37 things you never knew about Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters
(Image: © Getty Images)

Foo Fighters are massive. Last year they headlined Glastonbury and this weekend they'll be closing out what is a mighty bill for Rockville in Florida. Everyone on the planet knows their name and can probably hum you at least three songs from memory, but even the most devoted superfans don’t know everything. To prove this, we’ve compiled a list of THIRTY SEVEN facts about the Foos for you to learn and impress your mates with at the next annual gathering of the Dave Grohl Appreciation Society.

Let’s go.

1) Dave Grohl’s first gig was The Jackson 5 at the Ohio State Fair. He was two.

2) When he was a child, original guitarist Pat Smear followed Freddie Mercury around in an attempt to see him in person.

3) The band are such fans of barbecues that in 2002 they took a barbecue grill and chef ‘technologist’ on tour with them.

4) Dave’s first hero was Jim Craig, the 1980 American ice hockey team goalie from Worcester, Massachusetts. After the team beat Russia he found the phone numbers of all the Jim Craigs in that area, phoned them up and congratulated them. Dave and the real Jim Craig met years later at a Winter Olympics.

5) Learn To Fly broke the record for being the longest ‘rock radio’ No.1 in Canada.

6) The group have long supported the Alive And Well organisation, which questions the link between HIV and AIDS, claiming that current research is unreliable and popular HIV medications cripple the human immune system.

7) Courtney Love is often cited as the target of Stacked Actors.

8) Puff Daddy’s It’s All About The Benjamins was given two rock remixes by Dave Grohl in 1997.

9) One of the earliest Foo Fighters gigs was a blind date show for Miller Genuine Draft in San Francisco. Contest winners got free beer and pizza.

10) The first pressing of There Is Nothing Left To Lose came with a rub-on ‘FF’ tattoo like the one on Dave’s neck. The album’s Australian release was issued in an outer sleeve with national swimming hero Michael Klim sporting one.

11) The Grammy for There Is Nothing Left To Lose is used to keep Dave’s bedroom door open.

12) Celebrity dating rumours have followed Dave in the past, most notably the belief that he dated Winona Ryder and once had a fling with Christina Aguilera.

13) Guitarist Chris Shiflett became an avid boxer after the head of Foos’ publicity, Steve Martin, recommended a trainer. To celebrate his newfound pastime, Shiflett organised his first fight against Martin.

14) Skeet (clay pigeon) shooting is Dave’s favourite pastime.

15) When Dave was 13 he was in a covers band. Their most memorable gig saw them playing The Rolling StonesTime Is On My Side to a nursing home crowd.

16) Chart Attack voted Taylor Hawkins the sexiest musician at the 2000 Summersault Festival. Dave came in fourth.

17) The first instrument Dave learnt to play was the trombone.

18) Bassist Nate Mendel has the word ‘Free’ tattooed across his back. It was the title of a song he played with his first band, which they thought would be a hit.

19) Liam Lynch, one-hit-wonder of United States Of Whatever fame, directed the video for Times Like These.

20) While Dave focused on Probot in 2003, Chris Shiflett started an unreleased side project with Primal Scream (and former Stone Roses) bassist Mani, and former Scream trumpeter Duncan Mackey.

21) Nate is a history and journalism graduate.

22) In school, Dave wanted to be a UFO investigation expert.

23) After the third debate between John Kerry and George W Bush, the Foos played a celebration gig at the Arizona Democratic Party’s Debate Watch Party. Dave had previously played solo acoustic sets in support of the Democrats in Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri.

24) Original guitarist Pat Smear’s first band, The Germs, had pop diva Belinda Carlisle on drums.

25) Tom Petty was the working title for One By One.

26) Dave and Nate met at a Thanksgiving house party, where a oujia board claimed a baby had been murdered in that same house. It later transpired that a Native American baby had in fact been murdered there.

27) Foo Fighters’ first public show was under Dave Grohl’s name on Eddie Vedder’s Self-Pollution Radio Show, January 8, 1995.

28) Dave and Krist Novoselic recorded a few demos together after Nirvana finished, and almost struck out with their own group.

29) Fittingly for Dave, Foo Fighters came out on Independence Day in America. Eerily (or perhaps not), Independence Day in 1947 was the day of the Roswell incident after which he named his record label.

30) A big fan of the B-52s, Dave’s vocals on Wattershed are an imitation of the group’s Fred Schneider.

31) Dave became friendly with David Bowie on the 1997 festival circuit, later playing at his 50th birthday party, and contributing drums to a cover of Neil Young’s I’ve Been Waiting For You on 2002’s Heathen.

32) In March 1995, Dave appeared with Pearl Jam during three Australian dates, playing drums on Sonic Reducer, Against The 70s and Neil Young’s Rocking In The Free World.

33) Verbana, a 1997 Foos support act, were given the honour of having Dave produce their debut album Into The Pink.

34) To ease Chris Shifflett into the group in 1999, the Foos played three secret shows in LA under the name Stacked Actors.

35) Dave asked Andrew WK to support the group, after seeing the promo shot of him with a bloody nose. He also helped him get a recording contract, calling Andrew WK ‘a true American hero’.

36) Foo Fighters covers include, bizarrely, Prince’s Darling Nikki and Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street.

37) As a Christmas gift, Dave once recorded a song for his girlfriend, pressing and packaging it as a proper release. He gave the sole copy to her and then destroyed all the remaining tapes.

Foo Fighters headline Rockville at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Florida this weekend. Get your tickets now

Originally published in Metal Hammer Presents… The Foo Fighters

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