Drummer Boy

Elle, July 2007

Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl on the problem with stalkers.

Post-1994, Dave Grohl could have just marinated in his rock godhood, autographing copies of Nirvana's Nevermind and telling stories about what it really feels like to have Kurt Cobain dive into your drum kit. Instead, he started his own band, Foo Fighters, which has just released its sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Despite being 38—112 in rocker years—Grohl can still thrash like a teenager, but is he really, as rumored, the nicest guy in rock?

Dave ELLE: Please provide a snapshot of adolescent humiliation at the hands of a woman.

DAVE GROHL: In seventh grade, there was this gorgeous, angelic girl named Sandy who moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where I grew up. Within the first few weeks of school, I asked her to go steady. She said yes, and we'd meet at her locker after every period and give each other hickeys. After about two weeks, she said, "I'm new here; I don't want to get tied down," and dumped me.

ELLE: Was she, like, a 23-year-old seventh grader?

DG: Nah, but she did have the whole feathered hair, Jordache jeans, lip gloss look. So I played it cool and was like, "What­ever, baby, no big deal," but I was secretly heartbroken. That night I dreamed that I was playing guitar onstage in an arena, rocking ass in front of 20,000 people, and I looked down and saw Sandy crying because she made the biggest mistake of her life. And that dream's what got me into this rock 'n' roll thing.

ELLE: Since you've been both a drummer and a lead singer in a band, can you make any generalization about the types of women who go for one or the other?

DG: To women, drummers seem like these adorable, sexy Neanderthals, and lead singers seem mysterious and dangerous. So while the lead singers all want to be David Bowie, floating into parties and being the center of attention, it's the drummers who are in the corner doing keg stands and breaking tables. Usually it's the drummers who get the fun-loving ladies and the singers who get the nutcases.

ELLE: So have you evolved from Neanderthal to Bowie?

DG: Absolutely not. I'm a drummer, not a lead singer. I'm still the guy doing the keg stands.

ELLE: What do you reckon has been your gayest moment, when you've felt most drawn to another man?

DG: Probably hanging out with RuPaul backstage at Saturday Night Live when Nirvana played in 1993. He just made me want to cuddle.

ELLE: Have you ever had an unlikely crush, someone not conventionally beautiful but whom you somehow loved anyway?

DG: Oh, dude. I had the hugest crush on Sissy Spacek after see­ing Carrie. She was my ideal woman—beautiful, petite, and possessed.

ELLE: From the age of seven, you and your sister were pretty much raised by your mother. What's the angriest you ever saw your mom?

DG: When she found the bong under the driver's seat of her car. She was a teacher, so showing up to school with a bong in her car was real bad.

ELLE: Isn't taking the bong from the car Teenager 101 stuff?

DG: I know, but sometimes you're so stoned you just forget.

ELLE: What story could you tell me about you and a woman that would make me doubt your unofficial title of Nicest Guy in Rock?

DG: Gee whiz. When I first met my wife, we went out on a few dates and I decided that I wasn't ready for a serious relationship, so I just stopped calling. After three months, I had a revelation and called her back. She picked up the phone and said, "Oh, I never thought I'd hear from you again."

ELLE: Brutal stuff indeed. Who's the nicest woman in rock?

DG: Norah Jones. She played on our last record, and I was so surprised at how pleasant and normal she was for being such a musical genius.

ELLE: How about the meanest, most ornery woman in rock?

DG: Take a fuckin' guess.

ELLE: Hmm, I'm drawing a blank. But tell me: I'm considering embarking on a court battle with Courtney Love—I think she's stolen my look. Having gone through it, what's the most important piece of advice you could offer?

DG: Have a good lawyer and a sense of humor.

ELLE: When your wife talks about you to her friends, what do you think she complains about most?

DG: The fact that I'm virtually deaf. Any woman who's going to date a rock musician has to be prepared to repeat herself every 10 seconds. My wife asks me where we should go for dinner and it sounds like the schoolteacher from Charlie Brown.

ELLE: What's the most insane thing a female fan has ever done to you?

DG: There was a stalker who wanted to kill me. Does that count?

ELLE: Yeah, I think death threats qualify as crazy. Was any part of it exciting, in a rock 'n' roll rite-of-passage kind of way?

DG: I guess it was exciting that every time I pulled up to the gate of my house, I wondered if someone was going to jump out of the bush and stab me in the face.

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