A Life In The Day: Dave Grohl

Sunday Times, August 2017

The musician on male bonding, meeting heroes and mastering the barbecue

Dave Grohl, 48, grew up in Virginia and moved to Seattle in 1990 to play drums in the rock band Nirvana. After the suicide of the singer Kurt Cobain in 1994, Grohl formed his own band, Foo Fighters, switching to guitar and vocals. They have released eight studio albums and won 11 Grammys. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jordyn, 41, and three daughters, Violet, 11, Harper, 8, and Ophelia, 3.

I don't use an alarm clock; my body wakes me up at 5am every day, no matter what time I went to sleep. My closet has got 30 pairs of jeans, 30 flannel shirts and a bunch of stuff I never wear. I dress like a lumberjack, go downstairs, make coffee, check emails and wait for the stampede.

Our eldest daughters, Violet and Harper, turn on the TV or do the homework they didn't finish the night before while I make breakfast - bacon and eggs or buttermilk biscuits and smoothies - and my wife packs lunch. Once they're dressed, I take the girls to the bus stop. The important thing is to get them out the door with a smile and singing songs, from Prince to the SpongeBob record, which Harper still loves.

Sunday Times 2017

After the bus leaves I head back to hang out with Ophelia. You know, I'm still changing diapers at 48 years old. One kid wants her nose pierced, one is in diapers. It's all over the place. I can't imagine the teen years...

My office is upstairs. It's a makeshift studio and somewhere to hide. Before we start making a record, I'll record by myself. But on a working day, I'll head down to the studio in Hollywood at 10am. There may be one or two Foos, so we'll have coffee and a couple of smokes. The reason we've been a band so long is we enjoy each other's company. There's not a lot of brooding and torture going on. My favourite way to warm up for a gig is to have a whisky and walk onstage with tears rolling down my face from laughing so hard with the guys. It's the best.

I did a lot of cooking while we were making the new record. I specialise in slow-cook barbecue. My day was spent checking the temperature of the beef brisket, then running in and doing a vocal or a guitar track, checking the temperature again, getting the cornbread ready and making sauce. There's something to be said for recording studios that smell like your mother's Sunday roast - it puts everyone at ease.

In this job, I've been lucky to meet some of my heroes, such as Paul McCartney, who is now a friend. It's great when he comes over. The kids get that he's a Beatle, but not really. So their interaction is beautiful because they're not trying to act cool. There have been a few seminal gigs over the years. Glastonbury this year was up there. Another was when Nirvana made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. I got together with my old bandmates, Krist [Novoselic] and Pat [Smear, now with Foo Fighters], and guests including Joan Jett and Lorde, and we played those songs again - it sounded just like it did, but of course with one thing missing. We hadn't played a Nirvana set since Kurt died. Could we do that again? I don't know.

If I'm not recording, I'll pick Violet and Harper up from school at 3pm, take them horse riding and make dinner. I read Ophelia stories before bed. Then I talk with the older kids. We talk so long I forget they're meant to be sleeping.

Around 9.15pm, my wife and I might have a glass of wine. I love wine. I have a nice collection. But I know myself and once I open a bottle, it's going down the hatch. So I prefer to go to bed without a drink. Twenty years ago, we'd go on the road for three months and come home for three days. Now everyone has families we only stay on the road for a few weeks. Plus, we're getting old! Touring hurts a little more. So do the hangovers. That's why I mostly drink at work. Not a lot of people can say that.

Concrete and Gold, Foo Fighters' ninth studio album, is released on September 15


  • Best advice I was given: If you want your guests to think your cooking is delicious, starve them for hours first

  • Advice I'd give: Don't waste a big moment on fear. Enjoy it, because it's never going to happen again

  • What I wish I'd known: That LA traffic would be so unpredictable - it has made me late so many times. Nobody here works regular hours, because nobody has a real job

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