Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl + Pat Smear Share David Bowie Memories While Visiting Landmarks
One of the fun things about Los Angeles is that it's a town where a lot of history has occurred and if you look hard enough, you can typically find landmarks that mean something to you. That was the case recently for Foo Fighters members Dave Grohl and Pat Smear, who took a trip around Los Angeles revisiting several haunts of the late David Bowie, a musician who influenced both rockers.
The rockers, who also played together in Nirvana, spent a day in a white vehicle sporting an Aladdin Sane emblem visiting several key Bowie stops while Playboy.com tagged along and filmed. The video above offers you some key insight into the role that Bowie played in each of their music histories as well.
One of the insights that is revealed early in the video is that Pat Smear was likely the one responsible for Nirvana covering Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" during their MTV Unplugged in New York special. "I think it was my idea. We were sitting in Kurt's living room going through his record collection and he said, 'Let's figure out a cover songs for the 'Unplugged' thing,'" recalled Smear. "He's like, 'Let's do a Bowie song. You love Bowie.' I said, 'Yeah,' and we look through and I see 'The Man Who Sold the World' and I'm like, 'F--k, it's gotta be off this record.' And we settled on 'The Man Who Sold the World.'"
Smear grew up in Los Angeles before joining the Germs and shares several insights of how as a youth he and his friends used to try to spot Bowie when he was in town. He points out a home on Doheny in Los Angeles where Bowie once lived right down the street from Joan Jett. The pair also visit the Rodney's English Disco club owned by longtime KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who tells the pair of Bowie's first show in L.A. taking place on top of a waterbed at a Hollywood home, and they then visit the place.
Toward the end of the video, Grohl and Smear sit down for a chat at the Sunset Strip Rainbow Bar & Grill, where they reflect further. Grohl reveals his final email exchanged with Bowie, one that trips him out now with the knowledge that Bowie has passed.
"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,'" explained Grohl to 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.'"
Then, Grohl responded back wishing him well, before Bowie messed with him a little bit. Bowie replied, "Alright, now that's settled then, f--k off." Unsure if the singer was joking, Grohl replied back, "Well I guess I'll see you in another 16 years," to which Bowie replied, "Don't hold your breath." Grohl responded, "What, no more birthday parties at Madison Square Garden?" to which Bowie replied, "No more birthdays, I've run out of them ... but that was a really fun night, wasn't it?" While that may seem a little dark, Grohl said Bowie liked to have fun, recalling a time where he emailed him in March to wish him a Happy New Year's.
Watch the video in full above as Grohl and Smear share their Bowie stories.
See Where Dave Grohl + Others Rank Among the Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Frontmen of All Time
10 Awesome ‘Good Guy Grohl’ Moments