Stars Who Can't Stand Dave Grohl

Over a 30-year-plus career in the public eye, as a drummer with Nirvana and frontman for Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl has built up a reputation as one of the kindest people in rock 'n' roll. Seemingly a regular, down-to-earth person who can get along with most anyone in the chaotic world of music, he also speaks out for important causes. This is, after all, the guy who accepted a playful drumming challenge from a 10-year-old and brought rescued miners to a Foo Fighters concert and a meet-and-greet.

But Grohl is human, and not everybody likes everybody. Since the '90s, he's made headlines for his fights with other stars, many of which he worked hard to turn into friendships. For years he and Courtney Love had an ongoing feud, and he briefly made enemies of Ian Astbury of the Cult and Gavin Rossdale of Bush before smoothing things over. Even Kurt Cobain felt a certain way about Grohl and considered tossing him from Nirvana. And yet, Grohl continues to endure tension and criticism from many other prominent public figures who think he is the kind of musician you wouldn't want to meet in real life — because they did, and it went poorly.

William Goldsmith

After Kurt Cobain's death ended Nirvana, Dave Grohl recorded a self-titled 1995 album under the name Foo Fighters, playing almost every instrument on every song. The hit album launched the next chapter of Grohl's career, and he assembled a real band, hiring former Sunny Day Real Estate bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith. The latter would quit Foo Fighters just after the release of the band's sophomore record, "The Colour and the Shape," because making it was a horrible experience for Goldsmith. "Dave had me do 96 takes of one song, and I had to do thirteen hours' worth of takes on another one," he told Miami New Times. "It just seemed that everything I did wasn't good enough for him."

Goldsmith suspected that personnel at Capitol Records and producer Gil Norton wanted Grohl to lay down the drum tracks, as he'd established himself as one of the best percussionists in rock while in Nirvana. And in the end, that's what Grohl did — he replaced nearly all of Goldsmith's laborious drum work with his own on the 1997 record, without informing the musician. "For me, to have that done to you and to continue playing live would have been damaging to my soul," Goldsmith told The Daily Mail of his decision to leave Foo Fighters, and Grohl in particular. "He was a bit like the kid who is popular but is mean and everyone likes them."

John Joseph

About a year after the 2020 instatement of government-mandated rules against public gatherings designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, rock bands started to tour again. Foo Fighters didn't want its concerts to become a place where people might catch a potentially deadly strain of the coronavirus, so it instituted a vaccination policy — fans entering their show at Madison Square Garden in New York City could only do so if they provided written proof that they'd received a full slate of COVID-19 vaccination doses.

Such an act enraged John Joseph, lead singer of the anti-establishment punk band the Cro-Mags. "Like Dave Grohl, who used to play drums for Scream and open up for the Cro-Mags, now he's with the 'Flu Pfizers' ... playing vaccinated only shows," Joseph said on "The Void with Christina" podcast, coining a derisive nickname for Grohl's band by comparing COVID-19 to influenza and mentioning vaccine manufacturer Pfizer. "What kind of bulls*** is that? What kind of f***ing bulls*** are you f***ing dealing with in your f***ing head that you would play a vaccinated-only f***ing show?"

Brent Hinds

Foo Fighters are a mainstream, major-label, middle-of-the-road, industry darling rock band. That constitutes a major shift from frontman and founder Dave Grohl's previous bands — the Washington, D.C., hardcore group Scream and the Seattle-based grunge and punk purveyors Nirvana. What Grohl became — a producer of HBO documentaries and such a fan of classic rock that he recorded with the likes of Rick Springfield, John Fogerty, Paul McCartney, and Joe Walsh — doesn't sit well with Brent Hinds. He's the lead singer and a guitarist in the very loud, very tough, and very hard experimental metal band Mastodon, and in May 2014, he called out Grohl on Instagram.

Along with a photo of Grohl smiling wide and making a "ta-da" gesture in front of a soundboard, Hinds contributed the caption: "Making rock n roll safer with every red carpet all star jam." Hinds quickly deleted the post, but outlets like Stereogum caught and amplified the rocker-on-rocker burn.

Noel Gallagher

In 2019, Foo Fighters headlined the Reading Festival in the United Kingdom. During its Reading set, Foo Fighters paid tribute to Oasis, which split up in 2009 after an altercation between the forever embattled Gallaghers. After drummer Taylor Hawkins, whose drum kit had the brothers' faces on it, Oasis would get back together soon, Grohl followed with an offer to start a petition for their reunion. "We're trying. How many people wanna see Oasis f***ing play a show?" he said.

Grohl is an Oasis fan, but he's gone on record saying that if he had to pick one of the two Gallagher brothers — Noel and Liam — who fronted the group, he'd select Liam. "All the kids want to be him. I loved Oasis, but nobody wants to be Noel, do they?" Grohl said in an interview with QMRQ (via Far Out).

An Oasis reunion isn't likely, as Noel and Liam Gallagher don't get along and don't speak. Noel Gallagher was so offended by Grohl's suggestion that he make music with his brother again that he insulted the musician during a concert in California with his new band, High Flying Birds, a few days after the 2019 Reading Festival. "Any Oasis fans in the house?" Gallagher asked the crowd (via a video captured by a fan). "Is anyone gonna sign that petition Dave Grohl wants to get together to get us back together? I'd like to start a petition to get the Foo Fighters to split up." He went on to curse a bit more about Grohl, throwing some final insults before beginning to play.  

