- 1. Early life
David Eric Grohl is an American musician, singer, songwriter, author, and documentary filmmaker. He was the drummer for rock band Nirvana and founded the alternative rock band Foo Fighters, for whom he is the singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter. Grohl is also the drummer and co-founder of the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, and wrote the music for his short-lived side projects Late! and Probot. He has also recorded and toured with Queens of the Stone Age.
At age 17, Grohl joined punk rock band Scream after the departure of drummer Kent Stax. He joined Nirvana soon after Scream's disbandment. Nirvana's second album, and the first to feature Grohl, Nevermind (1991), became a worldwide commercial success. Following the suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in 1994, Grohl formed Foo Fighters, initially a one-man project. In 1995, the eponymous debut album was released by Roswell and Capitol Records. After the success of the album, Grohl assembled a band for touring and further recording, since which the Foo Fighters have released nine additional albums.
Grohl established himself as a respected drummer with Nirvana; in 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with former bandmates Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, in the group's first year of eligibility. In 2010, Grohl was described by Ken Micallef, co-author of the book Classic Rock Drummers, as one of the most influential rock musicians of the last 20 years. In 2021, Grohl was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a second time as a member of Foo Fighters, also in their first year of eligibility.
Having directed numerous Foo Fighters music videos since 1997, Grohl debuted as a documentary filmmaker with 2013's Sound City, followed by the documentary miniseries Sonic Highways (2014), and the 2021 documentary What Drives Us. Also in 2021, he published his first book, a memoir titled The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.
David Eric Grohl was born on January 14, 1969, in Warren, Ohio, the son of teacher Virginia Jean (née Hanlon) and newswriter James Harper Grohl (1938–2014). In addition to being an award-winning journalist, James had also served as the special assistant to Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and was described as "a talented political observer who possessed the ability to call every major election with uncanny accuracy". Grohl is of German, Irish, and Slovak descent. When he was a child, Grohl's family moved to Springfield, Virginia. When Grohl was seven, his parents divorced, and he subsequently grew up with his mother. At the age of 12, he began learning to play guitar. He grew tired of lessons and instead taught himself, and eventually began playing in bands with friends. At that age, "I was going in the direction of faster, louder, darker while my sister, Lisa, three years older, was getting seriously into new wave territory. We'd meet in the middle sometimes with Bowie and Siouxsie and the Banshees". At the age of 13, Grohl and his sister spent the summer in Evanston, Illinois, at their cousin Tracy's house. Tracy introduced them to punk rock by taking the pair to shows by a variety of punk bands. His first concert was Naked Raygun at The Cubby Bear in Chicago in 1982. Grohl recalled, "From then on we were totally punk. We went home and bought Maximumrocknroll and tried to figure it all out."
In Virginia, Grohl attended Thomas Jefferson High School as a freshman and was elected class vice-president. In that capacity, Grohl managed to play pieces of songs by punk bands like Circle Jerks and Bad Brains over the school intercom before his morning announcements. Grohl's mother decided he should transfer to Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria because his cannabis use was negatively impacting his grades. He stayed there for two years, beginning with a repeat of his first year. After his second year, he transferred yet again to Annandale High School. While in high school, Grohl played in several local bands, including a stint as guitarist in a band called Freak Baby. It was during this period that Grohl taught himself to play drums. When Freak Baby kicked out its bass player and reshuffled its lineup, Grohl switched to drums. The reconstituted band renamed itself Mission Impossible.
Grohl said he did not take drumming lessons and instead learned from listening to Rush and punk rock. He cited Rush drummer Neil Peart as an early influence: "When I got 2112 when I was eight years old, it fucking changed the direction of my life. I heard the drums. It made me want to become a drummer."
During his developing years as a drummer, Grohl cited John Bonham as his greatest influence, and eventually had Bonham's three-rings symbol tattooed on his right shoulder. Mission Impossible rebranded themselves Fast before breaking up, after which Grohl joined the hardcore punk band Dain Bramage in December 1985. Dain Bramage ended in March 1987 when Grohl quit without warning to join Scream, having produced the I Scream Not Coming Down LP. Many of Grohl's early influences were at the 9:30 Club, a music venue in Washington, D.C. He said, "I went to the 9:30 Club hundreds of times. I was always so excited to get there, and I was always bummed when it closed. I spent my teenage years at the club and saw some shows that changed my life