Warren, Ohio—aka the town where Dave Grohl was born—is very, very proud of the fact that the rocker's birth certificate was signed and dated there. They've not only dedicated an alley to Grohl but also a humongous pair of drumsticks that reside there. The artifacts currently hold the Guinness Record for the world's largest pair of drumsticks, weighing in at a mind-boggling 900 pounds.
When Dave Grohl started a new band shortly after the abrupt end of Nirvana, the name he settled on—the Foo Fighters—conjured up images of aliens and unidentified flying objects. "Foo fighter" comes from World War II, when pilots coined the term for weird sights (or UFOs!) they encountered while flying the skies. It was a natural progression, then, for Grohl to name his label (which falls under the Capitol Records umbrella) something that had to do with extraterrestrials. Enter Roswell, that eerie spot in New Mexico famous for all kinds of paranormal activity (and now a rock 'n' roll label).
It's no easy task, taking the seat behind the drum kit when the band leader in question is one of the most lauded drummers of the late 20th century, but Taylor Hawkins was up for the challenge when he took up with the Foo Fighters in 1997. Before joining the band, Hawkins was Alanis Morissette's touring drummer, meaning that he's the one responsible for obliterating eardrums with drum fills behind her scorned screams.
After the death of Kurt Cobain and before starting up the Foo Fighters, Grohl found himself sitting in as an honorary Heartbreaker. Tom Petty brought Grohl onstage as his drummer for a few gigs, including an episode of Saturday Night Live, and eventually offered Grohl the job in a permanent capacity.
Instead of sticking with Petty, Grohl focused on his own music, and the songs he wrote in that time period would form the foundation of the Foo Fighters. Just think: If Grohl had stuck with "American Girl" and "Breakdown" (which the Foos cover on occasion), we wouldn't have "Everlong," "The Best of You" or "Learn to Fly."
Major music festivals are a big deal for any act, but for the Foo Fighters, Reading holds a special place in the band's collective heart: They made their big-stage debut at Reading in 1995, and they'd go on to play the fest a few more times before dropping the bombshell on that very stage in 2012 that they'd be taking a break to work on their next album—aka Sonic Highways.
Grohl's fondness for Reading extends beyond the Foo Fighters' relationship with the festival. In the clip above he describes Nirvana's set there as the "most important gig of [his] life" in a super-personal monologue.
The track off 2007's Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace refers to an "intravenous, intertwined" couple, and Grohl confirmed that the line refers to his late bandmate Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.
"[It's] a song that's written about feeling helpless to someone else's demise," he told Rolling Stone shortly before the record dropped. "I've seen people lose it all to drugs and heartbreak and death. It's happened more than once in my life, but the one that's most noted is Kurt. And there are a lot of people that I've been angry with in my life, but the one that's most noted is Courtney. So it's pretty obvious to me that those correlations are gonna pop up every now and again. I still remain a little secretive about it all."
Grohl and Love have had a strained at best/vitriolic at worst relationship that started over the legalities of Nirvana's unreleased music and grew into a deeply personal rift, which was seemingly squashed at this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Grohl and his mama are close. (Just how many rock stars bring their mom to a festival on her birthday and make the whole crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to her?) Grohl says she's always understood his musical needs, even if those needs meant dropping out of high school and letting the punk flag fly.
From "I Raised A Rock Star," a 2006 feature in Life: "The connection my mother and I have is the ultimate parent-child relationship. She allowed me so much freedom growing up that when I said I wanted to drop out of high school and join a band, she gave me permission to do it. She had faith in me. She's always said, 'It's nice when things are nice.' That's become a mantra of my own."
The Foo drummer put his wiggling skills to good use as Iggy Pop in the 2013 film CBGB. Reviews for the movie were merciless across the board, but we'll be damned if Hawkins doesn't channel Pop at his prime on screen.
Grohl's rock education didn't come from fancy classes, familial connections or an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music: He hit a Naked Raygun show with his cousin at Chicago's Cubby Bear when he was in town for a visit as a teenager, and boom! He was hooked after his very first live show experience. He details this lightbulb moment in the first episode of Sonic Highways, proving that a single punk show can change the life of any rock-loving teenager.
A tour rider is the list of items a band absolutely must have on hand in the dressing room, and it can include everything from cheap beer to elaborate charcuterie platters with salmon jerky to a sea of M&Ms with nary a brown one in sight. Bands make weird demands and always have, but the Foo Fighters have always been a bit silly when it comes to requesting the food and drink to fill their green room at any given venue.
Enter the infamous coloring book rider of 2011. Gus Brandt, the Foos' touring manager, sent a rider out to venues that had legit activity pages requiring crayons, puzzles and more that outlined exactly what kind of grub the guys were hoping to snack on backstage. Spoiler alert: They like salads. They do not like bugs, rocks or stuffed animals in their salads. (It makes more sense when you read it, we promise.)