The scene: Chiemsee Rocks Festival, Germany. The air-conditioned prefab room behind the open-air stage is small and feels crammed with only a fridge and a couch. Dave Grohl is due here any moment.
From 1990-‘94 he swung sticks for grunge icons Nirvana and the following year moved to front of stage with new band Foo Fighters. Now 42, Grohl is touring for “Wasting Light,” the seventh Foo Fighters album. It’s a long way from the rancid punk clubs of Washington D.C., where he began his career 25 years ago.
The door flies open. In comes a full-bearded man with a long black mane. “Hi, what’s up? They say there’s a damn storm approaching, but it’s going to be all right, I think.” Great. There are questions to be answered. Grohl says, “Let’s go!”
Dave, what is rock ’n’ roll?
Rock ’n’ roll is a reckless rebel spirit that comes from within. Rock ’n’ roll is not something you can wear like fashion. I know a lot of people who have rock ’n’ roll attitudes and don’t even like to play music.
"My first real rock ’n’ roll moment happened when I was 12 years old."
When did you first get infected with the rock bug?
The first time I really fell in love with rock music was when I was about seven or eight. I heard the song Frankenstein by The Edgar Winter Group. After that I learned to play guitar. My first real rock ’n’ roll moment happened when I was 12 years old. I saw the AC/DC movie “Let There Be Rock” in a cinema and listened to some of their music live. That was the first time I just wanted to explode!
You once said that you can tell in two seconds whether or not a person is a rocker. Last year you played for President Barack Obama at the White House. Important question: is the most powerful man on the planet a rocker?
[Laughs] I don’t know if he’s a rocker, but he definitely has soul. When he looks you in the eyes and shakes your hand, he just means it. I’ve met him a few times now, and every time I see him, he comes over and says, “Hey man, how are you doing?” He’s very informal and sincere.
If he asks, will you support him in his 2012 re-election bid?
Absolutely. He’s got the toughest job on earth. I would hate to hand the administration over to another party that is just focused on corporation, greed and money. You know, I’m a fun, peace-loving guy, but sometimes the right wing gets a little too selfish.
The current Foo Fighters album, "Wasting Light," is a big success. Why are Foo Fighters thriving in a music industry that is apparently collapsing?
I don’t know. Ask the president of our record company.
Dave, why are Foo--
Okay, I am the president of our record company [laughs]. I think it might be because we don’t really think about it too much. Business is not really our number one priority.
Check out the December issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands November 15) for more of the article. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.