Dave Grohl Details Barack Obama Interview, Getting Snubbed by Prince
Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters discussed everything from interviewing President Obama for their HBO series Sonic Highways to an awkward interaction the frontman had with Prince during the band’s recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show. The SiriusXM radio host also coaxed stories about Grohl’s squashed beef with Courtney Love, the singer’s e-mail friendship with David Bowie and Foo Fighters keyboardist and former Wallflowers member Rami Jaffee’s estrangement from Jakob Dylan.
The singer’s interview with Obama will be a part of the Sonic Highways series finale on Friday. Grohl said that he wanted to speak to the president about the opportunities America offers musicians in a broad sense, referencing how blues icon Buddy Guy went from playing a homemade guitar in his early days to receiving a Kennedy Center Honors award. But Stern wanted to know, “Did you feel like maybe you were wasting his time?” Grohl said no and offered that after the interview, Obama “was like, ‘Next time you come, bring the kids.'”
“It was a great interview because he had a tough day,” said the Foo Fighter, who added he had to go shopping for a jacket to wear for the interview. “I was the last one of the day. He had announced that they were sending more troops to Iraq. And he had to give a Medal of Honor to this kid. It was a really, really heavy day. And he walked in the room, and he loosened his tie and we talked about Dylan and the Stones.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Grohl recounted an odd experience he had with Prince when the singer was doing his 21-date stint at the L.A. Forum in 2011. The singer said that he had gone to one of the dates and had heard that Prince wanted him to jam, but on that date he was “already hammered.” So he talked to Prince after the show, and the artist invited him to jam the following Friday. When Grohl showed up, that’s when things got weird.
“Prince just appears and says, ‘Hey man, you wanna jam?’ and I go, ‘Yeah,'” the Foo frontman said. “And I get up on the drums and I start playing. He picks up a bass and shreds the bass like I’ve never seen anyone play it [with his] full band on stage…We end that jam. He’s throwing chords with hand signals to his band, then we start playing [Led Zeppelin’s] ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ He picks up a guitar [sings riff]. And we play about five or eight minutes…then we end it, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s great.’ I’m like, ‘That was amazing.’…He goes, ‘We should totally do that.’ And he goes, ‘What are you doing next week?’ And then I never saw him again.”
When Stern asks what that meant, Grohl replied, Prince was “probably blowing me off,” but that he didn’t care. “It’s Prince, dude,” Grohl said. “He could beat me up as much as he wants.”
In news about other unrequited Grohl jams, the Foo Fighter revealed that he had tried to get David Bowie, whom Grohl calls “wickedly funny,” to work with him on a song for a movie soundtrack. “I’d worked with his producer, Tony Visconti, and I asked Tony, ‘Hey, do you think David would be into doing something?'” the Foo Fighter said. “So then we became [e-mail buddies].” Grohl chalked the session never happening up to logistics. “Sometimes you want to do something and there’s no time,” he said.
One friendship with another musician that does appear to be going smoothly, however, has been Grohl’s rekindled friendship with Courtney Love. When Stern asked the Foo Fighter if he’d asked Obama to “have Courtney Love arrested,” the singer said, “No, of course not. Don’t talk shit about my friend Courtney Love.” And regarding any doubts that he and Love are not friends, Grohl said, “You’ve got to have faith in the human condition.”
Unconvinced, Stern asked whether it was a friendship or a truce. “I guess it’s a friendship,” Grohl said. “Because then we saw each other not too long ago and sat and got trashed together and drank a bunch of tequila.” The singer also debunked rumors that he and Love had gone to a strip club. “I can’t do that, it would be bad,” Grohl said he told Love. But she had bet him that she could have more strippers hang with her than with Grohl. “Unfortunately, [the whole thing] didn’t happen,” the singer said.
Eventually, Stern directed his attention away from Grohl and to Foo Fighters contributing keyboardist Jaffee to ask about his ex-bandmate Jakob Dylan. The keyboardist described his former bandmate as being very cryptic and said that after 25 years he’d learned that “some people don’t enjoy playing music as much as others.” He reported that he had tried to call Dylan many times over the years to sort out the state of their friendship but that it was unresolved. “He’s not as comfortable as other people getting on tour and getting out in front of people,” said Jaffee.
When Dylan’s current run of solo tour dates came up in conversation, Jaffee said, “A lot, meaning six shows a year?” (Dylan’s Twitter feed shows photos from recent tour dates, but his official site currently lists no upcoming shows.)
Jaffee also scoffed at Stern’s assessment that Dylan had simply proven himself to his father and was no longer interested. “We charted big time in the Nineties,” Jaffee said. “And there was even times [that] a Dylan record charted around the same time of us. So if there was any of that, that was done.”
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The final episode of Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways will air on Friday, with the band set to tour North America in the second half of 2015.
In his recent Rolling Stone cover story, Grohl said he already has a plan for the next Foo Fighters record. “I don’t think anyone’s ever done it,” he said. “And it’s fucking cool. It will blow everybody’s mind. Nobody has the balls to do it. And that’s three years away.”
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