In terms of rock and roll eminence, you do not get much more celebrated than David Bowie or Dave Grohl. Bowie was music’s resident chameleon, utilising musical and aesthetic choices to challenge the status quo and drag society by the hair into the future. Duly, he is one of the most influential musicians of all time, and his impact cannot be overstated.
Grohl was the drummer of Nirvana, perhaps the most influential band of all time after The Beatles, and is now the frontman of Foo Fighters, another legendary outfit in their own right. Inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he makes a claim for being the last true rockstar.
Given that music has a way of bringing icons together, it may come as no surprise to find out that Bowie and Grohl knew each other, and even worked together. Famously, Grohl played the guitar on Bowie’s cover of Neil Young’s ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ from Bowie’s 2002 record, Heathen. Noisy, droning and atmospheric, Bowie, Grohl and crew took the languid psychedelia of the 1968 original and augmented it for the 21st century.
In an interview with ABC News, Grohl remembered the first time he met the legendary British musician in person, and it was a life-affirming moment for the former Nirvana man.
Grohl recalled: “Oh, my God. Well, you know, I remember the first time I saw David Bowie in person was at a festival in England that he was headlining, we were lower down on the bill. And I stood in the photo pit and looked at him and it was like seeing an alien. You know, it was like seeing a UFO for the first time, like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s real’. That’s something I’ve never seen before.”
The Foo Fighters frontman continued: “And then getting to meet him – all of that feeling coming down to Earth, realising, ‘Oh, my God, what a gentleman! What a brilliant, sweet, kind, outrageously funny person!’ And then I recorded a song with him. This [was] years ago, and watching him step in front of a microphone and begin to sing and you realise, ‘Wow, that voice – that’s real, that just comes out of his mouth, that iconic voice!’
This life-affirming moment made Grohl realise that his heroes are human just like everyone else: “The great thing about it is that it really humanises everything. We’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a real person.’ It’s reassuring, but at the same time, you’re like, ‘That’s a hero.’ That’s not just another person. That’s David Bowie.”
This is just another anecdote of the countless many in existence that paints David Bowie as a truly iconic individual, making a significant mark on all those around him, even those who are so revered in their own right. This was the measure of his brilliance.
Listen to ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ below.