Dave Grohl's Adolescent Punk Band Dain Bramage
In 1984, 15-year-old Dave Grohl was playing guitar in a band called Freak Baby while attending a suburban Washington, D.C., high school. Six months into his tenure, they decided to rethink their lineup after witnessing Grohl's fury behind the drum kit during a post-practice jam session. With Grohl now the permanent stickman, the newly rechristened Mission Impossible served as a support act for the likes of Fugazi and Troublefunk. "We were living our hardcore dream," Grohl later recalled of the period, during which time he made his recording debut on a split EP with the band Lunch Meat.
They adopted the name Fast before finally imploding in 1985 when some of the elder members left for college. Grohl and Mission Impossible bassist Dave Smith recruited singer/guitarist Reuben Radding to become the punk power trio Dain Bramage – the name apparently borrowed from an SNL sketch about an oft-tackled football player. After coalescing in Grohl's mother Virginia's living room, they played their first show that December at the Lake Braddock Community Center in Burke, Virginia. Video of the show (seen above) was taken by Grohl's mom.
Soon after their live debut, the young band recorded a five-song demo at producer Barrett Jones' Laundry Room Studios, including the titles "In the Dark," "Cheyenne," "Watching It Bake, "Space Cat" and "Bend." They would return the following year, laying down nine more songs, including a version of "We're An American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad. "We were usually experimenting with classic-rock clichés, in a noisy, punk rock kind of way," Grohl explained. In the summer of 1986, Dain Bramage crammed into the RK-1 Recording Studio outside of Annapolis to make their only album, I Scream Not Coming Down.
Around the time it was released the following year, Grohl learned that local legends, Scream – "The coolest hardcore band in Washington D.C.," he later said – were looking for a new drummer. Just 17 in March 1987, he lied about his age and convinced brothers Peter and Franz Stahl to let him audition. Actually getting the gig was perhaps the last thing on his mind. "I thought I'd try out just to tell my friends that I jammed with Scream," he admitted later. When he was ultimately offered the job, the Scream super fan was reluctant to leave his friends in Dain Bramage and initially turned them down, but the opportunity proved too good to pass up. He quit his old band – and high school – to head out on the road, and Dain Bramage folded not longer after. "After you've spent a couple years with Dave Grohl as your drummer it's easy to feel like no other drummer exists," Radding reflected.