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Dave Grohl’s Top 10 Drum Performances

We ranked Dave Grohl's 10 best performances from behind the kit

dave grohl drum videos
Photo by Craig Carper via Flickr/Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    Foo Fighters Week continues here at Consequence with a list of Dave Grohl’s best turns on the kit. Keep it locked here throughout the week for more interviews, lists, editorials, and videos — it’s all things Foos, all the time. You can see everything in one convenient place here.


    In most cases, drummers are the unsung heroes of rock and roll — besides keeping time, drummers can lift a track off its feet, aid heavily in the composition of songs, and add a component to music that’s both physical and visceral.

    Then you get Dave Grohl, the frontman of Foo Fighters and drummer of Nirvana, Scream, Tenacious D, Them Crooked Vultures, and often, Queens of the Stone Age. There may not even be a drummer more prolific than Dave Grohl considering the sheer magnitude of projects he’s participated in, and the level of visibility Grohl has both as a drummer and an artist.

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    Grohl has always been a champion of a pure rock and roll ethos; he wants musicians new and old and new to form a garage band and explore music in a raw and primal way, not just because it’s the way he did it, but because that’s the way the form will live on. Needless to say, Grohl isn’t a huge fan of drum machines.

    From his early drumming days in the D.C. punk scene, Grohl was undoubtedly a physical talent — and upon joining Scream in the late ‘80s, it was clear that he had a penchant for playing loud and fast. This punk-driven background was a huge influence on Nirvana’s sound when he joined the Seattle band, adding to Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic’s grunge with a raw and expressive attitude. Songs like “In Bloom” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” boast Grohl’s ‘70s influences behind the kit, and they wouldn’t be nearly the same without his contributions.

    As Grohl began to develop even more as both a drummer and an artist, he started Foo Fighters, playing drums on their first two records before they settled on Taylor Hawkins as a permanent replacement. In 1997, Foo Fighters released their sophomore LP, The Colour and the Shape (arguably their magnum opus, and certainly our No. 1 pick), and according to Grohl, he simply wasn’t done playing the drums yet. The resulting record includes some of Grohl’s most clever and specific drum parts to date — one listen to “Everlong,” and you can tell it was written with drums in mind.

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    Foo Fighters kept getting bigger and bigger, and Grohl’s status rose as well; eventually, Grohl recorded albums with Queens of the Stone Age, Tenacious D, and most recently, Them Crooked Vultures, a supergroup featuring Grohl on drums, Led Zepplin bassist John Paul Jones, and QotSA’s Josh Homme. About the future of Them Crooked Vultures, Grohl said, “That’s the band that I want to be the drummer of forever,” and it’s clear that Grohl’s work behind the kit on their self-titled debut was particularly inspired.

    Grohl has been drumming consistently for nearly 40 years now, and throughout his storied career, he’s been behind the kit for some landmark performances and albums.

    Here are Dave Grohl’s ten best drumming performances — either live or in the recording studio — ranked in order.


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