Dave Grohl Revealed on TV What Foo Fighters’ ‘Learn to Fly’ Is Really About
In continued support of his new best-selling memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, Dave Grohl made an appearance on daytime talk program The Kelly Clarkson Show, where he revealed what the Foo Fighters hit "Learn to Fly" is really about — wanting to be a pilot.
During the interview segment, Clarkson reserved time to discuss a pair of Foos lyrics that stood out to her in particular and quoted lines from both "Everlong" and "Learn to Fly," two of the band's biggest hits.
From "Everlong," the host selected the lyric, "And I wonder, when I sing along with you, if everything could ever feel this real forever, if anything could ever be this good again," and asked Grohl about its significance.
"That was a long time ago," sad Grohl, who explained, "I was in love and one of the things that I loved so much about this person was when we would sing together. It's meant to sort of represent that moment — all moments are fleeting, but if you could be in that moment and you think if anything could be this good again."
Speaking in broader terms, Grohl talked about the connective and healing power of music and that lyrics can mean different things to different people, which is part of the magic.
"Music is meant to heal," he observed.
"One of the things about a song that you connect with... the luxury of my life is that I can sit down with an instrument and write a song and then go out and play it in front of a bunch of people and they sing it with me," Grohl told Clarkson and continued, "It could be 50,000 people singing the same lyric, for 50,000 different reasons because that lyric means something specific to them. They're not singing it for my reasons, they're singing it for their reasons. Even the darkest lyrics, I think they're meant to heal somehow. There's hope — it's important to be hopeful."
When it came to "Learn to Fly," however, Grohl did less pontificating when Clarkson inquired about the lyric, "Look to the sky to save me, looking for a sign of life, looking for something to help me burn out bright."
"I don't want to burst your bubble... at the time I wanted to become a pilot! I wanted to learn to fly — I did! That's it," exclaimed Grohl as Clarkson was left in a humorous state of disbelief and crouched behind her chair.
"I'm sorry. It's what I'm talking about. I'm singing because I want to learn how to be a pilot. You're singing because, 'I'm so inspired by life' and whatever. See?," he added in reference to his previous comments about lyrics having many meanings, depending on who is listening.
In an alternate reality, we can envision Grohl and Iron Maiden singer/airline captain Bruce Dickinson criss-crossing the skies, waving to each other through their respective cockpit windows, but Grohl quickly learned about some of the real-world hurdles to becoming a pilot.
"I wanted to learn to fly and then I was like, 'Wait, there's math involved? I can't do this,'" he mused.
Well, that certainly explain why the "Learn to Fly" music video is set on an airplane, huh? It all makes sense now.
Watch the full clip of Grohl on The Kelly Clarkson Show below.