Read Dave Grohl’s Wistful Story of a Surreal Email Exchange with David Bowie (and Bowie Telling Him to “F*** Off”)

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Ever since launching his new Instagram account, Dave’s True Stories, Dave Grohl has not disappointed.

Each entry has been packed with humor and candidness — both calling cards of the Foo Fighters front man over the years — whether about nearly blowing up a neighborhood with fireworks , playing Ozzfest with his heavy metal heroes or waiting for a phone call from Prince regarding a jam session.

Grohl’s next entry to his Instagram saga is here, having been posted in full to the social media platform on Wednesday morning. The twist in this story is that the “Fuck off” from Bowie to Grohl is NOT, actually, anything angry — merely an exchange of wits between two rock icons.

Now that you’ve read the full story — really, if you haven’t, just look up and read it all — here’s the song, “Jewel,” from Reeves Gabrels, Grohl, Bowie and Frank Black of the Pixies, the song at the heart of Grohl’s entire story:

Before the full story was shared to the masses,  Billboard previewed it with a tantalizing Part 1. This week’s epic is a tale involving Grohl and David Bowie. Specifically, the time David Bowie told Dave Grohl to “f–k off” in an email exchange:

“Well, that’s settled. Now f–k off.”

Frozen in my living room chair, my stomach dropped like a lead weight as I stared down at my laptop screen in horror. Fingers trembling above the cold keyboard, I read and re-read those two sentences over and over again, praying that perhaps it was just some sort of typo, some kind of cruel autocorrect disaster.  But…it was no mistake.

David Bowie had just told me to f–k off.

Believe me, it wasn’t the first time my battered ears had heard such colorful language, but from the “Thin White Duke” himself? What could I have possibly done to illicit such a soul-crushing reaction? Was it something I said? Or, had I done that thing that I always do when faced with a bonifide legend, nervously displaying all of my most annoying tendencies? (There are many, trust me) I retraced all of our brief encounters together over the years, digging back into….My Life with David Bowie (God, how I wish that were the title of my book….)

Like most red-blooded rock musicians, David Bowie provided an indelible addition to the soundtrack of my life from an early age. His first live album, David Live was on regular rotation in my living room when I was a kid, and his classic track “Suffragette City” was quite a hit at the backyard parties I played with my nerdy high school band in the early ’80s (I sang the “Hey Man!” background vocals with the best pre-pubescent shriek I could possibly squeeze out of my skinny little neck). Come to think of it…I can still vividly remember the time I vomited Kung Pao chicken all over my sister’s VW bug after drinking too much cheap beer at a high school party, while the sweet sounds of “Space Oddity” crooned in the background. Ahhhh…..the memories.

But, the album that really stole my heart, and I know that I’ll be drawn and quartered by hardcore Bowie fans for admitting this, was his 1983 masterpiece Let’s Dance. As much as I want to pretend to be in love with his deeper, darker Krautrock/Berlin phase, I really just want to do the Molly Ringwald dance to “Modern Love” everyday for like, 8 hours a day. (Sorry Pitchfork!) Seriously though, those drums, courtesy of Omar Hakim and Tony Thompson, illuminated many a lightbulb in my feeble little brain, and their influence can be heard in every band I’ve played with since. (Upon meeting the late, great Tony Thompson years ago, I confessed that I had stolen more than a few of his drum riffs in my career, to which he replied, “Oh, I know…”) 

In related Grohl topic, here’s his visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live (via remote connection) in which Dave surprises a huge and very deserving fan:

And enjoy this all-star collaboration on the Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These,” a BBC initiative for COVID-19 relief premiered last week:

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