Hello Dave, last week it was rumoured online you had died.
"I know! I got a phone message from a friend saying, 'Er, I guess ... Jordyn [Grohl's wife] ... this is maybe ... for you. I'm so sorry to hear what happened.' I heard this message and went, 'What the fuck?'. They were leaving a message on my cell phone saying, 'I'm sorry Dave died.' That was weird, but I guess I've finally graduated to that status of being an internet rumour.lt weirded me out a bit, but it's stupid. I'm like a cockroach - don't worry, I'll be around for a long time."
NME wasn't convinced of your death, but to be on the safe side there was talk here of a memorial cover in the unlikely event it proved true.
"(Laughs.) Goddam it! See what you've got to do to make it in this town?"
Not only are you not dead, but you've announced an acoustic show in addition to your Hyde Park and Manchester gigs?
"We're going to do a few acoustic shows while we're there. That is kind of closer to the original idea, which was to come to each city, play a big rock show and then the next night play an acoustic gig that mirrored the concept of the record. Logistically, that was a nightmare, so we figured we'd get all the rock touring out of the way and then do the acoustic stuff. I didn't foresee any rock shows this year. I didn't think we'd do any, but Hyde Park was too much to say no to."
You played two festivals here last year, now you're doing your own.
"Someone from our management asked if we'd be interested in Hyde Park and I said, 'Yeah, but wait a second, isn't that huge?' They told me the capacity is 85,000 and I said, 'Dude, there is no fucking way we'll sell that many tickets!' But they convinced me if we sell 40,000 it's still a huge show, so I thought, 'Let's see what happens.' It's been great - we've been building our own festival where we get to pick the bands. First of all Queens Of The Stone Age have to play because they are my favourite band in the world. Then we thought it will be really great if we have a killer special guest, and somebody said, 'What about Motorhead?' I couldn't even fathom playing a gig with my favourite band of all time, but we called Lemmy and asked and he said, 'Sure.' It's going to be the favourite bill I've ever played on in my whole life. I can't imagine going on after Mot6rhead. Usually I listen to their CDs before we go onstage to psych myself up. Now I can just sit on the side of the stage, drink Jagermeister and see them for real."
Will you be tempted to do any guest spots?
"Well, whenever I see the Queens play, I always wish I was their drummer. There's no question about that, but Joey [Castillo] is such a great drummer it's nice just to be able to sit and watch your favourite band rather than be in them. It was fun to be in them, but it's more fun to have a drink in your hand and sing along. I'm going to get liquored up for our set, I'll be pickled."
Have you done much preparation for the acoustic show?
"We've been rehearsing for the last month in our studio, running through the album and doing acoustic versions of songs from other records. When we were making this album I really imagined the acoustic side of things to be the next step for the band. I imagined it opening doors we've never been through before and it leading to something completely different in our future. We went around, did all the rock touring - the best and biggest shows we've ever done - and that's turned into it's own monster, but I kept looking at my watch thinking, 'When are we gonna get around to this acoustic thing? I really want to know what it's like to sit down, play a gig and walk offstage having not broken a sweat, no pulled muscles, no hangover.' So I've really been waiting and looking forward to this for a while. It's nice to sit down and actually perform something beautiful that has a dynamic that we've never really explored live before. It's fucking great.
"The other night I played an acoustic show at a radio station festival here in Los Angeles - KROQ's Weenie Roast. It's this huge show they have every year. I got a call to see if I wanted to go down and playa couple of acoustic songs. The way they work the show, they have a revolving stage so when one band finishes, the stage turns and there's another band. You don't know who's next and they keep it moving for the whole show. Usually it's 12 of the most popular bands of the moment, so it was Chili Peppers, AFI, Rob Zombie - all these rock bands. I drove down with my wife, my mother and my kid in the car, acoustic guitar in the trunk, figuring I'm just going to play a couple of songs. Then they tell me I'm the surprise guest! I asked them, 'People don't know I'm here and I'm supposed to go on after AFI with just a fucking acoustic guitar? Are you fucking kidding me?' So I walked up to the stage, AFI were just finishing, and their side of the stage was just a wall of Iron Maiden amplifiers. Mine is just a fucking microphone! I stood on the stage, and as it started turning I really thought I'd get lynched. So I played the opening chords to 'Everlong' and the place went fucking berserk! Absolutely apeshit! It was great. I did four songs and the crowd sung along at the top of their lungs to 'Best Of You', 'My Hero', 'Times Like These' and 'Everlong'. It was moving man, but the coolest thing was breaking down the verses so it was so quiet that I swear you could hear people sniffle in the crowd! That's what it's all about. That's what I'm looking forward to, as I can't wait for people to hear acoustic interpretations of the older songs. I want to break it down so people are sat in their seats with goosebumps on their arms."
How come your Nirvana colleague Pat Smear Is rejoining Foo Fighters for the acoustic shows?
