SXSWORLD February 2013


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ANDREW STUART Dave Grohl in the studio J O R D A N N AY L O R playing on mid-tempo songs (think "Come As You Are") is underrated. That was clear on the next tape I popped in, which was Dave's original Foo Fighter's demo. This recording, cleaned up just a bit and edited down, would become the Foo Fighter's self-titled first album. Dave had originally wanted to release it anonymously, to escape the postNirvana attention. He'd come up with his name for the band because "foo fighter" was once a term for unidentified flying object. In the documentary film Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, which had its world premiere at SXSW in 2011, Dave calls it "the worst fucking band name ever." Eventually, Dave's little demo, recorded for a few hundred dollars at a studio in Shoreline, Washington, would be released, would sell millions of copies worldwide, and be nominated for a Grammy. At the time of our van ride in the mid-90s, Dave was still planning on keeping it small, and what he thought was controllable. "I think with this band, we'll keep it to 4,000 seaters," he told me that day. It didn't exactly work out that way. As the documentary Back and Forth documents, the Foo Fighters now play arenas in the U.S. (though they did play a surprise show at Stubbs BBQ during SXSW David Grohl at SXSW Film 2011 in 2011), and stadiums in the rest of the world, where their commercial impact is even greater. They have won the Grammy Award for best Hard Rock band four times, more than any other group. And Dave Grohl, one of rock's best drummers, oddly fronts a band where he sings and plays guitar. Only you can't keep Dave Grohl away from the drums for very long. In the past decade, Dave has drummed with Tom Petty, Killing Joke, Cage the Elephant, Tenacious D, Nine Inch Nails, the Prodigy and a one-off band called Probot with Lemmy from Motörhead. Most recently, Dave played in a band (no one knows what to call that grouping yet) with Paul McCartney and for the first time since Nirvana, Krist Novoselic. In 2009, Grohl formed Them Crooked Vultures with Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age, another band in which Dave semi-officially plays) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin bassist). Their album debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard charts, and also won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Album. Them Crooked Vultures played the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2009 (the Foo Fighters had headlined ACL in 2008). That rich history, and of course Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, are topics Dave will likely address in his SXSW keynote. Though exactly what Dave will talk about is unclear; he is a natural storyteller, but he has never done anything quite like a SXSW keynote speech before. Back in Dave's van in the '90s, all of that post-Nirvana history was yet to come. Instead it was the younger version of Dave — looking no different from the model you will see at SXSW, except for less facial hair — who eventually returned to the vehicle carrying a guitar case. It was weird to see Dave Grohl carrying a guitar case, and maybe, even after 18 years of the Foo Fighters, it would still be weird today. He started driving again, with the "no seatbelt" car warning going off for the first few minutes as we headed to next errand. "Find some good stuff to listen to?" he asked. With Dave Grohl, the answer is always yes. ■ Dave Grohl will deliver the keynote address at SXSW Music on Thursday, March 14 at 11am. Stay tuned to for details. SXSWORLD / FEBRUARY 2013 41

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