There's no two ways about it. Dave Grohl is a music God.
He's been the drummer and lead singer in two legendary bands - Nirvana and Foo Fighters. How many other drummers can you name that have stepped out from behind their kit to achieve multi-platinum success at the mic, apart from, er, Phil Collins? But that bald tax-exile twerp hasn't just released a stunning double album called 'In Your Honor'. ZOO collared Dave to talk about rock therapy, Norah Jones and how he dreams of fixing his own car...
It's been a decade since the first Foo Fighters album. Did you think you would last that long?
I look at the band as an accident because it started life as a demo. I never thought I'd be sitting here, 10 years later, talking about a double album. But it seems like a natural evolution to me because it's just got bigger day by day. There are moments when you feel like you're a new band and you've just made your first album, and then there are moments when you feel like you're the oldest guy at the festival.
What would you do if you weren't in the Foo Fighters?
I don't know. I used to try and imagine life after this and I'm starting to think maybe there isn't any. Maybe this is just the life whether it's sitting around, talking about a double album, or showing up on the weekend in the studio we built, 20 years down the line, having a barbecue and recording some really bad ideas.
Will you really still be around in 20 years?
That's the kind of thing people used to ask us when we first started, and I remember at one point I said, "I'm going to stop when I'm 33." because that just seemed like a good time to stop. But now I think, why should it ever end? Going on tour is like going on a family vacation. So, why can't you do that for the rest of your life?
Most long-term rock'n'rollers are in therapy to help them cope with their warped sense of reality. Have you ever called for
I went to see a therapist in Seattle around the time Kurt died, and he said, "You don't live in the real world because you're always flying to places and playing music in front of all these people, which is just not reality." And I said, "Fuck you, man. Who the fuck are you to say that it's not reality? It's part of me, it's part of what I do. Why should that not be considered a reality?"
What did you think about Bush using your songs Times Like These and My Hero for his campaign?
When we heard that he was using our music at his rallies it was like being raped in the ass. It was not a good feeling.
Did you try to stop the war-mongering inbred?
I talked to my lawyer and we tried to send him a cease and desist order, something that said, "You're not allowed to use my fucking music" but there were loopholes. So then I thought, "What if we charge him a licensing fee, so that every time he uses our music he has to give six cents to the John Kerry campaign?" But apparently that wouldn't have worked either. So I thought the best way to show what I thought was to join the John Kerry campaign.
How did you feel when Bush won?
I was pissed off. We were all pretty confident that John Kerry was going to take it.
Do you feel, as an elder statesman of rock, that you have a responsibility to the music scene?
We're guilty of making happy-go-lucky pop songs, but now, more than ever, it's time for bands to concentrate on something that will actually make music last. We're not the band that's going to change the world, I understand that. We're doing it to create something that might open someone's head up rather than just getting the cash register going.
The lyrics on In Your Honour seem bleaker than previous Foo Fighters records. Why so morose?
On the acoustic record the lyrics took a turn to somewhere they'd never been before, but that was mostly inspired by the music. We'd write instrumentals first and come up with the song afterwards. The lyrics are usually inspired by the sound of the song and, so, with the acoustic record being stripped down and sometimes dark and moody, they influenced the way we wrote. I mean, if you've just broken up with your girlfriend and you want to drink your sorrows away you don't listen to a rock record, do you ? You want to put on something like Neil Young and soothe your pain.
Apart from the Foo Fighters you also play with Queens Of The stone Age. Are you a workaholic?
Well, if you don't consider it as work then it's not that big a deal. I imagine that everyone has something they like to do more than anything else - whether it's fucking, playing golf, doing cocaine or whatever - and if you can get your hands on it every day, then it's great. That's what it's like with music for me.
You've got Norah Jones singing on your new album. Isn't she a bit bland for you guys?
No, she's amazing! I know everybody thinks she's a weird choice for a Foo Fighters record but when you hear the song you'll understand. I didn't realise how talented she is until she came into the studio. She's a trained musician who has perfect pitch, timing and an incredible sense of arrangement. When you're in the same room as someone like that, even if she's sweet and modest, you can't help but be like, "Oh my God, she's a fucking genius!"
What's the appeal of collaborating with other artists?
Everyone has their different methods. Recording with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails is different from recording with Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age. It's great to poke your head into someone's life for a week and then go back to your own reality.
Who comes first, Dave Grohl the Foo Fighter, or playing supersub for other bands?
When we start working I don't go whoring myself out to 20 other people because the Foo Fighters are always my first priority.
Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
There are a thousand things I wish I knew how to do, and had the time to do - everything from having a family, to, "fuck, I wish I knew how to fix my own car."