Just days after covering David Bowie with Beck at a Grammy pre-party, Foo Fighters‘ Dave Grohl and Pat Smear— the latter admitting he used to stalk Bowie around Los Angeles in the mid-Seventies — embarked on a video tour of all of Bowie’s L.A. haunts for Playboy. Along the way, both Grohl and Smear discussed their own interactions with Bowie.
During the ride, Smear also revealed how Nirvana decided to cover “The Man Who Sold the World” for their MTV Unplugged: Smear and Cobain were just listening to records when they decided they needed a cover song for the special. Ultimately, Cobain said he wanted to cover a Bowie song, and it was Smear who picked The Man Who Sold the World‘s title track after spotting the album in Cobain’s collection.
The first stop is Bowie’s Doheny Drive house where the rocker allegedly subsided on “milk and peppers … and cocaine.” Later, the Foo duo visit legendary glam club Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco and the Rainbow Room, where Grohl told Smear about the time two years ago when he and Bowie chatted over email.
“We played at his 50th birthday party at Madison Square Garden and that was the last time I saw him, so that was in 1997? About two years ago, I got approached by this movie to do a song for the movie, so I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll have someone else sing, I’ll do the music and then have another vocalist.’ And then I thought, “Maybe I’ll ask and see if David would want to do it,'” Grohl told Smear. “So the next day I get an email and it says, ‘David, I watched the movie and I got to be honest, it’s not my thing.’ He said, ‘I’m not made for these times.'”
The email exchange continued with Grohl thanking Bowie for considering it, to which Bowie replied, “Alright, now that’s settled then, fuck off.” Grohl isn’t sure whether Bowie is joking or serious, so the exchange continues with Grohl saying he’ll see Bowie at his next big birthday concert at Madison Square Garden. Bowie grimly replied, “No more birthdays. I’ve run out of them.” Bowie then sent another email, “But that was a really fun night, wasn’t it?” However, Grohl noted that Bowie was often a prankster over email, wishing the drummer Happy New Year’s in the middle of March.