'Alright, well that's settled, then. Now f--k off,' Bowie said, according to Grohl.
Add Dave Grohl to the list of high-profile rockers David Bowie turned down as potential collaborators. In a new video for Playboy, Grohl drove around Los Angeles with longtime Nirvana and Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear to check out some of Bowie’s favorite spots and discuss the music legend’s legacy.
Grohl recalled emailing Bowie “about two years ago” to see if he’d contribute vocals to a song Grohl was writing for a movie. “We played his 50th birthday at Madison Square Garden [in 1997] and that was the last time I saw him,” Grohl said. Bowie replied to Grohl, politely declining the opportunity: “I watched the movie and I got to be honest, it’s not my thing … I’m not made for these times,” the late rocker said, according to Grohl. “So thanks, but I’m gonna sit this one out.”
The exchange didn’t end there, though. Grohl responded and thanked Bowie for his consideration, to which Bowie quickly fired back, “Alright, well that’s settled, then. Now f–k off.” When Grohl wrote the he’d maybe see star in 16 years (the amount of time that had transpired since the Madison Square Garden interaction), Bowie told Grohl, “Don’t hold your breath. … No more birthdays, I’ve run out of them.”
Smear also recounted how Nirvana decided to cover Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” for its famed 1993 MTV Unplugged gig. “I think it was my idea,” Smear said. “We were sitting in Kurt’s living room going through his record collection and he said, ‘Let’s pick a cover song for the Unplugged thing … let’s do a Bowie song, you love Bowie.’ I saw Man Who Sold The World and said, ‘F–k it has to be off this record.'”
Since Bowie’s death, Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers have said the musician rejected overtures to collaborate, and U2’s Bono said his maligned Spider-Man musical received criticism from Bowie. Of course, he didn’t totally spurn working with the younger generation. He recorded with TV on the Radio in 2006 and Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy in 2013.
Check out the clip of Grohl and Smear below.