Dave Grohl: From Nirvana to Foo Fighters and everything in-between

A look through the career of the Nicest Man in Rock (?)

Author: Julian MarszalekPublished 1st Feb 2021
Last updated 3rd Feb 2021

Only the most cold-hearted churl would’ve referred to Dave Grohl as the “grunge Ringo Starr”, but as his illustrious career has proved, his ability to transcend his origins to become a world-beating rock star is pretty much unparalleled.

Coming to prominence as Nirvana’s powerhouse drummer, he rose like a phoenix from the ashes of their demise to form and then lead Foo Fighters on an incredible 25-year journey.

As we await the imminent arrival of Foo Fighters’ highly anticipated tenth studio album 'Medicine at Midnight' - which Dave has likened to David Bowie's 'Let's Dance' - come with us on a pictorial journey of Dave Grohl through the past and into the present…

Dave Grohl with Nirvana - 1991

Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic in a toilet in 1991. Where else?!

Dave Grohl with Nirvana - 1992

Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic backstage at the MTV Video Awards in 1992

Dave Grohl with Nirvana - 1993

Nirvana perform at MTV Live and Loud in December 1993.

Dave Grohl - 1994

Dave Grohl at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, United States in June 1994 - the year he formed Foo Fighters in the wake of Kurt Cobain's death

Dave Grohl - 1995

Dave Grohl performs in Brixton in November 1995

Dave Grohl - 1996

Dave Grohl performs with the Foo Fighters at Phoenix Festival, Stratford Upon Avon, in 1996

Dave Grohl - 1997

Foo Fighters perform at Tibetan Freedom Concert in New York in 1997.

Dave Grohl - 1998

Just a photo of Dave Grohl with a dolphin on holiday in the Gold Coast, Australia in 1998

Dave Grohl - 1999

Dave Grohl works as a cashier at Tower Records to support their album release in 1999.

Dave Grohl - 2000

Foo Fighters perform at The Bridge School Benefit held in the Shoreline Amphitheater, California. Lovely hat!

Dave Grohl - 2001

The Foo Fighters perform at V Festival in 2001.

Dave Grohl - 2002

Foo Fighters perform at MTV New Year's Eve Pajama Party at the MTV Times Square studios in New York City. December 31, 2002. Nice glasses Dave!

Dave Grohl - 2003

Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and wife Jordyn Blum during Spike TV Presents The 2003 GQ Men of the Year Awards

Dave Grohl - 2004

Performing at the Rock in Rio Festival in Lisbon in 2004.

Dave Grohl - 2005

Foo Fighters performing live at Earls Court, London in December 2005.

Foo Fighters - 2006

Foo Fighters pose with Brian May at The O2 Silver Clef Awards in 2006.

Dave Grohl - 2007

Dave Grohl at Britain Live Earth Concert in 2007.

Dave Grohl - 2008

Dave Grohl performs at the pre-Grammy Awards party in 2008

Dave Grohl - 2009

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs on VH1 Storytellers on October 28, 2009

Dave Grohl - 2010

Dave Grohl poses with Glenn Five, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and Robb Reiner of Anvil.

Dave Grohl - 2011

The Foo Fighters perform at Wembley Arena in 2011.

Foo Fighters - 2013

Foo Fighters at the 'Sound City' film premiere, Los Angeles in 2013.

Dave Grohl - 2014

Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear attend the premiere of HBO's "Foo Fighters Sonic Highway", in New York in 2014.

Dave Grohl - 2015

Foo Fighters' Performs at the Music Festival 'Rock Am Ring' in Mendig Germany in 2015.

Dave Grohl - 2016

The Foo Fighters at the Grammy Awards in February 2016.

Dave Grohl - 2017

Foo Fighters storm Glastonbury Festival in 2017

Dave Grohl - 2018

Dave Grohl performing with the Foo Fighters at the Cal Jam 18 Pop-Up Event at the Hollywood Palladium, LA

Dave Grohl on Sesame Street - 2019

Mr Grohl appeared on the 50th anniversary episode of Sesame Street, singing a joyous, rock-tinged tune called 'Here We Go Song' with Big Bird and Elmo as various iconic backdrops from across the USA appeared on the green screen. Of course, Dave is no stranger to Jim Henson's creations as he once had a drum-off with Animal from The Muppets.