Oderus Urungus

Leading the charge for many years for GWAR, a comic-horror heavy metal band that wears elaborate suits and proclaims themselves to be extraterrestrial monsters, was Oderus Urungus. In real life, that GWAR member and founder was the late Dave Brockie, who in 2013 gave an interview to Artisan News Service in full-GWAR regalia but broke character to rail against the entertainment industry. One of his targets in his anti-mainstream comments: Dave Grohl.

Brockie mentioned that he may have offended the music industry at the 1993 Grammy Awards when he called a nomination for GWAR "a meaningless accolade." That got Brockie going. "Apparently that didn't go over very well with the showbiz community, whom I live to destroy." After calling out the wastefulness of the "privileged elite" taking home costly gift bags at awards shows, he turned his attention to Grohl. "And then Dave Grohl gets up there on the Grammys," Brockie said, before miming several profane gestures implying that the Foo Fighter is bound to an almost sexual level of servitude to the music industry.

Buzz Osborne

Many historical ties link the Melvins and Nirvana. The punk band allowed one of its most famous fans, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, to produce its 1993 album "Houdini," until leader Buzz Osborne fired him over drug-related unreliability. The Melvins and Nirvana played shows together over the latter's entire history, from 1988 to 1994, and both of the surviving members of Nirvana — Dave Grohl and Kris Novoselic — expressed interest in appearing on the Melvins' 2016 album "Basses Loaded." Novoselic would record some tracks, but Grohl bailed. "Dave Grohl had said that he wanted to do all that stuff with us. He wanted to do Nirvana songs with the Melvins," Osborne told Rolling Stone

Instead, Grohl got sidetracked with higher-profile gigs: performing and recording with Paul McCartney and performing at the Academy Awards, for example. "He just never showed up. Blew it off, totally. And it was his idea! I didn't appreciate that, you know?" Osborne said. " One thing I'm not doing is ... waiting for Dave Grohl to call me. When he totally blows you off like that, it's f***ed."

Jennifer Finch

Heavy rock band L7 formed in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and benefited from the early '90s fixation on alternative rock, with attitude-loaded singles like "Pretend We're Dead" and "Andres" grabbing significant radio airplay. The members of L7 and Nirvana frequently ran into each other, as bassist Jennifer Finch's former Sugar Babylon bandmate, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, married Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. Finch and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl were also a couple for a short while, and it's not something that the L7 bassist looks back on with much fondness.

When L7 decided to record its 1992 album "Bricks Are Heavy," it hired producer Butch Vig. At the time, Vig's last big record, Nirvana's "Nevermind," reached the public. "And it blew up," Finch said in the documentary "L7: Pretend We're Dead." Footage captured in the '90s used in the documentary depicts Finch thumbing through a magazine with all of Nirvana, including Grohl, on its cover. "Everywhere I go, everywhere I turn, I see this f***ing face," Finch said, pointing to the drummer. "Frankly, I'm sick of it."

Finch chooses to leave the past in the past and wouldn't watch the Grohl-heavy Nirvana documentary "Montage of Heck." "I have my own memories of those times, and those memories are at a point where they are fading," Finch told The Big Takeover in 2015. "I don't want someone else's ingrained into my brain."

Tina Basich

Dave Grohl started up a romantic relationship in the late 1990s with one of the most influential and accomplished winter sports athletes of the time, snowboarder Tina Basich. She won titles at the X Games and the U.S. Open, and she was the first woman to successfully accomplish a competition backside 720. When she met Grohl, however, she lost focus. "I really changed my priorities when I started dating Dave, because I was really in love with him. And that really changed my snowboarding," Basich told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In 1999, Basich broke a leg, which removed her from snowboarding for months. While she was recovering from that devastating injury, she learned that Grohl had been dating two other women in secret, nor would he answer her calls. And then he broke it off with Basich. "Breakups suck. But Rockstar exits are the worst," Basich wrote in her 2003 memoir, "Pretty Good for a Girl." "All I got was a five-minute phone call from him, after five weeks of me calling and trying to get ahold of him because I just had to know if these rumors were true."

The split had been so profoundly painful for Basich that she couldn't even write about it at first. "It was really hard for me. I rewrote my book five times and not until the fifth rewrite did Dave Grohl make the book," Basich said.

Spencer Elden

When Nirvana broke out commercially in late 1991 and early 1992 with its major-label debut, "Nevermind," the millions-selling LP's photo instantly entered it on the unofficial list of most iconic album covers of all time. The hidden meaning in the album cover highlights the tireless human quest for money, it depicted a naked baby in a swimming pool, moving toward a dollar on a fish hook. Spencer Elden was the model for the "Nevermind" cover, his genitals completely unobscured. As he aged into adulthood, Elden became a minor celebrity for his contribution to a classic album, and he re-created the shot several times, got a "Nevermind" chest tattoo, guested on talk shows, and sold autographed copies of the LP.

By 2021, Elden's pride had given way to shame and alarm. In August of that year, he sued the surviving members of Nirvana (including Dave Grohl), the estate of Kurt Cobain, photographer Kirk Weddle, and various record labels over the photo, deeming it exploitative and pornographic. Elden accused Grohl and his cohort of actively profiting from the distribution of a picture of a naked minor. A few months after the 30th anniversary "Nevermind" re-release in November 2021, Elden's lawyers released a statement."It's past time to finally put an end to the child exploitation and violation of privacy our client has endured for his entire life," it read. In September 2022, the lawsuit was dismissed; in 2023, an appeals court returned it to the docket.

Be sure to check out what Dave Grohl's exes have said about him, and read up on what all of Dave Grohl's former bandmates have said about him if you want to find out how others feel about the drummer.