The Good Fight

Another bandmates and friend overdosed, Courtney Love was on the warpath again, and his band couldn't even get it together to record a new album. Dave Grohl was experiencing some serious Nirvana deja vu. But somehow, the Foo Fighters survived—wiser, and more metal, than ever.

Dave Grohl SPIN Cover November 2002
Foo Fighters on the November 2002 cover of SPIN / Photo by Shawn Mortensen
WRITTEN BY
Alex Pappademas

After Grohl stopped the sessions, he crashed for a few weeks with Hawkins in Topanga Canyon, and the two began jamming together in Hawkins' tiny home studio. What began as messing around gradually turned into writing and recording. Charged up, the two returned to Grohl's studio and knocked out die basic tracks for One by One in about 12 days.

"A lot of my insecurities — which led to a lot of my drug use — had to do with me not feeling like I was good enough to be in this band, to play drums with Dave," says Hawkins. "And it was never anything that Dave ever said. But [on this album] he pushed me further than he needed to. He could have fuckin' given up on me a long time ago, but he believed in me, so I could get out of that hole."

Adds Grohl: "Taylor's a fucking amazing drummer, and I think we'll be partners in crime for a long time. For the two of us to connect in the studio the way we did was really great. It just added a whole new dimension to our relationship."

When Hawkins was doing drugs, he says, Grohl "always knew and would always let me know he wasn't stoked about it. He was like, 'Hey, it's your life. I care about you, but if you're going to fuck up I don't want to talk to you about it.' But when it happened, when I [OD'd and] woke up [from the coma], Dave was there."

He reaches for a lighter, fires up another Parliament, and grins. "When the Behind the Music happens, I'm gonna look like the boob."

While Hawkins was in the hospital, Grohl seriously considered breaking up the Foo Fighters. The band's early days had been marked by constant turnover, but Grohl felt that he'd finally found a lineup that could last, and he had no desire to continue without any of them. More important, he had already seen one bandmate — one friend — destroyed by drugs and didn't want to watch it happen again. The band stayed together. They returned to the studio. But, says Grohl, playing in the Foo Fighters "was starting to feel like a burden."

SPIN: Even after you got the record back on track, you decided to put the Foo Fighters aside temporarily to tour with Queens of the Stone Age. How did the band feel about that decision?
Grohl: It kinda flipped everybody out. There was this feeling, like, "Oh my God, this is breaking down, and it won't start up again."

Are you speaking for yourself or the other guys in the band?
I remember having a conversation with Nate. He was concerned that I was going to leave and not come back. And I told him, "Man, the Foo Fighters are like my family." I can play drums with another band, and that's fun. But at the end of the day, you come home to this thing that's yours. I mean, fuck, I've got [our logo] tattooed on the back of my neck. I never want it to end.

But you've also said that you don't want to be doing this when you're 33. You're 33 now, aren't you?
Well, I've got another five months. [Laughs]

You're not totally Mick Jagger yet.
I sort of imagine there's some point where it just changes. Where real life begins, and you wake up [snaps his fingers] and then, okay, now it's time to have kids. Which I honestly can't wait to do. At the same time, if the opportunity is there, it seems stupid to not take advantage of it. Like, "Wow, I can make another record? I can go play shows?" It's hard to stop, you know? I love this record more than anything we've ever done. We're a better live band than we've ever been. And you play shows, and it's like, holy shit, 60,000 people are singing "My Hero"? Oh my God, that's amazing. Fuck, I wanna do that tomorrow.

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