The Foo Fighters appeared on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show on Wednesday morning (Feb. 10) and reacted to the morning’s news that they’ve been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
The band, which began in 1994 as a secret one-man side project from former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, said they were honored to be on the expansive list of fellow nominees, which included Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner and Dionne Warwick.
“It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” said guitarist Pat Smear.
“No, it’s not bulls–t at all… Absolutely, it’s an honor of course. That sounds like the political answer, but it’s just the answer,” bassist Nate Mendel added.
Then the band started teasing Mendel about how badly he wants the trophy. “Wait, there’s a trophy?” Grohl joked, reminding Stern that the Sex Pistols famously rejected the honor and refused to show up if inducted. “Okay, the Sex Pistols that’s what you would imagine they would say,” he laughed.
Suggesting it would be hard to imagine them not getting inducted on their first ballot, Stern wondered who the band would like to have induct them if they are tapped.
“Someone you idolize so much, beside myself,” Stern said. “You just threw your f–king name in that hat right then, Mr. Howard Stern,” joked Grohl about the radio legend (who famously reluctantly flew to Cleveland in 2018 to do the honors for his pal Jon Bon Jovi). “No I did not, stop it,” Stern demurred as the band and radio partner Robin Quivers egged him on.
“You know we haven’t had this discussion… to be honest this band started with this demo tape that I did ages ago, 25 years ago,” Grohl explained. “I went in the studio for five days, I played all the instruments, I recorded 13 or 14 songs just for fun, I made cassettes and I called it Foo Fighters because I didn’t really want everyone to know it was me. I thought maybe if I give someone a cassette and they think it’s a band they’ll be surprised when they find out that it’s just one person and that it was me.”
Coming out of the dissolution of Nirvana after singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Grohl said he didn’t want to make a big deal about his first solo project. “One of the reasons why I did that is because when I was young someone gave me a record by an artist named Klark Kent, right?” he said. “It was this kind of weird, fringe thing. Klark Kent? Who’s Klark Kent? It sounded a lot like The Police. It sounded a lot like The Police, because it was actually Stewart Copeland. The drummer of The Police made this record under the name Klark Kent. He didn’t put his name on the record.”
Grohl described first getting that 1980 solo debut from Copeland that was released on 10″ green vinyl on which Copeland, like Grohl years later, sang every vocal and played every single instrument, from drums, guitar and bass to typewriter and kazoo. The mystery appealed to Grohl, who said, “that’s really the thing that inspired me to start the band Foo Fighters and call it Foo Fighters and do the whole thing.”
So, if Grohl is being honest, he thinks Copeland would be the perfect person to induct them, a sentiment echoed by Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins. “If you’ve ever hung out with Stewart Copeland, he can make a f–king speech,” Grohl added. Keep in mind, Grohl said, that answer was just off the top of his head at 6:00 a.m. on the West Coast, completely unofficial, with Stern then asking the rest of the group who they would prefer.
“Dave’s mom,” Smear suggested. “F–k Stewart Copeland! I’m with Pat,” Stern said of Grohl’s retired schoolteacher mother. “All right I’ll ask. Pat’s always right,” Grohl demurred.
The Howard 100 host then asked the band — who just released their swinging 10th studio album, Medicine At Midnight — to weigh in on the hottest controversy in rock right now: Phoebe Bridgers vs. David Crosby.
In case you missed it, “Long Time Gone” classic rock icon Crosby got heated on Twitter after Bridgers bashed her guitar on a monitor and tried to destroy it during her Saturday Night Live performance this weekend. The resulting back-and-forth was humorous, but also set off a debate about gender roles in music, double standards and questions about why Crosby was so angry about a young woman doing something that male rockers have been doing for more than half a century.
“First of all, you have to understand that for the last 10 years every interview I do people say, ‘Is rock and roll dead?’,” Grohl explained. “I don’t think so. I stand at the lip of the stage and there’s like 50,000 people freaking out. Don’t ask me, I don’t think so, I think it’s f–king great!… ‘There’s no guitarist anymore’… so in the last year there’s been this return to guitar rock music in popular music.”
Grohl then lauded Miley Cyrus for “becoming Joan Jett” by adding in grungy guitars and head banging to her repertoire on her Plastic Hearts album even as she remains a “gigantic” pop artist. “So there’s moments where you’re starting to see rock and roll… people realize it’s f–king cool. ‘Oh, rock and roll’s cool?… but I saw that performance man, I actually talked to my mom about it. ‘Did you see Saturday Night Live?’ [she asked]. I said, ‘Yeah!’ She goes, ‘What did you think of that girl Phoebe?’ I said, ‘She’s got a beautiful voice, she can really sing.’ And my mother’s like, ‘I loved it. I thought she was really great.'”
Grohl then compared it to when the Foos go off script and freak out on stage and described how Nirvana went destructo “every f–king night,” recalling how his drums had holes in them from Cobain chopping at them every gig. “But let me tell you, it feels f–king good when you do it,” he said.
The wide-ranging, two hour-plus interview covered a ton of ground, with Grohl telling a hilarious story about th time Britain’s Prince Harry came to visit him in the hospital after the singer broke his leg on stage, dispelling rumors that he was once asked to join Pearl Jam as their drummer, a heartbreaking story about Grohl’s pre-teen daughter asking him a poignant question about Cobain’s personality and a very special cover of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” just for Howard.
Watch the videos from the Stern appearance below.
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) February 10, 2021