MEET DAVE, ROCK DAD

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Review - Con­crete and Gold Foo Fight­ers

Idon’t use an alarm clock; my body wakes me up at 5am ev­ery day, no mat­ter what time I went to sleep. My closet has got 30 pairs of jeans, 30 flan­nel shirts and a bunch of stuff I never wear. I dress like a lum­ber­jack, go down­stairs, make cof­fee, check emails and wait for the stampede.

Our el­dest daugh­ters, Vi­o­let and Harper, turn on the TV or do the home­work they didn’t fin­ish the night be­fore while I make break­fast — ba­con and eggs or but­ter­milk bis­cuits and smooth­ies — and my wife packs lunch. Once they’re dressed, I take the girls to the bus stop. The im­por­tant thing is to get them out the door with a smile and singing songs, from Prince to the SpongeBob record, which Harper still loves.

Af­ter the bus leaves I head back to hang out with Ophe­lia. You know, I’m still chang­ing di­a­pers at 48 years old. One kid wants her nose pierced, one is in di­a­pers. It’s all over the place. I can’t imag­ine the teen years ...

My of­fice is up­stairs. It’s a makeshift stu­dio and some­where to hide. Be­fore we start mak­ing a record, I’ll record by my­self. But on a work­ing day, I’ll head down to the stu­dio in Hol­ly­wood at 10am. There may be one or two Foos, so we’ll have cof­fee and a cou­ple of smokes.

The rea­son we’ve been a band so long is we en­joy each other’s company. There’s not a lot of brood­ing and tor­ture go­ing on. My favourite way to warm up for a gig is to have a whisky and walk on­stage with tears rolling down my face from laugh­ing so hard with the guys. It’s the best.

I did a lot of cook­ing while we were mak­ing the new record. I spe­cialise in slow-cook bar­be­cue. My day was spent check­ing the tem­per­a­ture of the beef brisket, then run­ning in and do­ing a vo­cal or a gui­tar track, check­ing the tem­per­a­ture again, get­ting the corn­bread ready and mak­ing sauce. There’s some­thing to be said for record­ing stu­dios that smell like your mother’s Sun­day roast — it puts ev­ery­one at ease.

In this job, I’ve been lucky to meet some of my he­roes, such as Paul McCart­ney, who is now a friend. It’s great when he comes over. The kids get that he’s a Bea­tle, but not re­ally. So their in­ter­ac­tion is beau­ti­ful be­cause they’re not try­ing to act cool.

There have been a few sem­i­nal gigs over the years. Glas­ton­bury this year was up there. Another was when Nir­vana made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. I got to­gether with my old band­mates Krist [Novoselic] and Pat [Smear, now with Foo Fight­ers], and guests in­clud­ing Joan Jett and Lorde, and we played those songs again — it sounded just like it did, but of course with one thing miss­ing. We hadn’t played a Nir­vana set since Kurt died. Could we do that again? I don’t know.

If I’m not record­ing, I’ll pick Vi­o­let and Harper up from school at 3pm, take them horserid­ing, and make din­ner. I read Ophe­lia sto­ries be­fore bed. Then I talk with the older kids. We talk so long, I for­get they’re meant to be sleep­ing.

Around 9.15pm, my wife and I might have a glass of wine. I love wine. I have a nice col­lec­tion. But I know my­self and once I open a bot­tle, it’s go­ing down the hatch. So I pre­fer to go to bed with­out a drink. Twenty years ago, we’d go on the road for three months and come home for three days. Now ev­ery­one has fam­i­lies, we only stay on the road for a few weeks. Plus, we’re get­ting old! Tour­ing hurts a lit­tle more. So do the hang­overs. That’s why I mostly drink at work. Not a lot of peo­ple can say that. is re­leased on Fri­day. will tour na­tion­ally in Jan­uary.

Dave Grohl; be­low, at Syd­ney’s Ox­ford Arts Fac­tory

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