The Seattle Times caught up with Dave’s Mother as part of their Mothers Day issue.
In the Springfield, Va., home where she raised her musician son, Virginia Grohl recalls the day the Foo Fighters frontman stopped a show in England to call her onstage. The weather was soggy, and she was wearing clunky rain boots.
She maneuvered toward him, so stunned she hardly recalls what was said.
But Dave Grohl’s words were published on a music news Web site. “When I say I owe it all to somebody, it has got to be this woman,” Dave Grohl told the crowd. It was not the first time he had gone public with his affection. “She’s the most incredible woman in the world,” he told a biographer.
Hearing this, Virginia Grohl offers that she and her son have been close since he was a boy playing soccer in the fields of a local elementary school, tearing up the backyard with his go-kart, slamming hockey pucks at the ice rink, latching onto his guitar.
For most of his childhood, she said, she worked as a high-school English teacher and raised him and his older sister, Lisa, in a tiny “box of a house” with one bathroom. The close quarters and being “kind of poor” brought them all together, she said. Virginia Grohl and their father had divorced.
When Dave was 17, she let him drop out of Annandale High School to tour in Europe with the band Scream.
She recalled: “I said, ‘Hallelujah. Go.’ Because, of all the things he’s done brilliantly in his life, school was never one of them.” He would learn more on tour in Europe, she decided, “than he’s going to get making excuses for why he didn’t read Chapter 7.”
Thus started Dave Grohl’s forward trajectory. He played drums for Scream and in 1990 moved on to Nirvana, the Seattle grunge band led by Kurt Cobain that became an international sensation.
Grohl formed the Foo Fighters in 1995, not long after Cobain committed suicide and Nirvana fell apart. In the past decade or so, the Foo Fighters have released a half-dozen albums and won several Grammys.
Since the birth of her granddaughter two years ago, her sense of parenthood has expanded, she said, reaching across to the next generation.
“I’m proud of so many things about him, only a few of which are music-related,” she said. “Now what I thrill to is the kind of father he is. It’s just the most amazing thing. And his wife, too. … We all start with nothing, with no book or advice, just fear. …
“And they have just done it so well.”