Dave Grohl

Songs to Praise

Red Bulletin, April 2021

Last year was meant to be a big one for Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl. In spring, the LA-based drummer-turned-band-leader was set to release a new album, followed by a world tour. COVID-19 thwarted those plans, but Grohl didn't sit still - instead, he shared short biographical stories on Instagram to entertain fans, engaged in an epic online drumming battle with 10-year-old Zulu-British prodigy Nandi Bushell, and revisited the music of his youth, rediscovering songs he wishes he wrote. In celebration of the Foo Fighters' 10th studio album, Medicine at Midnight, finally being released, the 52-year-old reveals four of the songs that have inspired him - and made him envious that he didn't conceive them himself.

Kim Wilde - Kids in America (1981)
"Every punk-rock boy I knew was hopelessly in love with Kim Wilde, and so was I. That's why I recorded my own version of Kids in America. It was in the days before I joined Nirvana - maybe 1989 - and I did it on a whim. I was at my friend's basement studio and I said, 'Let me record this thing.' It's an iconic, anthemic song from the '80s, and I love it as much as I loved her!"

John Lennon - Imagine (1971)
"I really wish that I had written Imagine, because it's such a beautiful song with a really timeless quality - the song just never sounds old. When I was young and I first started playing guitar - around the age of 10 or 11 years old - I would sit and strum along to [John Lennon's] records all day long. That's how I learned to play guitar - John was my teacher."

Bad Brains - Sailin' On (1982)
"Bad Brains were America's greatest hardcore punk-rock band in the '80s. They were from Washington, DC, and were the best live band I've ever seen in my life. I was in love with their music - it was so fast, so distorted, so dissonant. It made me want to drink a hundred beers and break windows. Now, if that's not a good enough reason why I wish it had been written by me..."

Patty & Mildred Hill - Happy Birthday to You (1893)
"I wish I had written Happy Birthday [to You], obviously, because I'd be making so much more money right now - it would be like owning the rights to pizza. And maybe it would get me some respect at home. I have one daughter who wants to be a musician, and two [others] who look at me like I'm a fucking janitor. They're like, 'Oh, that's Dad's job. Whatever!' Maybe one day..."

Words: Marcel Anders     Pic: Danny Clinch

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