Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl turns 50 years old on Monday (January 14th). Born in Warren, Ohio, Grohl grew up mainly in the Virginia area and started playing at a young age in several Washington, D.C., hardcore and punk bands, most notably Scream. While playing in Scream, Grohl became friends with Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne, who came to see the band play at a West Coast show in 1990 and brought his friends Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic from Nirvana.
Both were impressed with Grohl’s drumming, and Novoselic invited Grohl to come to Seattle and audition for the group. He joined in late 1990 and entered the studio with the band in the spring of 1991 to record its second album, Nevermind. The album, boosted by the anthemic single “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” became a worldwide phenomenon, opening the way for the grunge and modern alternative rock movements and making Nirvana into superstars. Grohl was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the band in 2014.
Following the death of Cobain and the end of Nirvana in April 1994, Grohl took a few months off to consider his next move. He ended up recording a 15-song demo, almost entirely by himself, that was released in July 1995 as the self-titled debut from Foo Fighters. Recruiting three other band members — the lineup would change a few times — Grohl took Foo Fighters on the road and launched the band’s own path to success.
Grohl told us a while back that he was nervous about becoming the lead singer in his own band: [“When the Foo Fighters started playing, it was scary, because singing upfront with a guitar in your hand and having everyone stare at you as the lead vocalist is a lot different than just chiming in backup vocals when you’re behind the drums. So I was nervous, and actually when recording the first Foo Fighters record, I had never belted it out in the studio before, so I didn’t know what my voice sounded like.”] SOUNDCUE (:21 OC: … voice sounded like.)
Foo Fighters has released a total of nine studio albums, including 1997’s The Colour And The Shape, the 2005 double set In Your Honor, 2011’s Wasting Light, 2014’s groundbreaking Sonic Highways and 2017’s Concrete And Gold. Five of the band’s albums have gone platinum or double platinum. The group has had 26 Top Ten singles at Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock radio, including Number One hits “Learn To Fly,” “All My Life,” “Best Of You,” “DOA,” “The Pretender,” “Long Road To Ruin,” “Rope,” “Walk” and “Run.”
Grohl has also branched into other areas of entertainment. He directed both a documentary about the legendary Sound City recording studios and all eight episodes of the HBO series that chronicled the making of Sonic Highways, while also occasionally subbing as a late night talk show host. But Grohl told us a while back that the latter job didn’t interest him: [“It’s funny because a lot of people ask, like, ‘Wow, you’re kind of a natural at that, you should do that.’ I’m like, ‘Why? I can fill a stadium in Australia — that’s fun!'”] SOUNDCUE (:09 OC: . . . Australia — that’s fun!’)
Grohl and the Foos are next scheduled to play at the Chris Cornell tribute concert in Los Angeles this Wednesday (January 16th), as well as a pre-Super Bowl event on February 2nd in Atlanta. The group has several other headlining and festival shows on its itinerary in 2019 as well, with a new album likely to arrive in 2020.
- In addition to leading Foo Fighters, Grohl has played drums on the road and/or in the studio for Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, Tenacious D, The Prodigy and a number of other acts.
- Grohl was married from 1993 to 1997 to photographer Jennifer Youngblood, and also dated Louise Post from Veruca Salt and Melissa Auf der Maur from Hole.
- He married Jordyn Blum in August of 2003. The couple have three daughters: 12-year-old Violet, nine-year-old Harper and four-year-old Ophelia.
- In 2012, Grohl was estimated to be the third wealthiest drummer in the world, behind Ringo Starr and Phil Collins, with a fortune of $260 million.
- Grohl dropped out of high school at the beginning of the 11th grade. He still does not know how to read sheet music and plays music only by ear.