Dave Grohl: “Something happened that morning that was really special.”
March 18, 1998:
“This will be interesting. I’ve never had to do this acoustic. It’s the first time,” Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl, says to Howard Stern — as his first appearance on the show along with drummer Taylor Hawkins winds down.
“Wow, that’s great,” says Stern as Grohl rings out the last, “You’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when.”
July 18, 2015 (the last time I saw Foo Fighters live):
Saturday night, Fenway Park, Boston, MA. Just as the sun was setting, Foo Fighters take the stage behind a giant backdrop displaying their logo. A few raspy, yet signature screams fill the air, followed by a raucous “are you ready?” from a hidden Dave Gohl. All of sudden you hear the first drop D notes played from Grohl’s guitar (you can hear them but you still can’t see the band yet). “Everlong,” Foo Fighters biggest hit to date, opens the show. About 20 seconds into the song, right before the first word, which is “hello,” the backdrop is lifted and the band explodes into the song. A little reverse psychology perhaps as your most well-known hit often closes the set. From where I am, I see people bolt out of the merch line, flood through the tunnels, spill beers and sprint into the stadium. The seats literally fill in seconds. I’m amazed on how just a few phrases of one song have this effect on people.
I then think about the time I really got hooked on “Everlong”. It was that ’98 Stern Show appearance. Grohl played it spur of the moment (something that only happens with Howard), and stripped down in a manor that made it so genuinely heartfelt and melodic. The much heavier album version from The Color and Shape had previously been released as a single during the summer of 1997.
The Stern Show campfire style performance went on to further catapult that song to the point where it’s been their trademark hit ever since. There’s an acoustic version of “Everlong” on Foo Fighters’ 2009 Greatest Hits record — you have to wonder if there would have been if not for that impromptu three minutes, per the King of all Media request, 20 years ago this week.
Dave Grohl has always been very sincere about how that one solo rendition changed his life. He performed it live again, in the same fashion, during Howard Stern’s star-filled, 60th birthday show special in 2014.
In late 2015, on SiriusXM radio, the Howard Stern news team played a clip of Grohl discussing the Grohl acoustic “Everlong” performance. It’s truly remarkable what that early Wednesday morning unexpectedly meant for one of the world’s biggest rock bands today.
*Quoted from SiriusXM’s Howard 100
Dave Grohl states:
“The first time I went on the show I was horrified. He really was someone I grew up listening to. I was really intimidated and kind of nervous. I hadn’t done much with an acoustic guitar live. I used it for writing, not really for performing. We got into the studio and he asked if I’d play a song. I was kind of nervous; A.- because it was so early, but also just because I hadn’t ever really done that with an acoustic in front of people.
I don’t remember if he requested “Everlong” or if I just started playing it, but it turned out really well. I hadn’t realized what I’d done until later when he started playing it on his show and people at our record company were really into it. They wanted to kind of start working it as a single. I think this is long after it had been a single, the rock version.
Something happened that morning that was really special. And I don’t know if it was because I was just so spooked by being there, or you know, sitting next to someone that you’ve grown up listening to and looking up to. Having to play a song like that on acoustic guitar at 7 o’clock in the morning, there was something about it that sort of changed the direction of our band. Up until then, we really focused on rock stuff. Something happened that morning where we thought ‘Wow, maybe we can do this too.’
That song blew up all over again because of that version and it was purely because of Howard. It sounds crazy, but I don’t know where we’d be right now if it hadn’t been for that morning in his studio. Or what we would’ve done if we hadn’t open up that door to doing acoustic stuff. So you know, we owe that guy a drink for sure.”
Other “Everlong” notes:
Memorable performance on Dave Letterman’s final show
Grohl plays the drum track on the original album recording, as Hawkins had not yet joined the band
Grohl explained to Stern that he wrote the song at a time when all his assets were frozen. He was living in a sleeping bag in the back room of vocalist Pete Stahl’s house.
AW’s Foo Fighters Catalog:
The Art of Foo Fighters’ ‘Concrete & Gold’
Why Foo Fighters Are The Perfect Rock Band. (Because they are imperfect).
How Foo Fighters at Frome’s Cheese and Grain Came To Be
Inside The Unparalleled Creativity of Foo Fighters
The Inspiration of Foo Fighters — in 10 Stunning Lyrics
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