Dave Grohl Opens Up About 'What Drives Us'

Michael Angulia | 03-10-2020

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Foo FightersPhoto courtesy Nasty Little Man

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl discussed his forthcoming documentary "What Drives Us", about musicians touring in vans, in a recent radio interview.

Grohl spoke about the project during an appearance on Elliot In The Morning on DC101. He said, "Every band that you have ever seen, ever listened to, has probably started out in a van, 'cause that's just the way you do it.

"We still have our van from our first tour, and it's more than just some rust bucket full of gear on wheels; it represents something really special. So I started interviewing people, and what I realized was, whether it's The Edge from U2 or Lars from Metallica or Steven Tyler from AEROSMITH or Ringo or Ben Harper or Ian MacKaye or young bands like Radkey, everyone kind of started the same way.

But beyond that, everyone started for the same reasons. And so it's, like, why on earth would you quit your job, pack a duffel bag and a sleeping bag, throw it into some crummy van with your stinky friends and just totally leave your life behind to play music?

And all of these people basically do it for the same reasons and have the same story. And I think it's the key to becoming like a rewarded musician, someone that feels rewarded when they get up on stage and play. 'Cause you're doing it from the heart. And there's a lot of sacrifice, there's a lot of adventure, there's a lot of struggle, there's a lot of pain, there's a lot of high points, there's a lot of low points, but to hear these stories coming from someone like St. Vincent or the girls from L7, it's a beautiful story.

Charlie, the clarinetist for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans, he's been touring for 70 years. He was touring when he was 12 years old, just after World War II, through the South. Back then, it was a segregation environment; they're like 'Green Book' stories. All these stories, people just keep going, because you've gotta get to the next gig.

"The thing that keeps you going is the passion and the fire to do that, and it stays with you your whole life. It's the reason why you go out and do that and sweat and not sleep and drive all night and unload and load your van. If the reason why you do that is a true love and passion for playing music, that never goes away.

"Of course, we're not humping our gear into the back of an old Dodge van anymore, but when we get up on stage, we get up on stage for the same reasons we did back then - it's the passion and the fire to do it. And it's the same.

"When me and Pat and Nate and Taylor and Chris and Rami, when we get on stage, honestly, it's no different than it was 25 years ago, it feels the same. There's still that kind of nervous, beautiful energy where you're about to go up and celebrate these songs that you've written together with people you may or may not know. And that's kind of what it's all about." Listen to the interview below:

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