Wherever there is rock & roll, there is Dave Grohl. Or so it seems these days. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist-drummer has been multitasking like a madman: readying an upcoming best-of Nirvana disc with the unreleased track "You Know You're Right" (after resolving his legal disputes with Courtney Love); drumming on the new Queens of the Stone Age CD, Songs for the Deaf; twice recording the latest Foo Fighters album, One by One (read on for details); and spearheading Probot, a death-metal side project designed to liquefy eardrums on impact.
LISTEN2THIS Is there an album coming out this year with which you're not involved?
DAVE GROHL I heard the [new] Nirvana song on the radio, and a bit later I heard the Queens song, and straight after that I heard the Foo Fighters song, and I became a little concerned that people are going to consider me the Puff Daddy of rock & roll. I don't want that to happen. I don't want to be that guy. I'm just having fun, you know?
L2T How relieved are you that the wranglings over the Nirvana catalog have been resolved?
DG Well, I wasn't necessarily looking forward to going to court for three weeks. I don't have a nice suit, and I'm not about to get a haircut.
L2T What was it like hearing "You Know You're Right" again after all these years?
DG Weird.... It's definitely easier to listen to now. After a while, your scars heal a bit tougher. I mean, years went by where I didn't listen to it. Until we mixed it, I didn't even have a fuckin' copy of it. But it's easier now.
L2T What's the deal with the long-awaited boxed set of unreleased Nirvana material?
DG Yeah, we've been working on a boxed set for a long time and compiling a bunch of music that no one's ever heard. A lot of stuff that I've never heard. Before I joined, they did a lot of freaky basement recordings that are really exciting--you know, the kind of music that I would listen to. Most people know Nirvana just from Nevermind and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but at first it was really dissonant and noisy and punk rock.
L2T What exactly is Probot?
DG The most kick-ass death-metal compilation ever. I played all the music and invited guests to sing, so you've got your Lemmy from Motorhead, Cronos from Venom, Max from Sepultura, Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost, King Diamond, and Snake from Voivod. I always secretly wished I was in a death-metal band and now I kind of am, but it's more like that fuckin' Santana record than anything. That will come out next year.
L2T What was your agenda on the new Foo Fighters record?
DG Our last album was kind of subdued by our standards. This time, we wanted to capture the energy you feel playing live. We recorded it twice. The first time, we spent four months roping that frenetic energy in, keeping it from being too out of control, and we listened to it and decided that it was too in control, so we threw it away and rerecorded everything in about two weeks.
L2T As a teen in a cover band, you played a nursing home. What's it like rocking old people?
DG You have to rock them gently, like a little baby in your arms. You can't rightly give them a heavy dose of fucking "Welcome to the Jungle." You have to give them a little bit of "Time Is on My Side." That's what was the funniest--a bunch of fucking 13-year-old kids playing "Time Is on My Side" to people with oxygen tanks.
L2T Tell us one thing about your high school days that you'd never reveal in a national magazine.
DG I had a pink Polo windbreaker. I thought it was cool. I think the chicks did too--at the time, you had your Breakfast Club and your Pretty in Pink and I guess I fancied myself as the Duckie of our high school.
L2T What's the most ridiculous backstage demand you'll make on the upcoming Foo tour?
DG Contract riders are always excessive just so you get something. No one really brings you 72 clean white towels as demanded per the rider. But we ask for stinky cheese. It's not good for the vocal pipes, because if you eat a bunch of stinky cheese and jog on stage, you spit up milk balls for an hour and a half. But stinky cheese is one of those luxuries that life affords me. A nice bierkase or some esrom. I go for the Northern European softer, creamier cheeses.
L2T Is there a person you've always secretly dreamed of collaborating with?
DG I think me and Celine Dion could probably whip up a pretty tasty recipe...but, you know, that's just the careerist in me.