Dave Grohl in his own words

14 January 2021, 11:05 | Updated: 14 January 2021, 12:59

Dave Grohl in August 2008
Dave Grohl in August 2008. Picture: Robert Knight Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

We celebrate the Nicest Man In Rock's birthday with some of his warmth, wit and wisdom.

  1. On always learning

    "You know I have no idea what I'm doing, right? I didn't take lessons for this. I don't know how to read music. I didn't take lessons to play guitar or drums. I dropped out of high school. What do I know?" (Rolling Stone, 2014)

    Dave Grohl on stage with Foo Fighters at V2001
    Dave Grohl on stage with Foo Fighters at V2001. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images
  2. On accepting your unique voice

    "It's YOUR VOICE. Cherish it. Respect it. Nurture it. Challenge it. Stretch it and scream until it's f**king gone. Because everyone is blessed with at least that, and who knows how long it will last." (Keynote Speech at SXSW, 2013)

    Dave Grohl onstage at Rock am Ring festival in Germany, 2015
    Dave Grohl onstage at Rock am Ring festival in Germany, 2015. Picture: THOMAS FREY/DPA/PA Images
  3. On being a rock star

    "Maybe people just don’t understand that there is an alternative to what you would imagine a rock star to be. You don’t have to have a needle hanging out of your arm, you don’t have to f**king lock down a festival backstage." (Guardian, 2014)

    Dave Grohl at the MTV Awards 2007
    Dave Grohl at the MTV Awards 2007. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images
  4. On not following the rules

    "I never liked being told what to do. It’s one of the reasons I dropped out of school. Give me something to assemble, I won’t look at the directions, I’ll try to figure it out by myself. It’s why I love Ikea furniture.” (The Telegraph, 2011)

    Dave Grohl at the MTV Europe Awards 2009
    Dave Grohl at the MTV Europe Awards 2009. Picture: RAINER JENSEN/DPA/PA Images
  5. On the afterlife

    "I'd like to imagine I won't end up in Hell, but I think I've done too much acid and listened to too much death metal to sit on a cloud next to God with angels floating above my head.” (Maxim, 2007)

    Foo Fighters perform at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Times Warner Cable Arena Thursday, September 6, 2012
    Foo Fighters perform at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Times Warner Cable Arena Thursday, September 6, 2012. Picture: MCT/SIPA USA/PA Images
  6. On talent competitions

    “When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice , then they think, ‘Oh, okay, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight f**king hours with 800 people at a convention centre and then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not f**king good enough.’ Can you imagine?" (Sky Magazine, 2003)

    Foo Fighters perform at Loollapalooza 2017
    Foo Fighters perform at Loollapalooza 2017. Picture: Britta Pedersen/DPA/PA Images
  7. On performing Everlong

    “We’re not robots. What chokes me up is when I see people singing lyrics back to me with the same emotion. So if you hear me kind of giggling in the middle of a song, it’s because I’m trying not to just fucking totally break down in front of everybody like a fool." (Rolling Stone, 2018)

    Dave Grohl at the BRIT Awards 2018
    Dave Grohl at the BRIT Awards 2018. Picture: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images
  8. On Foo Fighters

    "We think we suck and we try really hard to make good records and we practice. We don't feel like the biggest, best band in the world. We just feel like the same five dorks that were touring in a van 17 years ago, that hasn't changed." (Billboard, 2012)

    Foo Fighters in 2021: Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee. Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett.
    Foo Fighters in 2021: Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee. Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett. Picture: Press
  9. On listening to Nirvana

    “For years I couldn't even listen to any music, let alone a Nirvana song. When Kurt died, every time the radio came on, it broke my heart. I don't put Nirvana records on, no. Although they are always on somewhere. I get in the car, they're on. I go into a shop, they're on. For me, it's so personal." (GQ, 2018)

    NIrvana at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards: Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Kirst Novoselic
    NIrvana at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards: Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Kirst Novoselic. Picture: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images
  10. On Kurt Cobain

    I don't think of Kurt as 'Kurt Cobain from Nirvana'. I think of him as 'Kurt'. It's something that comes back all the time. Almost every day." (BBC, 2011)

    Nirvana in Frankfurt on 12 November 1991.
    Nirvana in Frankfurt on 12 November 1991. Picture: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images
  11. On Lemmy

    “It’s one thing when you have a hero, but it's another when a hero becomes your friend." (The memorial of Lemmy, 2016)

    Dave Grohl and Lemmy in Hollywood, 2003
    Dave Grohl and Lemmy in Hollywood, 2003. Picture: Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage/Getty Images