The letter a 14-year-old Dave Grohl sent to his hero, Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye
Dave Grohl might be one of the most iconic figures in modern-day rock but that doesn’t mean that he is devoid of a couple of embarrassing skeletons in his closet. The man often dubbed ‘the nicest man in rock’ is a life-long, self-proclaimed, music obsessive and, when he was just 14-years-old, there was nobody he admired more than future Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye.
MacKaye founded hardcore pioneers Minor Threat in 1980 and Grohl was like thousands of others who felt as though the movement finally gave them a sense of belonging, one to which they dearly grasped on to like their collective lives depending on it. Minor Threat only stayed together for three years but their legacy has survived, and MacKaye then went on to form Fugazi in 1986 who also achieved iconic status in their own right.
What sets MacKaye apart from other artists in 1980 was his focus on the music and everything associated with his output. Fame and mainstream success was never his prerogative. The anti-establishment ideology shined through not just his output but everything released on his record label Dischord Records, which he co-founded. While Dave Grohl was just a kid, he desperately wanted to be a part of Dischord.
At 14-years-old Grohl knew that his future lied in the music industry and wasn’t afraid of shooting his shot with his idol to try and get a leg up — even if he was still at school at this point. The letter he sent to Dischord Records, and to MacKaye specifically, gloriously reads: “Good thrash so I was wondering if you could give me some numbers of people to get in touch with. It would help. Thanx. David Grohl.”
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about the letter is that Grohl includes his landline phone number so that MacKaye can reach out to him. Still, he does caveat this by noting that he can only accept calls between 3pm-10pm, which is presumably due to school and bedtime conflicts. Now, that’s rock ‘n’ roll.
“My handwriting is still the same,” the Foo Fighters frontman joyously reminisced to NME in 2015 following MacKaye rediscovering the note and sending it to him. “And it’s my old phone number from when I was a kid. The Foo Fighters lead singer then added: “And I said ‘call between 3 and 10′ because I was in fuckin’ 7th grade or whatever it was, and I didn’t wanna wake up my mom.”
Grohl also explains how MacKaye stumbled upon the letter whilst having a scrupulous clear out of his attic and, after 30 years, somehow this piece of music memorabilia had survived. The Foo Fighters man added: “It was this little letter that I sent him. I don’t know what the rest of the letter was. I think I was maybe 14 and I wrote Dischord Records a letter because I wanted someone to release my band’s demo tape, we were called Mission Impossible.”
“Ian MacKaye is a meticulous collector. If you go to his house, he has everything—all of the little old four-track tapes from, like, Minor Threat and Bad Brains. He has everything. He sure as shit didn’t keep it because he thought something was going to happen,” Grohl honestly stated before concluding, “I’m telling you, if the Foos could do a Dischord single, then we could break up. Done deal.”