30 Minutes With... Dave Grohl

The Guardian, June 2017

Broken Legs! Muffins! The road to Worthy Farm has been fraught explains the Foo Fighters frontman

Hello, Dave. How are you?
I'm good. How are you?

Quite hot, to be honest, it's very warm here in the UK.
I'm in Latvia right now, but I read the other day that they are expecting the hottest Glastonbury ever (1). Is that even possible? I can't even imagine that! But I like it hot and sweaty, so I can't wait.

You're playing another six festivals before the end of June. Artists often talk about Glastonbury being special and magical - is that just something you tell journalists or is it real?
We cut our teeth playing festivals in the UK and Europe, but Glastonbury was one that escaped us - I think we were too busy playing the Reading festival every year for 12 years. Then we played it in 1998. The weather wasn't ideal, and our set coincided with some World Cup match. And I remember playing a festival in Denmark with Nirvana where they actually held our set because there was a football final with Denmark playing (2). Anyway, we were booked to play again in 2015 and all the interviews leading up to it were going: "This is your crowning achievement. This is the pinnacle of your career."

And then ...
I broke my fucking leg! (3) I watched Florence + the Machine do a version of Times Like These, and it was really emotional for me. Not only was it a beautiful gesture, but I just couldn't believe I was missing it for such a ridiculous reason. But now we're back! It's more than a gig. It's taken on more meaning than any gig we have ever done. It's personal. It's more than just a music festival; it's a beautiful gathering of human beings (4), who are all there for a beautiful reason.

Guardian 2017

Have you been walking particularly carefully in the past couple of weeks?
Well, these days, when I get close to the edge of the stage, I stop.

If you were in charge of the Sunday afternoon legends slot, who would you pick?
Well, just after my leg surgery. I was staying at the Grosvenor hotel in London and one afternoon my wife comes in and says: "You got the biggest muffin basket I've seen in my entire life!" And there's this assortment of muffins two metres high. There must have been 6,000 fucking muffins. The card said: "Sorry to hear about the leg, missing you at Glastonbury, get well soon, PTO." I thought: "Who the fuck is PTO? Is that a booking agent?" (5) I got a text an hour later saying: "Lionel Richie wants to know if you got the muffin basket." He was playing in the legends slot that year. I love Lionel Richie!

Yes, but have you got any inroads with Abba?
I don't think you'd get much bigger than Abba, but unfortunately they're not in my Rolodex.

Let's talk about someone who is in your Rolodex: Greg Kurstin (6).
I'll tell you what happened. Four years ago a song came on the radio called Again & Again, by The Bird and the Bee (7). I became obsessed. Three months later I was in Hawaii and I see the guy from The Bird and the Bee. I said: "I don't want to interrupt, but I'm such a huge fan and you're a genius." I asked about a new Bird and the Bee record and he said he had to finish producing Sia, Pink, Beyonce and Adele. I had no idea he was a producer too! Then, while Foo Fighters were taking our break - which was basically just us making a record in secret - I asked the guys what they thought about Greg Kurstin. I played them Adele, Sia and Beck, and the guys were like: "Are you sure?"

You should have played them Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. What a banger!
Yeah, right? I thought if we made the biggest-sounding Foo Fighters record sonically, but we incorporated Greg's sense of melody and composition, we could make something that sounds like Slayer making Pet Sounds. And the crazy thing is, we actually did what we set out to do. Nobody wants to say "this is the best album we've ever made", but when you hear it, you'll be surprised. It does not sound like something we've done before.

That's good news. Is there anything special we should keeping an eye out for at Glastonbury?
Oh, there's always something special up our sleeves. We only started talking about it a few days ago and I have my ideas. But things happen very last minute with us. Most of our ideas have been really spontaneous. We act on impulse.

Foo Fighters headline the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury on Saturday at 9.45pm (also live on BBC2).

Foo notes

(1) It probably won't be, but in 2010, 2,100 people were treated for sun-related idiocy on the Saturday night alone.

(2) The Danes' unlikely 2-0 win over Germany in the 1992 European Championship final. John Jensen scored a belter.

(3) Dave broke his leg after falling off stage in Sweden. He later performed on a throne last seen under the bottom of Axl Rose.

(4) Tell you what, Dave, pop back on site Monday morning and see how beautiful everyone's looking then.

(5) It means Please Turn Over, Dave.

(6) Somewhat incredibly, the new Foo Fighters album, Concrete and Gold, was produced by the man behind hits for Lily Allen, Kelly Clarkson and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

(7) Spoiler alert: this is Kurstin's own band, which features Inara George on vocals.

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