Foo Fighters Frontman Dave Grohl and Drummer Taylor Hawkins Return to the Stern Show
Musicians chat with Howard ahead of their band’s new supernatural horror film, “Studio 666”February 15, 2022
Rock legends turned movie stars Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins returned to the Stern Show Tuesday morning, connecting with Howard and co-host Robin Quivers ahead of the Foo Fighters’ new supernatural horror flick “Studio 666.” The multi-hyphenate entertainers and their bandmates play themselves in the film, which follows the Foos as they attempt to record a new album in a haunted mansion where a demon possesses Grohl and leads him to commit violent acts against his bandmates.
As Dave explained it, the band never set out to make a scary movie. But the pieces started falling into place when the guys decided to record their 2021 album “Medicine at Midnight” in an ominous-looking Los Angeles home.
“I was like, ‘Wait a second, we’re in this creepy old house. We could fucking make the record, take two weeks off, and then make some really quick low-budget slasher gore bullshit film just for fun,” Dave told Howard, saying he then came up with an idea for a haunted house-possession flick where he goes crazy, murders his bandmates, and kicks off his solo career.
“All the guys were like, ‘Yeah, why not … We’ve done stupider shit than that,’” Dave recounted. “Then there were screenwriters, then there was a table read, then there were special effects, then it turned into a full-length feature film, and we were like, ‘Holy shit!’”
Howard wondered if they worried making a movie might backfire and strain their credibility as rockers.
“Absolutely not,” Grohl responded. “You look at the 26 years of those fucking videos we’ve been making … If any band was gonna do this, it was gonna be us.”
“I think people appreciate us for that side of what we’re going to do. It’s like, we make records, we take those really fucking seriously. We go out and we play shows, we take that really fucking seriously,” he continued. “We want to make great songs. We want to be the best live band in the world. Everything outside of that, it’s like, ‘C’mon, are we gonna try and look like this cool, handsome rock band?’ Fuck that … Why not do it?”
Sounds About Wrong
As is the case with many musicians famous for rocking crowds’ socks off, Dave’s ears have paid the price and he can no longer hear quite as well as he used to. “It’s not that bad,” he said. “I haven’t had them tested in a long time, [but] I know what [doctors would] say: ‘You have hearing damage, tinnitus—in your left ear more so than your right ear.’”
Some rockers wear ear plugs or other protective equipment, but Dave told Howard they’re not a good fit for him for several reasons. For starters, they make his onstage experience less immersive. “I want to be able to hear the audience in front of me, and I want to be able to turn around and hear Taylor right there,” he said, adding, “‘I’ve had the same monitor guy for 31 years. He’s in my head. So, even though I’m not using in-ear monitors, the sound on stage for me is perfect.”
Also, there are the issues of comfort and style. “I have little fucking earholes and when I put those things [in] they just pop out,” Dave continued. “And I don’t want to look like a praying mantis with, you know, these things all over my head. I just want to go out there and go nuts.”
While Dave’s ears have yet to fail him in concert or in the recording studio, he said the hearing damage does sometimes make social outings a little more difficult. “If you were sitting next to me right here at dinner, I wouldn’t understand a fucking word you were saying to me the whole fucking time,” he told Howard, adding, “The worst thing about the pandemic is like people wearing masks, so when someone comes up to me and [speaks] I’m like, ‘I’m a rock musician. I’m fucking deaf. I can’t hear what you’re saying.’”
Winging It with Sir Paul
When the Foo Fighters joined the Stern Show a year ago this week, the band discussed who might induct them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Several names were bandied about, from Stewart Copeland of the Police to Dave’s own mom, but the guys ultimately went with living legend Sir Paul McCartney.
“You really can’t do better than that,” Howard said Tuesday before asking how they convinced the iconic Beatle turned Wings frontman to do the honors.
“We didn’t call him personally,” Dave said, suggesting that would’ve been “weird.” “He’s a really sweet guy and we’ve known him a long time.”
While the guys didn’t write Macca’s speech for him, they told Howard they loved the way it turned out. Taylor especially appreciated how Paul described the parallels between his own journey from the Beatles to Wings and Dave’s journey from Nirvana to Foo Fighters.
“I always kind of thought of us like Wings a little bit,” Taylor said, adding, “For Dave to come out of Nirvana and have something as successful as it is, most people just don’t get a second act like that, you know?”
“It’s funny, I never really considered that stuff,” Dave said.
“Apparently I did,” Taylor laughed.
During their Rock Hall acceptance speech, Hawkins notably advocated for acts ranging from Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden to George Michael to one day be inducted alongside Foo Fighters. He explained his thought process to Howard Tuesday morning, saying the first two bands came onto the scene during a delicate time in rock ‘n’ roll history when he wasn’t sure if the genre would ever get great again.
“As soon as you heard Jane’s Addiction and as soon as you heard Soundgarden it was like … there’s rock on the horizon,” Taylor said, adding, “And then George Michael, I just think that guy has got the best voice of all time.”
Hawkins went on to say he thought King Crimson should join the Rock Hall’s esteemed ranks, too, which led to him and Howard vocalizing together on an effects-heavy rendition of “In the Court of the Crimson King.”
“That was really good, Howard,” Taylor said after they finished. “I want one of those effects pedals.”
“Talk about horror films, what the fuck was that?” Grohl added with a laugh.
“Studio 666” opens Feb. 25 in theaters.