Starting out his career playing guitar and drums for local bands in Washington, D.C., musician, singer and songwriter Dave Grohl rose to fame as the drummer of the grunge band Nirvana. During his tenure with the band from 1990 until 1994 after the suicide of Kurt Cobain, he gained mainstream popularity thanks to the successful albums “Nevermind” (1991) and “In Utero” (1993) and the popular singles “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Heart-Shaped Box” and “All Apologies.” Grohl also took part in Nirvana's later releases like 1994's “MTV Unplugged in New York,” 1996's “From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah,” 2002's “Nirvana,” 2004's “With the Lights Out,” 2005's “Sliver: The Best of the Box” and 2009's “Live at Reading.”
Grohl has since experienced even more recognition as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock group Foo Fighters, which he founded in 1995. Along with the Foo Fighters, he released six studio albums, one live album, one compilation album and about 28 singles. They collected Grammy Awards for Best Short Form Music Video (“Learn to Fly”), Best Rock Album (“There Is Nothing Left to Lose,” “One by One” and “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace”) and Best Hard Rock Performance (“All My Life” and “The Pretender”). Grohl has also performed session work for various musicians, including Tenacious D, David Bowie, Killing Joke, Pete Yorn and Slash.
Grohl has been married twice. He is the father of two girls (both mothered by current wife Jordyn Blum). He lives in Encino, Sherman Oaks and Oxnard, California.
Childhood and Family:
Dave Grohl was born David Eric Grohl on January 14, 1969, in Warren, Ohio, to James Grohl and Virginia Wendt. He has an older sister named Lisa. When he was a child, his family moved to a suburb of Washington, D.C., and Springfield, Virginia. His parents divorced in 1975 when he was six years old. Dave and his sister then lived with their mother. He recalled, “My mother worked three jobs to support my sister and me. She was a high school English teacher. She worked at a department store at night and on the weekend she did estimates for a carpet cleaning company. She worked her fingers to the bone just to make sure we survived. Now she's retired and I bought her the house we grew up in and I added on a whole extra wing. She comes out on tour at special locations, like Australia three months ago. We had a blast. We went to wildlife preserves and petted wallabies.”
Dave went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia, as a freshman and sophomore. He was elected vice president of his freshman class. Due to his use of marijuana, he agreed to transfer to Bishop Ireton High School, a Roman Catholic High School located in Alexandria. He later dropped out of high school to launch a career in music.
Young Dave showed an interest in the drums and guitar. He began taking guitar lessons at age 12, but quickly grew bored and decided to teach himself by playing in bands with friends. He joined various local bands while in high school, including Freak Baby. Originally playing guitar for the band, he switched to drums before the band changed their name to Mission Impossible and then Fast. After the group broke up, he joined the punk rock band Dain Bramage. While evolving as a drummer, Dave was highly influenced by John Bonham and has a three circle logo tattoo of Bonham on his wrist.
In 1992, Dave married photographer Jennifer Youngblood, but they divorced in 1997. He married Jordyn Blum on August 2, 2003. The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Violet Mae Grohl, on April 15, 2006 (named after Dave's maternal grandmother). Their second girl, Harper Willow, was born on April 17, 2009. Dave is known by the nicknames Dr. G, Disco, and Stinger.
Dave Grohl played drums for Dain Bramage from 1985 to 1987. He then joined the hardcore punk band Scream and recorded “No More Censorship” (1988), the fourth album by Scream and the first to feature Grohl on drums. He toured extensively with the group and recorded one more studio album, “Fumble” (1993, recorded in December 1989), Scream's fifth and final album in which he wrote and sang lead on the track “Gods Look Down.” In between the two albums, he also contributed to the live albums “Live At Van Hall In Amsterdam” (1989) and “Your Choice Live Series Vol.10” (1990) and the compilation album “It's Your Choice (1991)
After Scream disbanded, Grohl was introduced by Buzz Osborne of The Melvins to Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain. He was invited to Seattle for an audition and soon joined Nirvana as their drummer in 1990, replacing Dan Peters.
After signing with DGC Records, Grohl and his band mates released “Nevermind” on September 24, 1991. Produced by Butch Vig, the album was a surprise hit. It made No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and also rose to No. 7 in the U.K. It spawned the group's first and biggest hit single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which rose to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, No. 14 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play and No. 27 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales. Hailed by critics as one of the best rock albums of all time, “Nevermind” sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. and over 26 million units worldwide.
Grohl next recoded a compilation album with Nirvana called “Incesticide,” which was released in December 1992. The album debuted at No. 51 and peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard 200. It received platinum certification from RIAA. Grohl's drums could be heard in the songs “Turnaround,” “Molly's Lips,” “Son of a Gun,” “Been a Son,” “Aneurysm” and “(New Wave) Polly,” which he co-wrote with Cobain and Novoselic.”
The studio album “In Utero” followed on September 13, 1993. It earned critical acclaim from critics for its drastic departure from “Nevermind” and hit No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. The album was certified 5X’s platinum by RIAA. The first single, “Heart-Shaped Box,” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The international release for the single went to No. 4 in the U.K. The follow up single, “All Apologies,” (as a double A-side with “Rape Me”) was a chart topper on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks where it peaked at No. 32 on the U.K. Singles chart. “In Utero” became the third (second with Grohl) and last studio recording from Nirvana before the band's front man, Kurt Cobain, was found dead in April 1994.