"Pat's back, it's fun! As we were putting this whole thing together we invited a few of our friends. A lot of the songs have more than two guitar parts so I started thinking, if there's a place in a song where we can build even bigger, we should. So rather then get someone we don't really know, let's get someone who's been in the band before. I'd been in touch with Pat, so I asked him and he said yes. Honestly it's like he never left.
"He's one of the greatest people I've ever met in my entire life, I remember when Kurt came to practice and said, 'Oh I've found our second guitar player,' so we asked 'who, and he said, 'It's Pat Smear from The Germs,' We couldn't believe he was still alive. I imagined, since he was in The Germs he'd be some beat-up junkie barely making it in Hollywood. He came to the first practice and I swear it was like a beacon of light. It completely lifted the mood and made it a happier place to be."
Speaking of Nirvana, Kurt Cobaln was voted Number One In NME's Heroes Issue. What do you make of that?
"Well, you know, Kurt inspired me a lot.I definitely fell in love with a whole new sense of music after having played with him. He was a great guy. He was one of the sweetest, most gentle people I've ever met. It still amazes me the outreach of what that band accomplished. I still run into people today who tell me if it wasn't for Nirvana they wouldn't have picked up their instrument, or if it wasn't for Nirvana they wouldn't have made it through high school. I think a lot of people consider - well, obviously - Kurt a hero and he was definitely an inspiration."
Is It true you're going out for lunch with Courtney Love - she told NME you two were speaking again?
"Nah, I haven't had lunch with her in a longtime!"
She said relations have thawed somewhat though.
"(Laughs, sarcastically.) Yeah! Next question! (Laughs.)"
So what's next for Foo Fighters?
"The summer is going to be our send-off. I don't know how much time we're taking off, or when we'll be back. These shows will definitely be the last shows for a while. We've always looked forward to taking a break, and usually our breaks are whittled down to nothing because we can't stand not making records. We always had the urge to make another album, but I think it might be time to go home and re-evaluate. You know what? Having said that, it will never fucking happen! I get two cups of coffee in me and I want to hit the road. But after doing something like Hyde Park, what are we going to do? We have to come back bigger and better. We've grown. Now we're selling 85,000 tickets in a park in the middle of town. It's hard for me to imagine anything getting better. That's a good feeling to have, but I'm going to fucking try to make it even huger. Not that I want to be the biggest band in the world, but I want to be the band that your band doesn't want to go on after!"
Do you have any ideas? Does the acoustic record mean you can now go in any direction you like?
"That's the thing that makes it so confusing. Usually when you have a string of rock records you think, 'Alright, let's make a rock record!' Now that we've split into two directions, we've hit this schizophrenic mark. We can do one of two things. We can make a beautiful, song-based album, or we can make the craziest, thrash-metal shit you've ever heard. I've asked the other guys in the band which one should we do. Who knows, maybe we'll make a folk record!"
Is it true you have a greatest hits album in the pipeline?
"Yeah, I think that's happening this fall. There's a greatest hits coming out, but there'll be some new music on it - two new tracks. They wanted the greatest hits to come out before 'In Your Honour'. I had to say, 'wait a second, I think we might have a couple more in us: It seemed a little premature."
So this is the end of chapter one?
"I definitely feel it there when my bones start creaking in the mornings. Usually I'm pretty good at imagining what comes next. This time, it's a puzzler. There's a thousand things I want to do musically, but what do I do with Foo Fighters? Who knows?"
What bands do you dig at the moment?
"I liked Arctic Monkeys a lot - I was into that record. I think it's really good. God, The Raconteurs' record is so fucking cool! I met Brendan Benson - he's a friend of my ex-wife - ages ago when he was doing demos in his bedroom. We made friends and his first solo album, 'One Mississippi', is such a fucking masterpiece. I was surprised He didn't become huge. I was convinced Brendan would be a star - he had so much talent. So when I heard he and Jack were getting together to make this record. I thought, 'Fuck, this going to be good!- The songs are wonderful. Brendan's a genius Jack's a genius - we actually asked them to play the Hyde Park gig. but they disn't want to as they were still getting their legs. but I'm really excited about that record. I know the Gnarls Barkley record has been huge over your way for a while, and it's just starting to blow up here, but that album - particularly the Violent Femmes cover 'Gone Daddy Gone' - is fucking great. Also - and this will sound ridiculous and will destroy any credibility I have in the rock world I'm sure - but I just discovered the Scissor Sisters record! I fucking love it. man! It's a fucking good record. I grew up listening to Motorhead and ABBA, so I can enjoy Scissor Sisters just as much as I can put on a Slayer record. I tell you man, those fucking songs are good!"
And, as their friend, you must be looking forward to Kaiser Chiefs' new album?
"Absolutely! You know what, I love drinking with those guys. Fuck their records, I just want to get drunk with them. I heard Ricky Wilson gotknocked over, is he OK?"
Yes, apparently his scissor kicks saved him.
"See, those rock moves come in handy. He's a martial artist!"
Finally, plugged in or acoustically, on a scale of one to 10, how much will Foo Fighters rock this summer?
"This one goes to 11, buddy! This summer is going to be a big one - absolutely."