Dave Grohl’s is one of the prominent rock stars of the last 30 years, and his position at the top of the mountain pile of music is looking increasingly hard to dislodge. For many, Grohl’s work with Foo Fighters has been their introduction to rock ‘n’ roll, but it was a band from a more obscure line of work that the frontman himself first witnessed live.
Grohl’s influence on rock music is undeniable, but a gig that he attended as a child is what changed his life. The experience, like for many, offered him the affirming feeling that has since passed on to countless souls all over the globe over the last 30 years. Not only is he the beaming frontman of Foo Fighters, who are arguably the biggest group on the planet right now – which they’ve earned through decades of blistering material – but he is famously a pillar of the grunge community.
Before he created the Foo’s, Grohl got his break as the drummer of Nirvana and helped the band go from a relatively successful Seattle grunge act into the most important group of a decade. He’s played every type of venue throughout his career, whether it’s the toilet circuit or stadiums and arenas, Grohl has done it.
In fact, it was at a venue that you’d never catch Foo Fighters appearing at these days that Grohl got his first taste of live music, and like many of us, it was at a grassroots local sweat pit. “My God… The first artist I ever saw in concert was a band called Naked Raygun, which was a punk-rock band from Chicago,” the singer told New York radio station Q104.3. “I saw them at this tiny little hole in the wall across the street from Wrigley Field, this place called The Cubby Bear. This is, like, 1982 or 1983.”
Adding: “I’d never seen a band before and my cousin took me to see a punk-rock band, and it totally changed my life. So I would be in lockdown with one of my favourite punk-rock bands of all time and I would probably be in heaven.”
Naked Raygun are still going strong today and are gearing up to release their first album in 31-years. They’ve had various reunions throughout this period, even opening up for Foo Fighters on their Sonic Highways World Tour, which must have been an out of body experience for Grohl as the band who kickstarted his love affair with music were now his warm-up act.
Speaking about the tour, Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezzati told SPIN: “We know he’s been giving shout-outs to the band for years at concerts, especially in Chicago, but I don’t think he’s really had the opportunity to do anything for us until then. He came and interviewed me and then had me play at the Cubby Bear, one song, ‘Surf Combat.’
“It’s 58 seconds long, but that was fun. Then the next day they asked us to play Wrigley, which is really nice of him. He didn’t have to do that, but he did, and we appreciate it. He seems to be very genuine. His band is all very nice people too. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got the world by the ass.”
From the moment he attended his first concert, Grohl knew he’d graduate from the crowd to the stage one day. It would have been a dream to him that one day he could sell out The Cubby Bear like his heroes. Little did he ever dream that he’d go full circle, headline the Wrigley Field in Chicago with Naked Raygun opening up the sell-out show.