As Foo Fighters celebrated the release of their tenth studio album, Medicine At Midnight, frontman Dave Grohl checked in with Jimmy Fallon for a remote interview on The Tonight Show. Foo Fighters also offered up a pre-recorded live take on “Waiting On A War” for the late-night program.
The 16-time Grammy-winner joked with Fallon about the band’s big plans to release Medicine At Midnight—”a party record … songs that have groove and they’re gonna make people bounce [at] the stadiums and festivals bounce”—in conjunction with their 25th anniversary during a pandemic-stricken 2020, explaining that they initially decided to delay its release but eventually got tired of waiting.
Grohl also explained that the “groove-oriented” sound of the new record, a departure from the norm for the band, came as a conscious decision. When Fallon noted that the album’s title track reminded him of David Bowie‘s “Let’s Dance”, Dave laughed, “This is the thing! We’re roughly the same age, grew up listening to rock bands that made albums that you could, like, do the Molly Ringwald dance to, you know, albums that you could kind of get down to, David Bowie records or Rolling Stones records, and even long before that, Sly & The Family Stone—we were all raised on that type of music. We never thought that we would apply that to what we do, but I was like, ‘why not?’ At this point it’s like, everything I say is a dad joke, everything I wear … they’re like sweatpants and Crocs or whatever. Let’s do this [does Molly Ringwald dance]. I wanna see a stadium doing this.”
The topic of David Bowie brought about an always-welcome edition of Dave’s True Hollywood Stories starring the Starman. After meeting Bowie briefly at his 50th birthday event at Madison Square Garden in 1997, Grohl was asked to play drums on a track Bowie was recording in Los Angeles. “So I got to record with Bowie,” he explained. “I got to watch him step in front of a microphone, do one take—perfectly—and the sound out of his mouth was ‘David Bowie.’ It absolutely blew my mind.”
Later, Grohl was working on a piece of music for a “Marvel movie kinda thing” and needed a singer, so he reached out to Bowie. “I said, ‘Here, listen to this thing, maybe you’d like to sing on it.’ And time went by, I didn’t hear anything.” Finally, he got an email back from Bowie in which the singer graciously turned down the offer but expressed his earnest desire to collaborate in the future. Grohl was sufficiently satisfied with the negative response. As he recounted to Fallon, “So, I’m sitting in my living room reading this like, ‘Oh my god. David Bowie writes emails. This is blowing my mind right now. So I immediately—I didn’t wanna take up any more of his time—I said, ‘Thanks for responding. I hope you’re well. Take care.’ And then one minute later, he emails back and he says, ‘Well, that’s settled then. Now f— off.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my god, holy crap, David Bowie just told me to f— off!'”
“He’s being funny,” Fallon laughed. “I didn’t know that!” protested Grohl. “I was like, ‘David Bowie thinks I’m an a—hole.'” Eventually, Grohl realized that Bowie was taking the piss, and the exchange wound up blossoming into an off-kilter email penpal relationship of sorts. As Dave explained, “He would email me in like June and say, ‘Well, happy new year!’ … I’d say, ‘Drinks someday, yes?’ And he’d immediately email me back and say, ‘I will, thanks!’ … I couldn’t tell, I’m like, maybe, he’s on a health kick. I’m like, ‘Nuts and muffins?’ And he’d email back and say, ‘Those are my attornies.’ S— like that.” Watch Dave Grohl tell Fallon about David Bowie messing with him via email below.
Dave Grohl Talks Getting Turned Down By David Bowie
Grohl also talked about the relatively unintentional formation of Foo Fighters, which grew out of solo demos he recorded in his basement during his years playing with Nirvana. The band emerged as an outlet after Nirvana disbanded, a way to get back out on the road. Grohl also spoke about moving from the drummer role in Nirvana to playing guitar and singing in Foo Fighters. Watch the segment below:
Dave Grohl On The Difficulty Of Being Lead Singer & Drummer – The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Finally check out the live performance of “Waiting On A War” featured as part of the Tonight Show appearance below.
Foo Fighters – “Waiting On A War” – The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Medicine At Midnight, the tenth studio album by Foo Fighters, is now available on digital platforms. Stream it from the platform of your choice here or listen via Spotify below.
Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight – Full Album