Dave Grohl Describes The Time David Bowie Passed On Collaborating With Him On A Comic Book Movie Soundtrack
When not pursuing heartwarming and/or insufferable media opportunities, Dave Grohl has been spending his time in quarantine posting stories on Instagram and Medium. Today the Foo Fighters leader has shared a lengthy anecdote in which the late David Bowie tells him to fuck off.
The impetus for this interaction was Grohl’s attempt recruit Bowie for “an original song for a big budget, major motion picture. You know, one of those action packed, comic book, CGI type of things.” Writing in the exact enthusiastic rawk dad dialect you’d expect, Grohl prefaces the climax of his story with some background about his life experiences with Bowie and his music: covering “Suffragette City” with a party band in the ’80s, Nirvana’s famous “The Man Who Sold The World” cover for MTV Unplugged, seeing Bowie live for the first time when he played the same festival as Foo Fighters. There’s also a reference to this party:
— Chain of Flowers (@CraigatCoF) January 8, 2020
Grohl also details his brief stint of collaborations with Bowie in 1997, first backing up the Thin White Duke on “Hallo Spaceboy” at Madison Square Garden for his 50th birthday show — the context for the above photo — then recording a song with him via an invite from Black Francis, back when Pixies producer Gil Norton was working with Foo Fighters on The Colour And The Shape.
Anyway, years later Grohl was commissioned for this unnamed movie gig. At the time, he had been working with longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti on a Kristeen Young album, and he got the idea to get Bowie to sing over one of his unused instrumentals. This was around the same time Bowie had launched his late-career comeback with 2013’s The Next Day, so Visconti thought he might be up for it. So Grohl fired off an email to Bowie, and the following correspondence ensued:
Days. Weeks. What seemed like an eternity, until I finally received a response! I casually opened my email one morning and literally gasped when I saw his name. He had actually heard the track! But, beyond that, DAVID BOWIE WRITES EMAILS!!! WHAAAAT?!?!?!? With the excitement of a hyperactive child on Christmas morning, I held my breath and hastily opened it. If I remember correctly, it went something like this:
Just kidding! As usual, he was very kind, very complimentary, and full of his signature wit. He explained that this particular genre of film wasn’t really his thing (“I’m just not made for these times” he said), but would love to collaborate on something else someday. Damn! As disappointed as I was, I truly felt that just receiving an email from him was enough. My life was made, again. I immediately responded with a brief note saying, “Hey man, thank you for listening to the song…I hope that you’re well, and let me know if you’d ever like to make music together sometime. Love, Dave” Short, sweet, to the point. Not wanting to take up any more of his time, I hit send with a smile.
Within 60 seconds, my inbox chimed with a new email. It was Bowie, responding to the note I had just sent. That was fast, I thought! I opened it.
“Well, that’s settled. Now fuck off.”
My smile immediately went from that of a cat having an afternoon nap on a warm afternoon, to the shock and horror of your first prostate exam.
Turns out Bowie was just messing with Grohl, and they ended up exchanging pleasantries afterward. Sounds like he was quite kind, but also, smart move to decline this opportunity, yes? Which superhero movie could this have been for? We may never know. Grohl doesn’t say, and the song never came to pass. Read the whole story and see if you can figure it out.