Dave Grohl is 'The Evil Head'

NME 2003

One night isn't enough for Dave Grohl. Right now, sweeping through the foyer of the Knightsbridge Millenium Hotel surrounded by an entourage of evil Bill Baileys, he could do with at least four mouths. One to finish the interview he's doing on his mobile ("My favourite day of the week?" Thursday definitely!), one to introduce himself to a waiting NME (a handshake, a good natured shrug, "Yeah but Sundays are like the new Thursdays..."), one to order a coffee from the immaculate barman, and one to discuss with his deamon-bearded buddies the minutiae of decapitation.
  "I wish I could fucking pull my head off my body and let it rest for a while, because it never does," he sighs settling in for the NME interview approximately a third of a second after hanging up the last one. "it's funny because I was thinking about decapitation the other day and I wonder what happens. Does everythIng just shut down or are there pieces of you that actually keep going?"
  Well, the brain must continue working for an instant or two.
 "So where do you feel the pain? In the body or in the head?"
  Well, it's the brain that recognises pain, right?
  "So it'd just really hurt your head? Maybe the guillotine wasn't so brutal after all"
Anatomical philosopher, blissed-out newlywed, drumslinger for hire, the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Nirvana to be crowned a Nu Punk Deity and the cross-dressing Eddie Izzard of rock; there's simply not enough Dave Grohls to go round. If he was first in line for cloning he'd still be booked solid until 2032, as a quick roll call of his recent non-Foo hours on a hot drum stool reveals. Queens Of The Stone Age, Killing Joke ("That's like being knighted, being asked to play on a Killing Joke record"), Tenacious D, Cat Power, Arab Strap: all these albums rollock to El Grohlios infernal beat and we've only made one of them up. So will you come and drum on my single, Dave? It's like a sped up Pixies with a Dandy Warhols kinda cowboy vibe and big 1994 Boo Radleys 'Lazarus' horns on, it's gonna be huge.
  Dave consults the next 20 years of his mental enormo-diary. "Interesting. Well first of all, I usually only wind up in the studio with people I know.."
  OK, OK..you've twisted my arm. I'll cut you in for two per cent of the Vodafone deal.
  "Yeah, but really, The Boo Radleys?"he sneers. "I don't think I can make it."
Nicest Bloke In Rock, y'say? He'll never work in this town agai....

Too late. Load up on holy water, Foo fans, that distant rumble of death metal thunder is the mighty Probot army approaching. A scowling, slavering, 12-headed Cerberus of an album, the Probot project began life as seven horror metal instrumentals Dave conceived and recorded over four days in his Virginia in 2000 as a labour of love to the dark underground metal scene that spawned him. But, as most mad professors find when they leave such an evil project alone in a basement for three years, it grew tentacles.
  "I came up with this idea that I could approach different vocalists to sing on each song," Dave explains. "Vocalists that I truly love, people from bands I was really fuckin' in to when I was 15,16 years old. Venom or Trouble or the Obsessed or King Diamond or Motorhead or Sepultura, all of these bands I listened to a lot, and still do. So once we had the wish list of vocalists, personally I didn't think it was gonna work, I didn't think these people would agree to make a record with the 'Learn To Fly' guy. But one by one they accepted."
  'For All The Cows' this ain't. After an intro which sees a choir of evil monk trolls try to suck your brains out through your ears, we're flung deep into the pits of metal brimstone and left impaled up the jacksie on the spikes of Satan's riffage. Slowly the fake disguise of Nice Dave Grohl cracks to expose the real face beneath - the terrible charred bovine face of BEELZEBUB HIMSELF!!!
Or, actually, perhaps not.
  "I didn't write any lyrics," Dave says, soul unsmeared. "The whole thing was done by FedEx really. Some of the people I haven't even talked to! I'd give them no direction at all, they just did their thing and sent it back. I didn't put much thought into this thing. The best thing about Cronos was that he had written a few different songs for that track. He said one of them was about war, one of them was about sex and one of them was about Satan."
  Which one did he decide on?
  "I think he might've mixed them all together!"
Dave roars with laughter. "He took the evil road. Then 'Ice CQld Man' is about prehistoric man watching the Earth die. On 'Emerald Law' you've got Wino sing about these emerald tablets that hold the mystery of the cosmo. You've got King Diamond singing about creeping into your dreams and stealing your soul.They're aWesome. They're not the kind of lyrics you hear on BBC1 every day. lt's fuckin' interesting and fun and dirty as fuck, nasty and dirty. You can't imagine those guys slaughtering goats in honour of the Horned One, but getting wasted and getting laid, for sure.
  But after working with Tenacious D on their novelty prog rock album and dressing up as a girl in all your videos, will people see this as another outing for Comedy Dave?
  "Yeah, but it's not meant to be .It's always been there. Before Foo Fighters go to play a show I'll put on something old and heavy just to get it together. When I'm at home driving around I don't listen to The Carpenters, y'know. I've always had a love of aggressive music. I grew up a little pot head punk. I'd go to hardcore shows, skateboard around, smoke weed and listen to metal. I know people see me in videos as a comedian, but I'm not the clown all day in the jam room going,'(Goofy voice) Listen to this riff!"
riff!' (sings Bullseye theme)."
Have you heard The Darkness?
"I have heard The Darkness," says Dave, "and I've seen footage of them live, and more power to them. A rock band playing rock music, hell yeah! That's great! But do I truly, whole heartedly believe in it? Well, no. That, to me, seems a little silly. Apparently they're really serious about what they're doing but the difference between The Darkness and this is that this music was rooted in a real underground scene. And from the people we've chosen to play on the record to the label (Southern Lord), we've really contained everything within the true ethic."
  Still, to the average Foos fan, Probot will fit neatly into the current Culture Of Rock Parody alongside Tenacious D, Liam Lynch, The Darkness, Jet even...
Dave frowns thoughtfully. "I can't imagine that it would really fit. It's hard for me to think of it as some kind of parody because I'm in love with it and really believe it, y'know? Things have changed so much where we've entered into this world of parody and rock music has become cool and there's some sort of chic that I don't necessarily understand because to me this is the real deal."

