In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Grohl explained that he was approached by members of GWAR while he was in-between bands – at the time, he was yet to join Scream and his previous band Dain Bramage had recently split. At the time, GWAR had recently parted with then-drummer Jim Thomson (aka Hans Orifice).
Grohl said he spoke with the band’s guitarist at the time, Dewey Rowell – aka Flattus Maximus – who reportedly said, “‘it’s great, and you get to design your own costume’” – information which prompted Grohl to start sketching his own would-be GWAR get-up.
“As a drummer, you don’t want something that covers your face fully. You want your arms to be free,” Grohl explained. “I kind of started drawing this thing. At the time, GWAR was a band that would draw like 700 people… which is huge.”
Ultimately, however, Grohl – who was around 18 years old at the time – reconsidered when he questioned how his family would react to him joining the band.
“Am I really going to invite my uncle to see me play when there’s fake blood and cum shooting all over the place?” he concluded rhetorically.
Following the article’s publication, a founding member of GWAR responded to Grohl’s claims.
Michael Bishop was the band’s bassist at the time in question, playing the role of Beefcake the Mighty. He rejoined the band as its lead vocalist in 2014 under the new persona of Blöthar the Berserker.Advertisement
“Grohl remembers this all wrong,” said Blöthar, in character, in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He used to hang around the track with all the other young punks jacked on gak. This is back before he lost all his teeth.
“We hired him, and then called him back immediately and fired him. He was in the band for around seven-and-a-half minutes. He was holding us back.”
In a separate out-of-character statement, Bishop confirmed that Grohl did indeed speak to Rowell when the band were looking to book shows in Richmond – in Virginia, Grohl’s home state.
“He was already one of the greatest, hardest-hitting drummers I had ever seen,” said Bishop. “He still is.
“Dewey called and started the conversation with him about joining GWAR. I was stoked because I played bass at the time, and I would have loved to jam with him.”
Bishop ended his statement by reflecting on what could have been: “Just think, he could have been working his ass off playing drums in a rubber monster suit all these years. Boy, did he make the wrong choice.”
This sliding-doors moment would not be the only one of Grohl’s career. In the mid-’90s, following the dissolution of Nirvana, Grohl sat in on drums for some performances with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. An offer was made for Grohl to join the band permanently, but he ultimately chose to form Foo Fighters instead.
“I just felt weird going back to the drums because it reminded me of being in Nirvana, and it just would’ve been sad for me personally,” Grohl told Howard Stern earlier this year.
“It would’ve been an emotional thing to be behind the drumset every night and not have Kurt [Cobain] there.”
Grohl is currently doing the press rounds for three different reasons: Foo Fighters’ ongoing return to the road, the 30th anniversary of Nirvana’s 1991 album ‘Nevermind’ and his forthcoming memoir The Storyteller.
The book was previewed earlier this week with two spoken-word shows from Grohl at London’s Savoy Theatre, one of which NME attended and found “moving, amusing and regularly awe-inspiring.”
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