The Foo Fighters' tenth album - 2020

In August 2019, drummer Taylor Hawkins confirmed that the Foo's latest album would be coming in 2020, telling RockSound, "From what I've heard from our fearless leader Dave Grohl, he has a lot of demos that he's worked on and I think we'll start, once this tour is over. I think not too soon after that we'll start the process of putting the songs together as a band."

How old is Dave Grohl?

Born in Warren, Ohio, on 14th January, 1969, Dave Grohl is 52-years-old. And looking pretty good for it, too.

What guitar does Dave Grohl play?

So enamoured is he of the Gibson Trini Lopez signature guitar, Dave Grohl worked closely with the celebrated guitar manufacturer to create his own signature model, the DG-335.

Is Dave Grohl left-handed?

No, but Kurt Cobain was.

Dave Grohl and Nirvana

Following in the footsteps of Aaron Burckhard, Dale Crover, Dave Foster and Chad Channing, Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s fifth drummer. Well, seventh if you also include the session contributions of Screaming Trees’ Mark Pickeral and Mudhoney’s Dan Peters. Or even eighth if you take into account the brief touring tenure of The Melvins’ Dale Crover.

Dave Grohl joined just in time for the ‘Nevermind’ sessions, and his drumming brought a muscularity to the band’s sound that hadn’t been there before. His drumming is central to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which became a global rock anthem.

Nirvana were arguably the biggest rock band of the early 90s, and their status was confirmed with the release of 1993’s ‘In Utero’.

Sadly, the band came to a tragic end in April 1994, when singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain passed away.

Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters

Recording the whole of their eponymous debut pretty much on his own, Dave Grohl soon evolved Foo Fighters into a fully-fledged band. One of the biggest acts on the planet, they’ve achieved this status thanks to hook-laden heavy rock that’s infused with pop smarts and an infectious sense of energy and enthusiasm.

To date, they have released nine studio albums: ‘Foo Fighters’ (1995). ‘The Colour And The Shape (1997),’There Is Nothing Left To Lose’ (1999), ‘One By One’ (2002), ‘In Your Honor’ (2005), ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’ (2007), ‘Wasting Light’ (2011), ‘Sonic Highways’ (2014) and ‘Concrete And Gold (2017).

Their 10th album 'Medicine at Midnight' is set to be released on 5th February 2021- postponed from 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Read our fun facts about Foo Fighters article!

Are Foo Fighters on tour?

Not for the foreseeable, as most concerts have been cancelled or postponed in the wake of COVID-19.

Dave Grohl and Queens Of The Stone Age

Dave Grohl played drums on Queen Of The Stone Age’s third album, ‘Songs For The Deaf’, in 2002. He had so much fun that Foo Fighters were put on hold while he went on tour with them.

He also made a few drumming contributions to their fifth album, ‘…Like Clockwork’ (2013)’

Dave Grohl and Nandi Bushell

Hailing from Ipswich, multi-talented music prodigy Nandi Bushell has been wowing the internet for years now with her enthusiastic, energetic and expert renditions of rock classics, predominately on drums, but also on bass and guitar.

Nandi Bushell performed Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’ in August and challenged Dave Grohl to a drum battle, saying, "My dream is to one day jam with Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and all the Foo Fighters! Mr Grohl I would love to have a drum battle with you! I LOVE Everlong it’s really hard to play as it’s so fast but so much FUN!!!”

After Nandi won round one, Dave blew everyone out of the water when he wrote Nandi her very own theme song!

Foo Fighters new album

The Foo Fighters have teased three new songs from their upcoming album, 'Making A Fire', 'Cloudspotter' and the title-track. We’ve already heard Shame Shame, Waiting On A War and No Son Of Mine, meaningfans have only got three left to go until they’ve got a pretty solid idea of what the whole album will sound like.

You can hear Foo Fighters' biggest hits on the Absolute Radio playlist.

New read:

10 fun facts about Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl compares new Foo Fighters album to David Bowie's 'Let's Dance'

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl writes song about 'superhero' Nandi Bushell

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