Steve Lamacq interviewed Dave backstage at the Manchester Apollo which was broadcast live as part of Music Live 97.
Steve Lamacq That was the Buzzcocks. Dave Grohl joins us in the studio, any of those early Manchester punk bands that took your fancy?
Dave Grohl Buzzcocks definitely. I always loved Buzzcocks, when I was a kid just getting into punk rock I thought they were one of the greatest just because they had so much energy but still held true to pop roots. Y'know?
DG They just made the most beautiful pop songs about the most ridiculous things, like 'Orgasm Addict' and thins like that. We actually took 'em on tour. Nirvana had them come out and open up for us the last European tour we did. They were great. Awesome.
SL But where they what you expected? They've been going for so long, have they lost any energy?
DG Well I really didn't know what to expect. They sounded amazing and they still dressed the same (laughs) so it was kinda great. And the kids loved 'em. I remember the first show we played with them in Portugal and the kids were going wild. They were lighting fires in the crowd it was just mayhem.
SL What about later era Manchester bands like The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays, the late 80s stuff?
DG I never really listened to that kinda stuff. I kinda stuck with punk rock for the longest time. I never even realised these bands were so popular, they weren't really popular in the states. Happy Mondays - I don't even know if I know any Happy Mondays songs, I've heard some of Sean Ryder's Black Grape stuff and I thought that was pretty cool. Stone Roses I don't know that much about either, but we just did T.F.I Friday and The Seahorses were on. That was the guitar player?
SL Yeah, John Squire.
DG He's Amazing. He was incredible. I couldn't believe it because there aren't that many guitarists today that really step out and play guitar soulfully. I dunno, he's the closet thing to Jimmy Page.
SL I think some people are saying that over here, sometimes in a disparaging fashion. Because in the UK you mention Jimmy Page and some people people switch off imediately.
DG 'Whatever floats your boat!' that's what I always say. 'Whatever yanks your crank!'
SL What about reputation in terms of audience, do bands ever come back to America and say 'We played in this place - it's gonna be really hard work when you go there'?
DG Umm....well I know that the English audiences have always been much more receptive than a lot of other places. It always seems like there's the English audiences and the Japanese and they both kinda go nuts. In America we don't do the hop, y'know the thing where the crowd bounces up and down? They're just too stupid to realise that it's a great way to bounce around and have fun without beating the hell out of each other.
SL What is it in America, do they slam dance or something?
SL Knocking people over?
SL No, bouncing up and down on the spot just seemed to be something that came in at the end of the 80s, I don't know why. Crowd surfing, as well, we get a lot of here if you're the type of band that don't have a lot of security at the front and those big photographic pits that you can't actually dive over. Crowd surfing and stage diving are still quite big here actually.
DG That's good. I think it's a very healthy habit. (laughs)
SL There's a Sonic Youth video where they had a girl and a boy stage diving. I can't remember which, it was around Goo-era Sonic Youth
DG Yeah, it was Dirty Boots. Beautiful. A sort of punk rock, stage diving, love story.
SL A stage diving Romeo and Juliet
DG (laughs) Exactly, your right.
SL What about this tour so far?
DG We started in Cambridge. Our first night was an absolute nightmare, it was actually the first proper show we'd played since the Phoenix festival, so it was like 8 months or something like that. It was just a technical nightmare, my guitar kept cutting out and I'd never done this before but halfway through the first song I just threw down my guitar and ripped the mic off the stand and just kind of hit the Henry Rollins pose. (laughs) It was great though, really fun. The rest of the shows have been great, we played last night in Glasgow at Barrowlands and that's like one of the greatest places to play. And it's nice because we have a new drummer, Taylor, and he's really made his way into the band, within two shows it just clicked. And now we just rattle through the set, just: 1, 2, 3, 4 and we don't give anyone time to breathe and I've been screaming my brains out for the last four nights. It's a little harsh.
SL Do you have a certain routine before you go on stage?
DG Well, I definately have to eat at least 3 hours prior to the show, if I get any closer than 3 hours, well....I scream so much during the set and everytime you scream you squeeze your stomach and eventually you get this toothpaste tube effect where your just squeezing it and squeezing it and squeezing so much that last nights dinner starts coming up the top of your throat. (laughs) It's pretty foul. So I've hit the 3 hour mark.
SL What about the new songs from The Colour And The Shape how do they work into the set? Are they still evolving as you play them live?
DG Yeah they are, it's funny the new songs are so much more difficult to play. When I did the first album all the songs were so basic, as basic as basic could be. So when we did the new album we went in the studio with Gil Norton and he is a perfectionist, he loves things to be mechanical and spot on. So we spent a few months in the studio sitting down with a guitar in our lap just trying to get these songs right, so when it came to rehersal before this tour it was like; "Oh my god! I can't play this song standing up." And now we've gotta go on stage and bounce around.
SL Bring me a stool, I need to sit down for this one.
DG Yeah, but it's so nice because we have these 13 extra songs and the dynamic of the set is just so much.....it just works. We have heavier songs, we have more poppy sort of singalong, bouncy songs and the setlist just works it's way from beginning to end now. It just works.
SL And it's a good scream as well.
DG There's a lot of screaming going on. You'll hear it tonight I'm sure.
SL We're looking forward to it. Dave Grohl thank you very much for talking to us.
DG Thanks a lot.