What All Of Dave Grohl's Former Bandmates Have Said About Him

It's hard to say rock 'n' roll without thinking of Dave Grohl one way or another. He's jammed with Queens of the Stone Age, Paul McCartney, Tenacious D ... oh yeah, he also played drums in Nirvana, and he's the frontman of Foo Fighters.

As it turns out, no one who's ever played with Grohl has a bad thing to say about him. He's often praised in interviews for being a great musician and friend, and generally an all-around good guy. It's this joie de vivre and love for rock (and love for love) that make Grohl the passionate musician that so many other musicians praise. Let's see what all of Grohl's former bandmates have said about him.

Krist Novoselic

Krist Novoselic founded Nirvana together with Kurt Cobain in 1987 — according to Michael Azerrad's "Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana," it took a while until Cobain convinced Novoselic to form a band with him. As per Metal Castle, Dave Grohl only joined the band three years later, in 1990, with the 1991 hit album "Nevermind" being his debut. In an interview with Uncut, Novoselic described just how instant Grohl's connection with the rest of the band was: "It flowed, it sounded good, it was immediate. It just fell into place, there was no awkwardness. Dave is such a good musician, he rose to the occasion -– or we rose to him, whichever way it happened."

After Cobain's untimely death in 1994, Grohl didn't feel like Nirvana could continue — as he told Rolling Stone, he was deeply affected by the death of his friend. Grohl eventually formed the Foo Fighters, and he considered bringing Novoselic as the bass player. But as he told Rolling Stone back in 1995 (via the Foo Archive), it wouldn't have quite been a great experience for the rest of the band. 

Not officially being a part of the Foo Fighters hasn't kept the two from continuing to collaborate. During his CBGB Festival Keynote speech in 2012, Novoselic sang Grohl's praises, saying it's always fun for them to work together and that Grohl has earned every success and accomplishment. 

Pat Smear

Pat Smear was the only Nirvana member to go on to join Dave Grohl in the Foo Fighters — as Far Out reports, it was a pretty bumpy ride. But as he told Rolling Stone in 2021, Smear is back with the band now, and he has a lot of admiration for Grohl: "Dave is a life lover. And I love that, because in the band I was in before with Dave, we did not have a life lover." Of course, he is speaking about Kurt Cobain.

According to Smear, playing with Grohl fills you with a love of life and good energy that simply did not exist in Nirvana: "Every night when he sings the line 'I never want to die,' I look at him every time and think of Kurt. Every single time. Because Kurt was, 'I hate myself and I want to die.' And that's the opposite-ness of them. And I do so love being with life lovers."

Mike Watt

As Rolling Stone reports, back in 1995, Dave Grohl played drums on (former Minutemen bassist) Mike Watt's debut solo album, "Ball-Hog or Tugboat?" In fact there was an impressive lineup of artists that Watt and Grohl teamed up with for that album — Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Flea, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and even Groh's ex-bandmate Krist Novoselic. This large group was as eclectic as they were powerful, and they followed Watt's album with a tour that was just as creative — as Watt recalls, Grohl could play a mean surf guitar, as per the Observer

But it wasn't Grohl's surf guitar that left the biggest mark on Watt — it was, perhaps unsurprisingly, his drum playing. Watt commented in 2011 (via Rolling Stone): "One of the most blow-away players. I know he doesn't like to play drums much nowadays, but man he was something else."

Josh Homme

When NME showed Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme a picture of Dave Grohl, Homme said, "That's my brother from another mother." Homme and Grohl have been good friends for quite some time. As Music Radar reports, the two were already old friends back in 2002, when Homme called Grohl, asking him to play drums on QOTSA's album, "Songs for the Deaf." At the time, Grohl was going through some turmoil with the Foo Fighters and was eager to take a break and play with Homme instead. The result was an exceptional one — to this day, "Songs for the Deaf" is praised for its unique sound and raw, heavy drumming.

In 2009, Homme and Grohl got together again, forming heavy rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures together with Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Homme told Westword how playing with Grohl felt: "It almost felt like a lot of dumb smiling, because everyone was really excited to see what would happen." It's unclear just how far back their friendship goes, but it goes both ways. As Grohl told NME, "When Josh [Homme] and I play, it's like a conversation between two old friends that have had too much to drink." Apparently, hysterical laughing was the norm during "Songs for the Deaf."

