Childhood & Early Life
He was born on January 14, 1969, in Warren, Ohio, USA, to James Grohl and his wife Virginia Grohl. His parents divorced when he was six and he was raised by his mother.
At 12, he started learning the guitar, but did not like the lessons taught to him. As a result, he taught himself and began playing in bands with friends. During one of his summer vacations, he was introduced to punk rock by his cousin Tracy who took him to various punk band performances in Illinois. He saw his first live concert at Chicago by a Chicago-based punk rock group called ‘Naked Raygun.’
He enrolled as a freshman in ‘Thomas Jefferson High School,’ Virginia and was voted the vice-president of his new class. But he was transferred to ‘Bishop Ireton High School,’ Alexandria, by his mother as his grades got badly affected due to his drug addiction. He stayed there for two years before getting transferred to ‘Annandale High School,’ Virginia.
During his high school years, he played extensively with several local bands, including ‘Freak Baby.’ Meanwhile, he learnt to play drums on his own.
In his late-teens, he went to ‘The 9.30 Club’ on a regular basis. It was a live music concert venue in Washington, D.C. which influenced his life to a large extent.
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At 17, he auditioned and got selected as the drummer for a hardcore punk band called ‘Scream’ for which he dropped out of high school in his junior year. He traveled extensively with the band and recorded many live albums with them out of which ‘No More Censorship’ and ‘Fumble’ became very popular.
In the late-1990s, ‘Scream’ got disbanded and he went to Seattle to audition for ‘Nirvana.’ He joined the band full-time after getting selected, and they signed a deal with a major record label called ‘DGC Records.’ Thereafter, the band recorded their first album ‘Nevermind’ and released it.
Meanwhile, disappointed with his status in the band as a struggling drummer, he went on to compose lyrics and songs all by himself. In 1992, he compiled and released his own cassette ‘Pocketwatch’ on Indie label ‘Simple Machines’ under the pseudonym Late! Apart from this, he also played drums for Buzz Osborne’s solo-EP.
Before embarking on their European tour in 1994, he and Krist Novoselic of ‘Nirvana’ worked on many demos at ‘Robert Lang Studios’ in Seattle. They later recorded a demo of the song ‘You know you’re right’ which was the band’s last studio recording.
In April 1994, ‘Nirvana’ came to a halt with Kurt Cobain’s death. In October, he recorded a 15-track demo at ‘Robert Lang Studio’ in Seattle where he played all the instruments on his own.
In 1995, he formed his own rock band, incorporating various music artists, including Nirvana’s guitarist Pat Smear, William Goldsmith, and Nate Mendel of ‘Sunny Day Real Estate.’ Along with the band, he recorded an album, comprising majorly of his own demos to which professional touches were given by Rob Schnapf and Tom Rothrock. The album was finally released in July 1995 as their debut album and the band was named ‘Foo Fighters.’
In 1997, he composed several soundtracks for the movie ‘Touch’ where he played all the instruments himself apart from lending his voice to the songs. After the recording session was over, he joined ‘Foo Fighters’ to work with them on their second album.
In May 1997, the ‘Foo Fighters’ came out with their second album ‘The colors and the shape.’ The album, which included several smash-hits, such as ‘Ever Long’ and ‘My Hero,’ became a chartbuster. Meanwhile, Taylor Hawkins joined the band on drums and Smear was replaced by ‘Scream’ band member Franz Stahl, who was later replaced by the touring guitarist Chris Shiflett.
On June 14, 2005, he came out with his fifth album ‘In Your Honor’ after shifting from his home-based ‘Virginia Studio’ to ‘Studio 606,’ Los Angeles. The album featured collaboration works with John Paul Jones, Josh Homme, and Norah Jones.
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In June 2008, he joined Paul McCartney’s band for a concert at the ‘Anfield Football Stadium,’ Liverpool. The concert was part of the central events of the English city's year as ‘European Capital of Culture.’
On April 12, 2011, ‘Wasting Light’ was released as their seventh album. It received mostly positive reviews from music critics and was claimed to be a hard-hitting rock with soaring choruses.
‘The Foo Fighters’ released their eighth studio album ‘Sonic Highways’ in 2014.
In 2015, he appeared in an episode of ‘The Muppets’ where he competed in a "drum off" with ‘Animal.’
Their ninth studio album ‘Concrete and Gold’ was released in 2017. It became the band's second album to debut at number one on the ‘Billboard 200.’ The following year, Grohl released ‘Play,’ a solo recording lasting over 22 minutes.
In February 2019, Grohl appeared in the 50th anniversary season of ‘Sesame Street.’
In 1993, ‘Nirvana’ released ‘In Utero’ which included one of his self-composed songs ‘Marigold’ (originally ‘Colors of a Marigold’). Meanwhile, he also recreated the music of ‘The Beatles’ for the movie ‘Backbeat.’
In 1999, he recorded Foo Fighter’s third album ‘There is Nothing Left to Lose’ in his basement-turned-recording studio. Its single ‘Learn to fly’ went on to become a runaway success.
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In 2002, he helped Chan Marshall of ‘Cat Power’ for the album ‘You Are Free.’ He also played with ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ for their album. Soon, he re-recorded his own album at a studio in Virginia and released it as ‘One by One.’
On November 23, 2002, he made it to the top of the ‘Billboard Modern Rock’ chart with ‘All My Life’ by ‘Foo Fighters.’ Thereafter, he remained at the top for quite some time.
On September 25, 2007, he released his sixth album ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace.’ Soon after, they released their ‘Greatest Hits’ collection, bringing together 16 tracks including an unreleased acoustic version of ‘Everlong’ and two fresh tracks, namely ‘Wheels’ and ‘Word Forward.’
In 2009, he recorded with Josh Homme and John Paul Jones as part of a rock super group named ‘Them Crooked Vultures.’ They released their debut album on November 16, 2009 under the same name.
In 2013, he debuted as a director with a documentary film titled ‘Sound City’ which was all about the studio where ‘Nevermind’ was recorded during his days with ‘Nirvana.’ The studio had stopped functioning by 2011. The film received positive reviews.
Awards & Achievements
In 1993, his band ‘Nirvana’ won the British Phonographic Industry’s annual award under the ‘Best International Newcomer’ category.
In 2000, he received a ‘Grammy Award’ along with his band ‘Foo Fighters’ for their music video ‘Learn to Fly.’
In 2001, he won a ‘Grammy Award’ under the ‘Best Rock Album’ category for ‘There is Nothing Left to Lose.’ This was followed by more ‘Grammy’ awards under the same category for his albums, ‘One by One,’ ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace,’ and ‘Wasting Light.’
In 2002, he was inducted into the ‘Washington DC Music Hall of Fame’ for his significant achievement as a musician.
In 2003, he was presented with a ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’ for his song ‘All My Life’ from Foo Fighters’ fourth album ‘One by One.’
In 2008, he won a ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’ for the song ‘The Pretender’ from the group’s album ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace.’
In 2011, he and his band mates won the ‘Radio Contraband Major Label Artist of the Year’ for his band ‘Foo Fighters.’
In 1994, he married a photographer named Jennifer Youngblood. Jennifer worked along with him, including shooting the photographs for Nirvana’s ‘Unplugged in New York’ and doing artwork image for Foo Fighter’s debut album. Their marriage was short-lived as they separated in 1997.
On August 2, 2003, he married Jordyn Blum whom he had met in the ‘Sunset Marquis’ hotel bar in Los Angeles. The couple has three children, Violet Maye, Harper Willow, and Ophelia Saint.