After a broken leg forced him to pull out of Glastonbury, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl made a spectacular live return atop a giant throne. Here he talks to Q about heavy—metal rehab and whether they’ll headline the festival next year.
Hello, Dave, how’s the leg?
The Leg is doing ﬁne, thanks. It’s a slow process, but every day it seems to feel a bit better. It's funny, ever since I started playing the drums my right calf muscle has been twice the size of my left from stomping the hell out of my kick drum pedal. Now it looks like a sad little chicken wing so I’ve been doing a little bit of my own rehab therapy lately, which is air drumming along to Zeppelin three times a day. Sports doctors, take note.
You’ve just announced three rescheduled UK shows for September...
When this whole mess went down, I was fucking gutted that we had to cancel shows. The UK has always been so good to us, and to play Wembley again was like a homecoming of sorts. I actually thought we could pull those shows off at ﬁrst, but my doctor strongly advised me to take it easy for at least a few weeks. To be honest, there was no fucking way on earth I could have done those gigs so soon after surgery. Just putting my foot down to the ﬂoor was one of the most painful things I'd ever experienced in my life. Even a trip to the kitchen was exhausting.
You’ve been performing from atop a giant laser-firing throne recently. You designed it while high on morphine, what — if anything— did you have in mind when you came up with it?
Knowing that I wouldn’t be up and racing around a stage for a while, I ﬁgured the only way to keep gigging was to sit with my leg elevated. But nobody wants to see a dude on a fucking stool screaming his balls off every night, so I drew this hilariously amateur picture of a chair with lights, lasers and guitar necks shooting out of it and sent it to my lighting designer, Dan Hadley. Within hours I had a mock-up of what we’re using now. It kind of snowballed into this Parliament/Funkadelic UFO crossed with a Game Of Thrones—type thing. For a band that has never relied too much on production or used pyro and shit like that, this has been a whole fuckload of fun.
Your live return was at a gig to mark the 20th anniversary of the Foo Fighters. In the last two decades you’ve met, played with and worked with most of your heroes. Is there anything left you’d like to tick off your bucket list?
My bucket list is so short these days I call it my “fuckit” list. You know who I look forward to jamming with the most? My kids. I can only hope that I have my own little Haim to jam with someday. Though I’m probably the last person they'd want to be their drummer!
Have you been in contact with Florence + The Machine since they stepped up to take your Friday night Glastonbury slot?
Oh man, we met ages ago and immediately hit it off. So I was totally looking forward to playing with them at Glastonbury. When we cancelled and they were searching for a replacement I prayed they’d just move them to the top of the bill because they fucking deserve to be there. I was so excited when they announced they would, I emailed Florence [Welch] to congratulate her. She gave me great advice for healing broken bones [Florence broke her foot onstage at Coachella recently] and said they we’re going to cover Times Like These. The day after the gig, someone sent me a link to the performance and I cried like a fucking baby. It melted my fucking heart. I am forever indebted to them. It meant so much, you have no idea.
Will you be playing Glastonbury next year?
All of those stories about me talking to Michael Eavis are complete bullshit. I’ve never spoken to, met, or even contacted him in my life. I sent one email to Emily and her husband, apologising for missing the event, and she invited me to come back someday, even just to camp out and watch the show for the weekend. I read all of those articles saying we conﬁrmed for next year and just laughed. Total fucking bullshit. Of course, I’d love to come back and play Glastonbury! But don‘t believe everything that you read, kids...
How have you been killing time during your recuperation? Have you written any new songs?
You know how I’ve been killing time? Crawling around on my butt packing suitcases and trying to get in and out of baths and doing boring rehab exercises every few hours. If I were to write an album now it would be a frustrated, depressing mess. Keep that guitar away from me!