Grohl With It

The Sun-Herald 2003

From Dubya to Courtney, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl has strong opinions.

Before Christmas, Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters band mates made a brief sortie across Europe to plug their latest album One By One and perform a handful of concerts. For the first time in his life, Grohl felt the chill of being an American abroad as his country talked belligerently about starting a war.

"It was one of the strangest tours I've ever done," said Grohl, half-asleep after being woken by Sunday Metro from an afternoon doze. "These days I think most Europeans see every American as a disciple of George Bush. [And] it's kind of true. Unfortunately, in the last year there's been this wave of nationalism on America's part that is a little unnerving.

"I'm very proud to be American, but I think the world has to understand not every American stands 100 per cent behind President Bush.

"I dropped out of high school; I'm not a pollie-sci [political-science] major. But it's tough when you go to order in a cafe in Paris and as you're asking for your croissant with coffee, the waiter is just picturing George Bush's face on yours. That's fucking grim."

While Grohl has taken to parodying Dubya Bush on stage between songs, you won't find him filling the next Foo Fighters album with state-of-the-nation addresses set to music.

I don't think people have to use their fame or their band as a platform to be political," he said. "I have a lot of respect for bands that do - whether it be Rage Against The Machine or Fugazi or even Atari Teenage Riot. But I've never felt compelled to share my political views. It's personal, like telling someone about your marriage. I get political when I get into the voting booth."

Aside from having a lend of his president, Grohl also used foreign crowds to hone his impression of Nickelback's hairy singer Chad Kroeger, who scored a worldwide solo hit with the tune Hero from the recent Spider-Man soundtrack. To many, Nickelback represent all that is unacceptable about modern rock. Grohl, however, declines our invitation to pay out on them.

"I have respect for any musician that has the balls to put their neck on the line," the former Nirvana drummer said, describing a manoeuvre that sounded awfully painful. "Just getting up on a stage and performing a song you've written from the heart takes a lot of courage. Who gives a shit whether I like Band A or Band B? More power to [Nickelback]. Hell, man, I make fun of everybody. I make fun of my girlfriend. It's all pretty hilarious to me."

In a neat twist Kroeger was last week nominated with Foo Fighters in the same Grammy category, Best Rock Song. Foo Fighters were also nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance. Grohl, who won his first Grammy in 2001 for the Foo Fighters album There Is Nothing Left To Lose is keen to add another couple to the list.

"I'm not big on collecting trophies," he said, "but it did make me feel pretty good [in 2001] to know the industry or your peers were acknowledging something that you made by hand in your basement between barbecues and basketball."

The day after our call Grohl was scheduled to appear in a new Foo Fighters video, the band's 12th. "We have to go out to some bridge in the middle of the desert on the way out to Las Vegas," explained Grohl, who has directed three of the group's previous clips. "I enjoy making videos, I take pleasure in all of it. Some of them are gratuitous, commercial wanks, but some of them can be like making a short film."

Foo Fighter fans were invited to join in as extras in the middle-of-nowhere shoot. "I can't wait to see how many people show up," Grohl said. "We need a couple of hundred."

And, being a man of the people, Grohl would ensure they were all paid Actors' Equity rates for the two-day shoot? "Ah, no, they'll probably just get a couple of bags of chips and a couple of sodas."

Having recently settled a festering court battle with Courtney Love, the widow of the late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, over the rights to Nirvana's recordings, Grohl said there had been an upswing in curiosity about Cobain and Nirvana.

Sunday Metro reminded him of an interview with British music paper Melody Maker from the mid-1990s in which Grohl said he expected to be asked about Cobain at least three times a day for the rest of his life.

"You know, when you're associated with something that so many people considered special you have to feel blessed," Grohl said. "You can't think of it as a curse. You have to feel like you were fortunate to be a part of something that touched so many. So, I never feel jinxed or anything like that, it's just a reality, something you have to live with."

And if he stumbled across Courtney Love in a bar, would he shout her a beer?

"Ah, probably, yeah. I mean, we're human beings and we're adults. A lot of the times the squabbling gets blown way out of proportion. People get into it because it's juicy. It makes for good copy."

Words:Peter Holmes

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