Is it okay to describe you as rock’s biggest fucking spaz?
Yeah, people call me a big fucking spaz all the time. It probably happens once a day. I’m walking down the street, some guy comes up, “Hey you! You’re a fucking spaz!” I’m like, “I know, I can’t help it. I’m still jetlagged from going to Japan, I slept for three hours last night and I can’t wait to get in the shower, get on my bike and do stuff. That’s why I’m spazzy! Okay?
You’re rich, in a band, bearded – life as a spaz must rule!
Hell yeah! I lead a charmed life, I’m the luckiest man in the world. Except maybe for you. You work for FHM! Wow! Life must be pretty fucking great for you bastards too…
Pah! We can only afford to eat soup! Have you made more spondooleys out of the Foos or Nirvana?
It’s in bad taste to talk about money. See, here’s the thing – before I had money I had nothing at all. Then Nevermind happened over night. One day somebody handed me an ATM card – I was amazed there was this thing that you could stick in the wall and then $400 comes out. So, now that I’ve got money, I live pretty modestly, like a regular Joe. I don’t do all that flashy car and jewellery shit. I do have a thing for Learjets though.
Yeah, right! And Fabergé eggs!
Oh, you’re being serious?
Yeah, I love Learjets. I like to avoid commercial flight – I don’t trust it – so I just kind of do my own thing. You’ve got to spend your cash on something.
Do you ever take the controls?
Oh hells to the no! Are you fucking insane? No thank you. I’m not about to jump in the fucking cockpit of anything. I like to arrive alive.
Talking of death, haven’t you been gigging at old people’s homes lately?
Oh yeah, I’ll do anything – send me to a fucking retirement home, I’ll rock it! I went out on the campaign trail with John Kerry when he was running for President and I did a few acoustic songs after he talked to the locals.
Did anyone die mid-song?
No. Well, I don’t think so. I had to close my eyes while singing so it could have happened. Most of the people didn’t know who I was. I was serenading war veterans and if I’d had my eyes open, I would have been looking at old people thinking, “Who the fuck did they say this guy was? Bruce Springsteen?”
We once saw a band called The Poo Fighters. Ever been in a poo fight?
What? Have I ever thrown shit at someone? Or had poo thrown in my face? Hell no! Actually, saying that… my diarrhoea once caused a riot in Japan. I had to retreat from a live performance because of “technical difficulties”. I knew I was in big trouble when I walked on stage but what I didn’t realise was that seven songs in, I’d have to cut the set short because I was about to spill my diaper in front of 3,000 people.
Ha! You were wearing a diaper?
What? Listen! I tried to explain to the audience, “I’ve got to take a break, so stay where you are, everything’s going to be fine.” I ran into the toilet at the side of the stage and there was no way I was coming out of that bathroom. I remember someone knocking on the door saying, “Dave, are you okay?” I said, “I don’t think so, this isn’t good.” About a minute later someone announced [does terrible Japanese accent], “Hu youn si gowi! Shi mu Foo! Mushi! Mush!” Then I just heard this huge “Booooo!” There was nothing I could do – I just sat there shitting as they went mad.
As the much-touted “nicest man in rock” is that the meanest thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t know about this nicest man in rock thing. I’m glad people think that I’m nice, but have you ever met those guys in Coldplay? They’re really nice! Then there’s Travis! And Motörhead! Lemmy is the sweetest guy in the world. If I had to leave my mother with anyone for a day, it’d be Lemmy.
But our editor once licked speed off Lemmy’s finger. You wouldn’t want your mum doing that shit…
Oh God, no. But I’m sure my mum would politely say, “No thanks, Lemmy,” then they’d spend the afternoon chatting about the American civil war.
Is it true that Kurt Cobain thought you sucked as a drummer?
Well… yeah. I get this all the time now because I fucking opened my mouth and told someone! There were times when Kurt felt I wasn’t the right drummer for the band. When you’re in a relationship with two other people, you have good days and bad days. So yeah, I blabbed about the few times I heard him say I sucked, now everyone wants to know about it. He never said it to me! I mean… [Burps ridiculously loudly]
Christ! Do you have a gas problem?
I don’t know, I burp a lot during gigs too. It’s better that it always comes out of that end. If I do it on stage, it’s because I’m singing from my diaphragm. That or because of all the gallons of whisky I’ve put in my fucking guts for the last 20 years.
What’s the most drunken night on whisky you can remember?
Probably a night in London spent mixing it with absinthe and beer. I remember nothing apart from picking up this table, throwing it into a crowded bar and screaming. I woke up the next day with burn marks all over my arms. No idea where they came from.
Is it strictly booze on the Foo Fighters bus or do you still dabble in drugs?
Not really. I mean five or six years ago, we used to be out of control. In 1999 I’d drink a bottle of Crown whisky a night and carry it on stage with me. At this point our drug of choice was Liver-Rite, a homeopathic liver repair drug. That got abused more than anything else.
And now? It’s all backstage crochet?
We still have our moments. After we’d finished this record we had a party in the studio. I was really nervous because it was the first time anyone had heard the new stuff, so I started drinking whisky from a vase that still had flowers in it. I just filled it up with Crown because it could hold more than a glass. I ended up diving into some tables like a stunt man. Tables with like glass, silverware and candles all over them.
Perfectly reasonable behaviour. Is it true you can marry people?
Yes, but only in the state of New York.
Well, that’s a start…
Yeah, but… it’s not worth it. I’ve married a few people, and once you’ve done it once the novelty wears off. I only do strangers too – never friends.
We found a mentalist on the net named “Mrs Grohl” – she’s clearly obsessed with you. Do you have a stalker problem?
Six months ago there was some lunatic who wanted to fly out to LA with a knife. She had a map of my house and said she was going to kill me, then herself. On the upside she said it was going to be “quick and easy.” The FBI locked her up. I was like, “What? What’s going on? I didn’t fuck her, did I?”
Have you spread the love among many groupies then?
Nah. I hate to sound boring, but I’ve never been into that. I can’t remember a time backstage when I’ve seen a groupie do something exciting. I’ve seen these other bands eat luncheon meat off chicks’ tits but we never reached that level.
On the subject of insane rock chicks, how’s your spat with Courtney Love?
Pretty quiet. I’m sure I’ll have to speak to her again soon, but it’s quiet right now. I read recently that we were having a new feud but if I remember correctly it takes two people to constitute a feud.
When you see her next, could you have a quiet word about her getting those nasty hooters out all the time?
A quiet word? A quiet word! Nobody has ever had a quiet word with Courtney. It’s just not possible. Sorry, I’ve got to go. I’m off to get my portrait painted with my dog! Don’t worry we’re not going to be nude. It’s classy…
Original interview by Lee Coan in the November 2005 issue of FHM UK magazine