Dave Grohl Discusses His Guitar Heroes and Influences

by Madonna

Dave Grohl, renowned as the drummer of Nirvana and the frontman of Foo Fighters, has not only made a mark as a rhythm powerhouse but has also established himself as a certified guitar hero. Despite gaining fame behind the drum kit, Grohl has seamlessly transitioned to the forefront of the stage, leading the Foo Fighters for nearly two decades and amassing a dedicated fanbase.

In a recent exploration of his musical influences, Grohl shed light on his diverse inspirations and personal musical heroes. His extensive knowledge and passion for rock history often find expression in documentaries and interviews, where he openly discusses his favorite bands and his enduring love for Led Zeppelin.


In the realm of drumming, Grohl consistently cites John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Neil Peart of Rush as his primary influences. Notably, Grohl had the honor of inducting Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, a testament to the profound impact these drummers had on his musical journey.


When it comes to guitar playing, Grohl, in a 2011 interview with Classic Rock, credited Minnesota punk band Hüsker Dü as his “biggest songwriting influence.” He acknowledged the transformative shift in punk guitar playing, marked by power chords, buzzsaw strumming, and distortion, deviating from the conventional long, intricate riffs.


Unsurprisingly, Grohl’s first pick aligned with his well-known admiration for Led Zeppelin, stating, “Jimmy Page, I think, is my favorite soloist.” He praised Page’s ability to balance on the edge of chaos while strategically placing every note to evoke emotion. Grohl emphasized that it’s Page’s fearlessness rather than technical perfection that he finds most admirable.

In a somewhat unexpected turn, Grohl’s second choice deviated from the classic rock realm, as he lauded American slide guitar legend Ry Cooder. Specifically, he highlighted Cooder’s work on the soundtrack of the 1984 cult classic “Paris, Texas.” Grohl described the soundtrack as his favorite album, praising Cooder’s ability to convey a barren desert landscape with simple yet emotive slide guitar, labeling it as “amazing.”

Dave Grohl encapsulates his musical appreciation by valuing the raw and fearless aspects of musicianship over technical perfection. Whether it’s the legendary solos of Jimmy Page or the emotive simplicity of Ry Cooder, Grohl’s diverse influences contribute to the dynamic sound that defines Foo Fighters’ music.


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