Probot isn't the only Dark Side Of Dave that's swum to the surface of late: the Foo Fighters' latest video for 'Low' involved Dave and Jack Black stripping to kinky ladies' underwear in a truck stop motel room and simulating a gay transvestite sex orgy. This was all Mr Grohl's suggestion. The recently married allegedly heterosexual Mr Grohl, that is. Um, you're notgoirlg to turn out to be the new Elton John, are you?
  "Well, I've never had a gay experience," he grins. "I'm into the kinky thing, that's fun. But more than totally getting off on wearing a skirt, it's for comedy's sake. I don't think it'd seem as fun if other people couldn't witness the insanity. I probably wouldn't feel comfortable doing it by myself. But knowing that you're hamming it up fora camera and that people are gonna watch it and either be delighted or disgusted, that was the whole point.
"We edited so much stuff out of that video. Simulated cocaine, a massive black dildo that we stuck on the wall and batted around, smoking joints. Jesse, the director, went and made a fake porn that plays on the television behind us. Totally funny, but totally fake. There's real nudity but fake cum shots, a massive blast of Lubridenn. That's one of the reasons it didn't get shown. It was just fuckin' lotion! We tried to dean it up enough but even the edited version couldn't make it to MTV!"
  As a one-time lothario of the Hollywood scene who, frankly, put it about a bit in his time, do you have any advice for all these garage rock gonks ending up with A-list girlfriends?
  "Well, everyone's gotta do it once," Dave sniggers. "Just have fun 'cause it ain't gonna last. Get laid, take the Lear jet to Ibiza, take some E and have anal sex. I suppose there are exceptions where people truly fall in love and stay together for the rest of their lives. But that's one thing about dating actresses, that they're usually great actresses. But a lot of that garage shit is based on image and I don't buy it. That's the one problem I have with a lot of bands. If a band is so image-focused I have a hard time liking their music because it's irrelevant. If your band looks like the band from that movie Almost Famous, I'm not gonna like you. You could be the greatest rock band ever but fuckin' fire the stylist, put down the Song Remains The Same wig... it takes the focus away from the music, which should be the most important thing."
  Courtney's off the rails again; any hope for her?
  "I hope so. I have hope for everyone. The most important thing is that everyone get their lives together and be healthy and have long. happy existences. That's it."
  If there was a competition for the Nicest Man In Rock, would you win?
"No," Dave snaps, sternly. "You know who'd win? Brian May would win. He's just the nicest person you've ever met in your life! He's gentle and cordial and sweet and a fuckin' genius! He's really the nicest person I've ever met."
  Dave crosses his arms and nods decisively.
  "Brian May. He's just a real nice guy."
And in his eye, in the twitch of his mouth, a devil flickers.

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