Dave Grohl Calls Prince’s ‘Best of You’ Super Bowl Cover His ‘Proudest Musical Achievement’
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is continuing his "Dave's True Stories" series, detailing his admiration for late music giant Prince and how he eventually came to meet and jam with the musician. And if you doubt the place of respect that Prince holds for the Foo frontman, just know that Grohl calls Prince's decision to cover Foo Fighters' "Best of You" at the Super Bowl his "proudest musical achievement."
The crux of Grohl's latest "true story" centers on ultimately getting a chance to jam with Prince in Los Angeles during the musician's epic 21-night stand at the Forum in 2011, but Grohl gives a little of the background first. He details getting shot down by Prince when the band wanted to issue their cover of "Darling Nikki" commercially in the early 2000s and feeling he had landed on Prince's bad side. But that all changed in 2007 when a ray of light came from a torrential downpour in Miami as Prince rocked Foo Fighters' "Best of You" in the midst of a medley at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
"I was stunned, in shock, flooded with emotion," says Grohl. "As my tears hit the keyboard like the Miami rain that night, I realized that this was without a doubt my proudest musical achievement. All of those years spent in my bedroom practicing alone to Beatles records, sleeping in cold infested squats on winter van tours across Europe, battering my drums until my hands literally bled ... it all paid off in this one moment. I was watching the greatest living performer known to man sing my song to 100 million people as if it were his own (and, it goes without saying, much better than I ever could)." Grohl added that he reflects on that moment as "my life's greatest compliment."
Years later, Grohl would get word that Prince was interested in a jam, but Grohl wasn't sure the offer was legit. Still, he had plans to catch opening night of the 21 night stand. "I rounded up a party bus, a rowdy group of friends, and enough booze to drown Shane MacGowan," recalls Grohl, who was then met by a member of security at the gig and told that Prince knew he was there and was gonna call him up onstage to jam. But, as Grohl put it, "I was fucking hammered. Not sober, and there was no way I was going to step onto Prince's stage in that state."
Still, Grohl finally had a chance to meet Prince backstage, where he not only met him but legendary percussionist Sheila E. As the chat went on, Prince offered to jam in private, stating, "How about next Friday?"
But as the week went on, there was no call and eventually Grohl made his way down to the Forum unaware of what time he was supposed to come jam. Prince eventually turned up and invited him to play drums.
"To get my footing, I started playing a groove, nothing fancy, but digging in to find my bearings on this behemoth wall of drums. At this point, his whole band had converged onstage, taking their places. Prince watched, inspecting me with a grin. He motioned to his bass player to hand over his instrument, strapped it on and proceeded to decimate the damn thing with the smoothest, funkiest, fastest, most graceful playing I have ever heard to this day. He was on me like glue," recalled Grohl.
"'Man, you got a heavy foot,' he said ... I gave my best 'awww shucks' face, but inside I was glowing, jumping out of my skin, forever validated by the grace of his eminence," says Grohl. That would have been enough, but Prince then grabbed a guitar and started playing "Whole Lotta Love" from Led Zeppelin. "I laid into that drum intro with every cell in my body," recalls Grohl. "Filling the empty, cavernous arena with all the thunder I could possibly summon. It fucking slammed." After some high fives, Grohl said, "Prince turned to me, smiles and said, 'We should do that.'" While an invite came again for the following Friday, it never came to fruition, but it left him with an incredible memory.
"When I heard he had passed, I sat in my car alone, crying," says Grohl. "Feeling both blessed to have shared these moments with him, and heartbroken that there would be no more. There will never be another like him. We were lucky to have him while we did. I miss him dearly."
Check out the full Dave's True Stories installment on Prince by scrolling through the Instagram post below.
See Foo Fighters in the 66 Best Rock Albums of the Decade: 2010 - 2019