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Q & A: Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl misses caring for his own lawn. The Foo Fighters’ singer/guitarist left his home in Virginia for California two years ago, where the “landscaping’s a little too complicated for me to fuck up.” Ensconced in the band’s “multimedia facility” (i.e., recording studio) in the San Fernando Valley, which he describes as his hometown relocated to the middle of Mexico, Grohl drops the f-bomb more times than Ozzy Osbourne programming his TiVo and talks about the Foos’ new double album, In Your Honor.

SPIN: Do you ever feel like the luckiest man alive?
Oh, every fucking day. Honestly. I think about that all the time.

Do you think you’re luckier than Ringo Starr?
Well, no, that guy won the lottery. But I’ve been able to do what I love to do for the last 18 years.

So you’re not lying awake at night filled with existential dread.
No, not at all. In ’97, when we were making our second record, everybody was quitting the band; I was going through a divorce and living in [former Scream bandmate] Pete Stahl’s back room in a sleeping bag. At night I would sit down and write out all of my problems. “This member’s leaving. This member’s quitting.” You know, charts and pie graphs. Just to single them out and fucking work through them one at a time.

You probably had all kinds of therapeutic options, living in California.
What, whiskey? This is my therapist, Crown Royal. Have you met?

So you just drank through the pain and got to the other side?
I’ve experienced great things, I’ve experienced great tragedies. I’ve done almost everything I could possibly ever imagine doing, but I just know that there’s more. When you get that call, you go, “Oooh. I get to play on the Nine Inch Nails record? Fuck, yes.”

It seems like your life never stops being fun.
Kind of. It can get tiring. But I don’t really like to sleep anymore. It’s funny; recently I’ve started to notice people’s impersonations of me, and it’s basically like a hyperactive child. I’m a big fucking spaz. It’s tough to go to sleep at night, and I wake up after five hours because I feel like I’m wasting time. I just sit up at night and think about what I can do next. Next!

I’ve read that the title of your new album is a tribute to John Kerry.
A few of the songs were written when I came home from the campaign trail. Every day, before he got up to speak, I’d go play acoustic music. And the audiences weren’t Foo Fighters audiences. The front row was World War II veterans and teacher’s unions and blue-collar workers. I came back from that so inspired by the people and the real emotion and the feeling of a small community all coming together for an honorable reason. That’s where the title came from.

Were you crushed after the election?
Fuck, yes. I wanted to riot. But rather than write an angry Rage Against the Machine record, I wanted to give a sense of hope and release and faith. One of the reasons I did that with the Kerry campaign was because I was personally offended that George Bush was using [the Foo Fighters’] “Times Like These” at his campaign rallies. We were trying to think of a way to get him to stop. “Fuck, man, I’m gonna send the president a cease and desist order.” I wrote that fucking song. I know what I’m singing about, and it basically mirrored what John Kerry’s campaign was trying to represent.

Dave Grohl, still punk!
Yeah, kinda. I still wear Adidas Sambas — does that count?