When you’re talking about 1990s rock music, no discussion will get very far without mentioning either Dave Grohl or Guns N’ Roses. Grohl is a must, considering how he was the drummer for the most legendary ’90s band of all time and then the lead singer for another one of the most iconic bands to get their start in the ’90s. Guns N’ Roses arguably had a better spell in the 1980s than ’90s, but they were still arguably the biggest band in the world at the time, even weathering the grunge explosion as one of the few bands to survive the death of hair metal.
At one point, Grohl was actually an adversary of Guns. The aggressors were actually Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose, whose feud spilt over into real life during the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. Rose challenged Cobain to a fight after telling him to shut Courtney Love up, and after Nirvana trashed their equipment following a performance of ‘Lithium’, Grohl stepped up to the mic and mocked Rose repeatedly. Cobain also wound up spitting on a piano he thought was going to be played by Rose, but he had actually spit on Elton John’s piano.
All of that appears to be water under the bridge, however, as Grohl hopped onstage during the 2021 BottleRock Napa Valley festival to help lend his voice and guitar to the Guns N’ Roses classic ‘Paradise City’. One might assume that, given his comfort on the instrument and the notoriously rotation-heavy drum stool in Guns, Grohl would rather have been seated behind the kit. Grohl gets his licks in up at the front of the stage, however, and appears to be having a hell of a time doing it.
Before the opening chord of ‘Paradise City’ rings out, Rose jokes to the audience that Grohl had never heard the song before and “had a little time backstage to learn the song”. Foo Fighters were co-headlining the festival with Guns, so it only made sense that Grohl would hop up for a brief guest appearance.
At one point, Grohl shares a mic with both Slash and Duff McKagen on the song’s anthemic chorus. ‘Paradise City’ is one of the few Guns songs, along with ‘Patience’, where Slash wanders over to the microphone, and having a screamer like Grohl by your side probably helps give you some confidence in your vocals. Knowing Grohl’s preference for Gibson Trini Lopez guitars, it seems likely that Grohl is instead borrowing one of Richard Fortus’ guitars. Fortus has a fleet of Gretsch guitars that he often plays with during Guns’ shows, and it looks as though Grohl is playing Fortus’ signature G6636-RF model.
Check out the performance of ‘Paradise City’ down below.