Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 programme earlier this month (March 8, per Billboard), the Foo Fighters frontman reminisced on the time both men appeared on the same festival bill, and Grohl witnessed the Thin White Duke live for the first time.
“I stood in the photo pit and looked at him and it was like seeing an alien,” he recounts. “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,” he told 7.30 host Leigh Sales, “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.’
Grohl continued: “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.”
The former Nirvana drummer also spoke about the trappings of success, calling “the television stuff” and platinum records an “illusion” and offering young artists some advice.
“They’re flattering rewards, but ultimately the real stuff is over here. And as long as you can keep the real stuff over here, then whenever that becomes too much, you just go that way.
“One of the biggest lessons in all of this, for any young artist, if they come to the point where their life is complicated by that other stuff, you just say ‘no.’ It’s all you have to do. It’s one of the best lessons I ever learned. When someone asks you to do something and you don’t feel comfortable doing it, just say no. It’s easy.”
During their one-off show in Geelong this month (March 4), Foo Fighters also revealed their plans to embark on a full-scale tour of Australian capital cities this November.