Jack Black

When actor and musician Jack Black discovered Nirvana (and more precisely, their "Nevermind" album), he was blown away, as he confessed to Heavy Consequence (via Far Out): "Nirvana simultaneously created a genre and destroyed a genre with one powerful album." Of course, Dave Grohl played the drums on the album and on the 1991 San Francisco show that Black attended. Black's first impression about Grohl lasts to this day: "Who's that drummer ... there's no question, he's the best drummer alive right now. The ... thunder that came out of his kit was second to none."

Then, in a pretty funny twist, it was Grohl who became a fan of Black's comedic metal group Tenacious D. In the early 1990s, Black remembers Grohl going backstage before Tenacious D's Viper Room gig and telling the band he was eager to see them play. When Tenacious D were preparing their first album, Black didn't really consider phoning Grohl, simply because he thought he was too big a legend to play with them. Eventually, Black's producers convinced him, and Grohl has ended up playing drums on all of Tenacious D's albums and even starred as the devil on their "Tribute" video.

Taylor Hawkins

When Taylor Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters as their drummer, he did so half-heartedly. Dave Grohl was already a legendary drummer. How was he going to compete with that? Hawkins spoke to Rolling Stone in 2021 and recalled just how difficult his first years with the band were. When he saw Grohl play live with Queens of the Stone Age during their 2002 "Songs for the Deaf" tour, Hawkins thought, "There's the best drummer in the world again, and I'm the little dumb s*** behind him that just ... does whatever I'm told and tries to play 'Everlong' as good as him and I can't."

Of course, this wasn't what his other bandmates — including Grohl — thought of him. Grohl proved to be a great friend and mentor to Hawkins. When Hawkins had a breakdown and told Grohl he didn't think he could keep up with the pressure, Grohl gave him all the support he needed until he gained confidence again. "I did half the drums on it, because he ... held my hand through it, like an older brother, best friend does. That's why we're here today," said Hawkins.

Kurt Cobain 1991

On November 23, 1991, Kurt Cobain spoke to Studio Brussel on the same day as their show in Ghent, which promoted their fresh "Nevermind" album. During the interview, Cobain was asked about the band's lineup, and he discussed having numerous fleeting drummers until hiring Dave Grohl in 1990. That's when things changed for Cobain: "This is the first time we've ever felt like a very definite unit. The band is finally complete because all the other drummers we had pretty much sucked."

Cobain also described himself, Grohl, and Krist Novoselic as music lovers. He told Studio Brussel that, although he was the main songwriter in Nirvana, making their songs was a collective process — as the three of them played together, new ideas emerged and the songs took their final shape. Cobain spoke about his friendship with Grohl and Novoselic as being more valuable than their creative collaboration: "Sometimes that's the most appreciative time we have with music, it's just being together, 'cause we're good friends and we play music. Sometimes we just get drunk, you know? We want to have fun."

Paul McCartney

There are few more honorable moments than having ex-Beatle and musical legend Paul McCartney introduce you as "my friend, your hero" on stage. And not just any stage: As Rolling Stone reports, in June 2022, McCartney celebrated his 80th birthday at the Glastonbury Festival (and became the oldest musician to rock its stage). Dave Grohl made a surprise appearance during the show, his first live show since the tragic and sudden death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins on March 25, 2022. Of course, Macca describing Grohl as "your hero" is a cheeky hats-off to Foo Fighters' famous song, "My Hero." But Grohl and McCartney really are friends, and they have great respect for each other.

Macca spoke about Grohl at the Godlike Genius NME Awards in 2011: "Some people are great drummers, some people are great guitarists — Dave is both. And then some people are great musicians and some people are great people, and he's both again." Coming from the ex-Beatle, this means a lot for Grohl. As he wrote on Dave's True Stories (via the Things), when he met Macca, Grohl thought, "I don't recall exactly how Paul and I were introduced, what was said, or how long we talked, but I do remember putting on my best 'this is not the most incredible thing ever to happen to me' face while trying to keep from making a fool of myself."

John Paul Jones

When Dave Grohl played with Them Crooked Vultures back in 2009, he played alongside Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and legendary bass player John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Just like Homme, Jones is known for his experimental, at times heavy metal sounds (see his 2002 album, "The Thunderchief") — as Rolling Stone reports, he's collaborated with a myriad of rock legends and influenced many others. But his rockstar status doesn't mean he wasn't himself inspired by Grohl.

