
You don't think where you've been with
Nirvana was better?
Dave: "It's, well...no. Because you always want to be somewhere else, I suppose."
That was a tactful way of avoiding the real
Dave: "Ah-ha! See, I'm good at this. [laughs] My father was a campaign manager, speechwriter, PR man. I was born in Ohio, but then moved to Washington DC when I was about three. And my mother's a public-speaking teacher."
What useful tips did they pass on?
Dave: "My dad always said: 'Never get into a pissing match with someone who buys their ink by the barrel.' These are words to live by. My mom always just said: 'Enunciate!' [laughs]"
With all that preparation and training, what's
the most scandalous thing you'd admit to?
Dave: "I didn't go to bed until 4.00 last night. That's about as fucking scandalous as I get."
There must be something.
Dave: "Let me think... Okay, here's something good: I haven't smoked a joint in six years! I quit smoking pot six years ago. I'm a clean-teen, man! Which is so weird. I mean, I don't know why I stopped. I was such a burn-out. I was smoking all day long. My best friend was the bong. My friend Jimmy here - I've known Jimmy since he was a tot - me and Jimmy were bonded in pot; bonded by herb. We were. We both dropped out of high school and sat around and smoked pot - and listened to King Diamond all day! Well, first we were listening to Mercyful Fate, of course. Then we were into King Diamond. Hey, that's pretty fucking metal!"
What other music do you remember listening
to back then?
Dave: "A lot of good Celtic Frost stuff - we were always into that; Exodus - we were down with Exodus; the first Metallicas, the first Slayers; Exciter - we were down with Exciter."
Do you still listen to any of it?
Dave: "Fuck yes! I listen to it and I remember how great it was to smoke pot. What were some others... Savatage, the 'Power Of The Night' record..."
Dave: "Classic. Sabbath - keep spitting them out!"
Jimmy: "Exciter, Venom..."
Dave: "Venom, of course. [laughs] Venom! Jimmy and I actually went to see Cronos, his solo project."
Dave: "Early Overkill is cool. The Overkill/Slayer tour, we were there. It was cool."
Jimmy: "Armored Saint."
Dave: "I never really liked Armored Saint that much. What else do we like, Jim, of the fucking seven million CDs you have at home? Lawnmower Deth. That was good a few years ago. We were into that. We were early DRI fans; remember when they put out their 22- song 7-inch?
Do you still listen to any of those records?
Dave: "I used to clean my records with rubbing alcohol - like an idiot! So .like I'd clean them and they'd look really clean, and then the next day I'd look at them and they'd look like glazed doughnuts. So I'd take them into the sink and scrub them with a fucking sponge! So...they're all ruined. They're long gone; or the cat peed on them and I threw them away."
Jimmy: "You can't forget Judas Priest."
Dave: "Can't forget the Priest. Oh, God, the list goes on and on. Yep, we had the metal side to us."
This is not a side of you that comes out all
that often. Your music is more punk-pop
Dave: "Well, I was not a metal practitioner. I was an outsider. I was a layperson. My metal license - never got it. But there were a lot of good things about heavy metal."
Peter (tour manager): "It's time."
Dave: "Did anyone save me any food?"
Peter: "There's something on the bus."
Dave: It's not E. coli fucking Thai food, is it? I can tell it is."
Peter: "No, it's Indonesian food."
Dave: "Indonesian. Even better."
The security people have said that there's a
huge crowd waiting for you outside, and
they've asked you to leave through the kitchen
door for your own safety. Is that typical of
what you have to deal with?
Dave: "Usually. I guess usually it's pretty cool, but not always. So then, like tonight we sent Pat and Nate out first, as sort of a distraction."
Earlier you were talking about having your
clothes torn and everything in Stockholm. Do
you resent that aspect of being in a successful
Dave: "You know, in Nirvana we always used to send Kurt out first, as like a diversion. [laughs] I think it might be karma!"
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