While still with Nirvana, Grohl recorded his songs and released them as an album titled “Pocketwatch.” Instead of using his own name, he chose the pseudonym Late. He provided drums, guitar, bass guitar and vocals on the album, which was released in 1992 on the now defunct independent label Simple Machines. The same year, he recorded with old pal Buzz Osborne the album “King Buzzo.” The next year, he collaborated with The Backbeat Band for the soundtrack of the motion picture “Backbeat” (1994), which chronicled the early days of The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany. Members of The Backbeat Band also included vocalists Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs, guitarists Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Don Fleming of Gumball and bassist Mike Mills of R.E.M..
Grohl next contributed drums to Mike Watt's debut album “Ball-Hog or Tugboat” (1995) and The Stinky Puffs' “Little Tiny Smelly Bit” (1995) before starting the rock group Foo Fighters in Seattle that same year. With Grohl switching to lead vocalist (sometimes plays rhythm guitar, keyboard and drums), he recruited bassist Nate Mendel, drummer William Goldsmith and guitarist Pat Smear to complete the line up, but Goldsmith and Smear later left the group and were replaced by Taylor Hawkins and Franz Stahl (stayed until 1999) respectively. Guitarist Chris Shiflett joined the group in 1999.
Foo Fighters made their live debut on March 3, 1995, during a show at The Satyricon in Portland, Oregon, and finally signed with Roswell/Capitol Records. Their self titled debut album, “Foo Fighters,” was launched on July 4, 1995. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 in the U.K., and produced six singles with the songs “Exhausted,” “This Is a Call,” “I'll Stick Around,” “For All the Cows,” “Big Me” and “Alone+Easy Target.” “This Is a Call” rose to No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 5 in the U.K., while “I'll Stick Around” went to No. 8 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and charted at No. 18 in the U.K. The singles “For All the Cows” and “Big Me” went to #28 and #19 in the U.K., respectively, with the latter single rising to No. 3 on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album eventually went platinum in the U.S. and gold in the U.K.
The sophomore effort, “The Colour and the Shape,” followed on May 20, 1997. The album rose to No. 3 in the U.K. and No. 10 on the Billboard 200. It sold over two million units in the U.S. and was nominated for a 1998 Grammy for Best Rock Album. It generated four Modern Rock Tracks hits with the singles “Monkey Wrench” (#9), “Everlong” (#3), “My Hero” (#6) and “Walking After You” (#12). Prior to the album’s release, Grohl worked on the soundtrack of the film “Touch” (1997).
Grohl and his band released the third studio album, “There Is Nothing Left to Lose,” their first album under RCA Records and also their debut to feature drummer Taylor Hawkins, on November 2, 1999. It went to No. 10 in the U.S. and gave the group their next platinum certification. It rose to No. 10 and went gold in the U.K. Co-produced by Foo Fighters and Adam Kasper, the album won a 2002 Grammy for Best Rock Album. The single “Learn to Fly” went on to win a 2001 Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. “Learn to Fly” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, No. 2 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and became the group's second gold single in the U.S. after “Everlong.” Other singles released from the album included “Stacked Actors,” “Generator,” “Breakout” and “Next Year.”
Foo Fighters did not release another studio album until October 2002. “One by One” became the group's first album to feature guitarist Chris Shiflett and hit No. 1 on the U.K. Albums chart, No. 3 in the U.S. and went platinum in both countries. It was handed a 2004 Grammy for Best Rock Album. The lead single “All My Life” spent 10 straight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and won a 2003 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The album also contained the singles “Times Like These” (#5 US Mod), “Low” (#15 US Mod) and “Have It All” (#37 UK). Grohl and Foo Fighters also recorded the song “The One” for the soundtrack of the film “Orange Country” (2002).
In between “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” and “One by One,” Grohl lent his drumming skills to other artists. He played drums and sang on the track “Goodbye Lament” from Tony Iommi's album “Iommi” (2000). In 2001, he performed on Tenacious D's self titled debut album and appeared in the video for the lead single “Tribute.” He then played drums on Queens of the Stone Age's third album “Songs for the Deaf” and played guitar on David Bowie's version of “I've Been Waiting for You” (featured on Bowie's album “Heathen,” both 2002). Other artists he has worked with include Cat Power, Killing Joke, Probot, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, Pete Yorn, Juliette and the Licks, Jackson United, The Prodigy, and Them Crooked Vultures.
Gorhl was reunited with Foo Fighters in 2005 for the fifth studio album “In Your Honor” for BMG Records. The album went to No. 2 in the U.S. and U.K. and No. 1 in Australia, Finland, New Zealand and Sweden. Thanks to such popular singles as the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks No. 1 singles “Best of You” and “DOA,” the album earned platinum certification in the U.S., double platinum in the U.K. and went triple platinum in Canada. Following the release of the live album “Skin and Bones” (2006, #21 US, #35 UK), Grohl and Foo Fighters launched the album “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” on September 25, 2007, where it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The album won a Grammy for Best Rock Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. It also won a 2008 Brit Award for Best International Album. The lead single “The Pretender,” a No. 1 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks and the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, received a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance and the nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rock Song. The album spawned two more No. 1 hits on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart with the singles “Long Road to Ruin” (2007) and “Let It Die” (2008).
In November 2009, Foo Fighters released a compilation album titled “Greatest Hits” with RCA Records. It peaked at No. 4 on the U.K. Album Chart and No. 11 on the Billboard 200. It also rose to No. 1 in Australia where it received double platinum certification.
Recently, Grohl played drums on the instrumental song “Watch This,” which was released on March 19, 2010. It was included in guitarist Slash's debut solo album.
Grammy: Best Rock Album, “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace,” 2008
Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, “The Pretender,” 2008
Grammy: Best Rock Album, “One by One,” 2004
Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, “All My Life,” 2003
Grammy: Best Rock Album, “There Is Nothing Left to Lose,” 2002
Grammy: Best Short Form Music Video, “Learn to Fly,” 2001