About that time Foo Fighters messed around with Nirvana songs…
For all the known history revolving around his previous band, Dave Grohl has remained steadfast in not mixing the worlds of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Both he and guitarist Pat Smear simply don’t want (or need) to revisit the trauma that came in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Besides, the Foos have their own robust canon of classic tracks, enough to easily fill a multi-hour concert, so why revisit the past?
That doesn’t mean that occasional exceptions can’t be made – during the band’s acoustic ‘Skin and Bones’ theatre tours, Grohl busted out the Nirvana B-side ‘Marigold’ that represented his one and only singer-songwriter credit with the band. Grohl and Smear have also gamely returned to the Nirvana material with former bandmate Krist Novoselic in recent years.
In the documentary Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, bassist Nate Mendel commented that Grohl rarely talked about Nirvana and Cobain during their initial years starting out with the Foo Fighters. While consistently being asked by interviewers and reporters during the promotion of their first album about his former band, Grohl became slightly guarded and defensive about his connection with Nirvana.
As the years went by, Grohl appeared to grow more comfortable with how his two bands overlapped. The Foo Fighters became their own celebrated entity, Grohl agreed to interviews talking about Nirvana, and the once-strict divide between the two bands appeared to be softening.
That became obvious during the filming of the band’s documentary series Sonic Highways. As the band recorded in the legendary Austin City Limits studio space, members started throwing out different riffs in between takes of ‘What Did I Do? / God As My Witness’. Grohl drops the opening of ‘Stairway to Heaven’, Chris Shiflett throws in a bit of ‘Smoke on the Water’, Smear decides to go with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, while Rami Jaffee plays the piano coda of ‘Layla’.
Just then, Grohl surprises the others by going into the opening riff of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ before joking that it sounds like a B-side. Taylor Hawkins insists that the band would nail it before Grohl jokingly suggests opening their set with it. Grohl also throws in a little bit of ‘Come as You Are’ and ‘Lithium’ before deciding to get back on track with ‘What Did I Do? / God As My Witness’.
Check out the brief crossover of Grohl’s two legendary bands down below.