One monster jam went down at Hollywood’s Largo Theater last night, as Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and producer/multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion pounded through a medley of classics by Rush, Foghat, Eddie Money and the Edgar Winter Group all in under three minutes. It followed a dramatic stage reading by Grohl of metal band Manowar’s “Gloves of Metal” and “All Men Play On Ten,” recited as poetry while Brion tickled the piano keys with a serene lullaby. If that sounds ridiculously absurd, comedian Greg Proops intended it that way.
Best known for his improv work, a recurring role on Nickelodeon’s “True Jackson, VP,” and guest stints on shows like “Flight of the Conchords,” Proops is hosting a monthly “Chat Show” at the recently relocated Largo, and asking friends to share the stage and their personal stories. Last night’s line-up included half-hour sit-downs with Grohl, whom Proops met last month at a Valentine’s Day dinner, and comedian David Cross. Both Daves regaled the audience with tales of their younger years, Cross describing the fake ID he used to sneak into Athens punk shows (checking out bands like Pylon); Grohl telling of the first time he met U2’s Larry Mullen, Jr. during the Nirvana days. Proops proved to be a solid interviewer, leading the conversation gingerly while making sure to draw plenty of laughs, but it was Grohl who had bellies aching by the end of the night.
Grohl described the first time he did acid at 17. “I was scared, because I knew that’s a fuckin’ gnarly commitment, man,” Grohl told Proops. “It’s like, nine hours.” And as it turned out, coming down from that fateful trip was just as dangerous. “I saw this percolator from, like, the Dick Van Dyke show in the 50s,” said Grohl, “and all I could think was, ‘coffee!’ So I take it down, plug it in, don’t put anything in it, and then, poof! I was thrown to the ground, in altered states, out of my mind! I was out for, like, two days. Good blotter, dude.”
Grohl also went on a confessional tear about his fondness for Rush back in his high school days. Hearing “2112” for the first time, he said, was an epiphany. “It was, like, woah – drums! You could be, like, the leader, then take over the world.” But Grohl admitted he had to keep his fandom secret due to the band’s “questionable” cover art. “On the back [of the album], they’re all in white silk, one dude is in a kimono, and the other has these gnarly Cameron Diaz disco pants where the seam is perfectly [lined] in the middle of both of his balls,” he explained. “I didn’t tell anybody that I liked this band because of that dude’s fuckin’ nuts! I was afraid my friends would beat me up.”
Grohl went on to describe an encounter with Eddie Money sporting green shorts, shirt and Crocs (“and it wasn’t St. Patrick’s day”), and being “trashed in the U2 dressing room … I had my pants around my ankles and I was holding a fuckin’ [giant] wheel of cheese. I turn around and look, and it’s the drummer from U2 who just invited me to the fuckin’ show.”
Most of the evening was guided by Proops, who opened the show with a long-winded rant on everything from Sarah Palin to Canada’s Provincial system. But the Manowar “reading” was entirely Grohl’s idea. “I don’t know if anyone’s familiar with this heavy metal band,” Grohl told the crowd as he unfolded a lyric sheet. “To be honest, I don’t like their music at all, but their lyrics are fuckin’ awesome.” (See for yourself here)
The show’s finale was the improvised jam, with Grohl on drums and Brion taking the lead on guitar, effortlessly gliding through almost every song referenced during the night. “We’ve prepared nothing except volume,” prefaced Brion as they kicked things off with, what else, but Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets To Paradise.” After the curtains came down, Grohl admitted backstage that he couldn’t really hear what was being played, but was clearly impressed with Brion’s savant-like ability to seamlessly segue from one song snippet to the next. “What do you call that?” we asked Grohl. His answer: “Not fair.”