We're diving into Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame's best Hollywood crossovers, from 2022's 'Studio 666' and beyond.
It’s fair to say everyone loves Dave Grohl. Frontman of the enduring Foo Fighters, drummer for the legendary Nirvana. A brilliant songwriter and storyteller, it’s no surprise that between his time playing sold out stadium gigs Grohl is a passionate music historian and an avid film buff. Hence, his involvement in a variety of film and TV projects over the years. Most recently, he starred in the 2022 horror film Studio 666 alongside scream queen heavyweight Jenna Ortega and standup superstar Whitney Cummings.
Today, we’re diving into some of the very best (some unexpected) Dave Grohl film and television performances.
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X-Files Fighters – The X-Files (1996)
Like the rest of the world, Grohl was hooked on the X-Files throughout the 90’s. When you name your band Foo Fighters, the term WW2 fighter pilots used to describe UFO’s, it’s easy to see why the self-proclaimed obsessed super-fan, was excited to appear on the show. Grohl made a small cameo alongside his then wife Jennifer Youngblood in the season three episode Pusher, walking down a hallway in an FBI building. It’s a quick appearance but one that clearly left a lasting impression on Grohl, as the Foo Fighters contributed songs to both the show and films throughout the franchise.
Tenacious Dave – The Pick of Destiny (2006)
Grohl has collaborated with Jack Black and Kyle Gass and their band Tenacious D many times over the course of their respective careers. Black and Gass famously appeared in the music video for Learn to Fly as airline cleaners attempting to smuggle drugs that inadvertently almost cause the plane the Foo Fighters are in, to crash. In true Grohl fashion, he returned the favour and portrayed the Demon in the music video to their hit song Tribute who threatens to “eat their souls” if they don’t play the best song in the world.
In their 2006 film The Pick of Destiny and album of the same name, Grohl returns in his feature film debut, but this time to play the big man himself, the “Beelzeboss,” Satan, who attempts to drag the guys to hell if not for another timely rock challenge. Great practical makeup and effects makes Grohl almost unrecognisable here. He not only lent his acting talents but his musical ability too with vocals and a drum track provided by Grohl both in the film and on the soundtrack. Parts of the album were even recorded at Grohl’s personal studio.
Man or Moopet? – The Muppets Movie (2011)
Grohl has appeared in both the 2011 film The Muppets and the short lived TV series of the same name. In the film he plays Animool, the drummer for the Moopets, a Muppets cover-band, even wearing an Animal inspired costume. He also made a memorable appearance in the 2015 episode Going, Going, Gonzo of the TV show, this time as himself. Grohl gets to play Learn to Fly with Electric Mayhem as Gonzo gets shot out of a cannon and returns later in the episode for one of the most hotly anticipated drum-battles of all time as he goes head to head with Animal. Grohl also appeared in an episode of Sesame Street alongside Big Bird and Elmo as well as an episode of the rebooted Fraggle Rock series.
Reel to Real – Sound City (2013)
Grohl’s first album with Nirvana, Nevermind, was recorded in Los Angeles at the famous Sound City recording studio, which had previously recorded artists including Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Elton John. When Sound City was set to close as a commercial studio and sell off recording equipment, Grohl was inspired to make a documentary about the story of this historic musical institution. He purchased the custom Neve 8028 Console, famously credited with producing the specific “Sound City” sound, to install at his own studio 606 and formed Roswell Films, his own film production company.
Sound City, directed by Grohl was released in 2013 and covers the history of the studio, from the owners and the people that worked there, to the artists that recorded classic songs and platinum albums. It features interviews with Stevie Nicks, Josh Homme, Krist Novoselic, Trent Reznor and Paul McCartney to name a few. The film also showcased the recording of an original album, inspired by and in honour of Sound City featuring many of the artists involved in the film including Grohl and the Foo Fighters. Sound City has since been reopened as a commercial studio and hosted artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, The Killers and Jack Johnson.
Cradle to Highway – Sonic Highways (2014)
When working on the idea for the Foo Fighters eighth studio album, Grohl pitched the band a concept. They record eight songs in eight different cities. This came to be with Sonic Highways which not only resulted in their latest album but an eight part documentary series that aired on HBO. Directed by Grohl, it is similar to his last directorial effort in that each episode follows the history of music in the city they are recording the song in, with interviews from famous artists and music industry veterans to come from there and follows Grohl and the band writing and recording the song alongside special guests including Rick Nielsen, Zac Brown, Joe Walsh and Garry Clark Jr.
Grohl has also directed further documentaries including a film What Drives Us about life touring out of vans with stories from Brian Johnson, The Edge, Flea and St. Vincent, and a TV series From Cradle to Stage about the mothers behind musicians including Pharrell, Brandi Carlile, Tom Morello and Grohl’s mother Virginia Grohl.
The Number of the Beast – Studio 666 (2022)
Studio 666 is a horror-comedy film released in 2022 that stars the Foo Fighters in a story written by Grohl. In a callback to the midnight movie, this schlock, campy film follows the band as they attempt to record a new album at a cursed mansion in the San Fernando Valley. Here Grohl is possessed after listening to a demo tape and starts an obsessive need to finish the album whilst on a killing spree. The film is hilarious and gory, with a lot of banter between the band members and a great twist ending. Grohl and the bandmates clearly had a lot of fun making the film and Grohl eats up the opportunity to play a possessed killer.
Check Dave Grohl crashing Wet Leg’s Coachella 2023 set here.