After Dave Grohl Thought He Angered David Bowie in an Email, They Began a Hilarious Correspondence
Dave Grohl has had some interesting encounters with his idols, including the legendary David Bowie. Like many fans, the Foo Fighters frontman thought Bowie was out of this world. Grohl loved the man who fell to Earth’s music and even got to record and perform with him.
Getting to see Bowie’s process in the recording studio and on the stage was mesmerizing. However, it was even more amazing having a personal email correspondence with the music legend. Although, like most things in Bowie’s life, it was strange and witty.
Dave Grohl loved David Bowie as a kid and eventually got to perform with him
On his blog, Dave’s True Stories, the Foo Fighters frontman explained that David Bowie provided an “indelible addition to the soundtrack of my life.” Initially, Grohl loved Bowie’s first live album, David Live, and songs like “Suffragette City” and “Modern Love.”
He also vividly remembers vomiting Kung Pao chicken all over his sister’s VW bug after drinking too much at a high school party, “while the sweet sounds of ‘Space Oddity’ crooned in the background. Ahhhh…..the memories.”
Despite knowing he’d be “drawn and quartered by hardcore Bowie fans,” Grohl admitted he loved Bowie’s 1983 album Let’s Dance the best.
“As much as I want to pretend to be in love with his deeper, darker Krautrock/Berlin phase, I really just want to do the Molly Ringwald dance to ‘Modern Love’ everyday for like, 8 hours a day,” Grohl wrote.
Later, Grohl was fortunate to see Bowie play live while performing on the same bill. He explained the experience on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 program (per Billboard).
“I stood in the photo pit and looked at him and it was like seeing an alien,” Grohl recalled. “You know, it was like seeing a UFO for the first time, like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s real.’ That’s something I’ve never seen before.
“And then getting to meet him, all of that feeling coming down to Earth, realizing, ‘Oh, my God, what a gentleman! What a brilliant, sweet, kind, outrageously funny person.’ And then I recorded a song with him. This [was] years ago, and watching him step in front of a microphone and begin to sing and you realize, ‘Wow, that voice – that’s real, that just comes out of his mouth, that iconic voice.’
“The great thing about it is that it really humanizes everything. We’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a real person.’ It’s reassuring, but at the same time, you’re like, ‘That’s a hero.’ That’s not just another person. That’s David Bowie.”
Grohl asked Bowie to collaborate, but Bowie declined
At Bowie’s 50th birthday party, the Foo Fighters frontman and the legend performed “Hallo Spaceboy” and “Seven Years in Tibet.” Grohl wrote that it was a special moment.
“We made one hell of a noise together,” he explained. “On the night of the show, I remember glancing over mid performance to see his iconic eyes as the crowd roared…and they were looking right into mine. Gives me chills, still to this day…”
Grohl treasured the moment so much that he thought Bowie would be open to another collaboration. He was wrong. Around 2013, Grohl worked with Bowie’s long-time producer, Tony Visconti. At the same time, Grohl had also signed on to write an original song for a major motion picture. He wanted someone else to sing on it, though. Visconti said he’d pass Grohl’s demo along to Bowie.
After weeks, Grohl got an unexpected email from Bowie. Grohl wrote, “With the excitement of a hyperactive child on Christmas morning, I held my breath and hastily opened it.”
However, Bowie respectfully declined. The film wasn’t his thing. Grohl wrote that his response contained something like, “I’m just not made for these times.”
Grohl wrote, “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 minutes, Bowie wrote back. “Well, that’s settled. Now f*** 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.”
However, Grohl had no idea what would come of his strange emails with Bowie.
Somehow, the two musicians started a hilarious email correspondence
Initially, when Grohl read that response from Bowie, he didn’t know if the legend was truly angry at him or if he was showing “another wicked example of his acerbic wit.”
However, Grohl had to respond, so he wrote back, “See you in another 17 years!” Within seconds, Bowie replied, “Not if I see you first.” Then, Grohl knew; Bowie was messing with him. Grohl daringly replied again, but this time, unbeknownst to him, Bowie replied with something morbid.
“What, no more birthday parties at Madison Square Garden?” Grohl quipped. Seconds later, Bowie replied, “No more birthdays. I’ve run out of them.” Grohl realized later that Bowie was referencing his cancer diagnosis that no one knew about at the time.
Since Grohl didn’t know Bowie was dying, he kept the email banter going. “Well, you’re more than welcome to come to my 50th birthday party at Madison Square Garden. It’ll be at the hot dog stand out front!” he wrote. Bowie replied, “Wait, you’re not even 50! Nobody’s 50 anymore…50 is the new dead! That was a good night though, wasn’t it?”
That reassured Grohl. Bowie was not mad at him. They ended the exchange with pleasantries. However, that was not the end of Grohl and Bowie’s email correspondence. Grohl explained on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon that after fearing that Bowie thought he was an “assh***,” they started up a hilarious email exchange.
Later, Grohl said Bowie would email him out of the blue. One June Bowie wrote, “Welp, Happy New Year!” They’d go back and forth. Randomly, Grohl emailed, “Drinks someday, yes?” Bowie replied, “I will, thanks.” Then, Grohl typed, “Nuts and muffins?” Bowie hilariously responded with, “Those are my attorneys.”
For Bowie’s 75th birthday, Grohl said he probably would have told Bowie, “Happy New Year, hope you’re well.”