In a clip from the Godlike Genius NME Awards in 2011, he said, "I first became aware of Dave in Nirvana. The thing I noticed is that there was this maniac at the back, just thrashing from whatever his life was worth at the time. It was a hell of a noise, and he seemed to drive the whole band." Jones spoke about the experience of playing with Grohl: "Playing live on stage is very, very exciting. I mean he's bloody loud, but he's really good fun." Perhaps it's his very loudness — or passion and energy — that makes Grohl such a fun bandmate.

Liam Howlett

Back in 2009, apart from forming the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, releasing an album, and touring with them, Dave Grohl also played the drums for the Prodigy's song "Run With the Wolves" for the "Invaders Must Die" album, as Rolling Stone reports. But according to Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett, it's "Run With the Wolves" that hits the mark the most, and it's thanks to Grohl's aggressive drumming (via the Guardian): "Dave emailed us to see what we were up to and offered his services. It was really inspiring. It's definitely the most venomous track on the album. ... It's wicked."

Howlett also spoke to BBC Radio One (via Music Radar) to explain that it really was thanks to Grohl that the track was even written in the first place. "He really loves drumming and [wanted] to get back into it," Howlett said. "He sent me some drums on a hard-drive with hope that it might inspire me to write a song — sure enough when I got the hard-drive it was really inspirational. Within the first 10 seconds of it being on I was like 'Yeah this is a song.'" 

Howlett went on to say that "Invaders Must Die" was, in his opinion, the best Prodigy album at the time — all with a little help from Grohl.

Juliette Lewis

As Rolling Stone reports, Juliette Lewis, the lead singer of Juliette and the Licks, describes Dave Grohl both as a great guy and a godlike rockstar. The two collaborated in 2006, when Grohl played the drums on Juliette and the Licks' album "Four on the Floor." Lewis told Rolling Stone about the time she met Grohl a few years before: "Dave was just really supportive of us, and I felt I could talk to him about anything." But when they actually played together, she was in awe: "To be next to that kind of powerhouse of a player, I always joke like it was being next to Zeus." 

Then, in 2011, Lewis spoke at the Godlike Genius NME Awards, recommending Grohl for the award: "Just to be six feet from him while he's playing is goosebumps. I think your Godlike Genius award is very fitting because that's what I felt, I felt like I was in the heavens with Zeus, the God of gods, playing ... drums."


In 2021, Dave Grohl was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with every other member of the Foo Fighters. And who better to give the induction speech than Paul McCartney? According to him, Grohl's musical journey mirrors his in virtually every way (via Variety): "So me ... just an ordinary kid going to school like everybody else. And then one day, I heard some music, and I fell into rock 'n' roll... by the same time in his life, Dave did the same kind of thing. You know, he's just an ordinary, kind of goofy kid... He falls through the same hole, and he's in rock 'n' roll."

But being goofy kids is not the only thing McCartney and Grohl have in common. Both musicians were in legendary bands not immune to tragedy, and both have had the opportunity to enjoy a successful second phase of their careers. Macca compared the Foo Fighters to his band, Wings — incredible second acts that made an impact, even after Nirvana and the Beatles. McCartney thus praised Grohl for his incredible resilience and creative energy. Finally, he said he felt very privileged to be inducting Grohl into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As per his speech at the ceremony, Macca considers the Foo Fighters one of the greatest bands in history, and he never misses an opportunity to praise Grohl for it.

Kurt Cobain 1993

By now, it's clear that Dave Grohl is a revered musician and a pleasure to be around ... for most. But if there's one musician who considered replacing him, it was Kurt Cobain himself, toward the end of Nirvana, in 1993. 

In a 2021 interview with Vulture, Grohl recalled a time when he heard Cobain rant about finding another drummer to replace him: "I could hear Kurt saying, 'I think we need a drummer that's more rudimental, along the lines of Dan Peters,' who was the guy they almost hired when I joined the band." Understandably, Grohl was upset, thinking Nirvana was a solid threesome. He notes, in an interview with The Big Issue, that there was dysfunction in the band. 

Apparently, in 1992, a year before Grohl overheard Cobain's comments, the Nirvana drummer had received a letter from Cobain in which the frontman told Grohl he "loved him like a brother" and was looking forward to their "In Utero" recording sessions so that the two could get back on track with being more comfortable around each other, as per Psychobabble (via Foo Archive).

While Nirvana continued on with Grohl as drummer, the band would come to a sudden halt not very long after.