With a mixture of awe and regret, Dave Grohl recalled on Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live how he once jammed with Prince, one of his musical heroes – to an audience of zero.
The two musicians met in May 2011, during Prince’s 21-night concert residency at the Forum in Los Angeles, California. “Me and like 20 of my friends got a party bus and went down to the Forum, so we were hammered when we got there,” Grohl said.
Prince wanted to meet Grohl and bring him onstage for a jam, but the Foo Fighters frontman was too drunk to play. “Afterwards we met, and I said, ‘When do you want to jam, man?’” Grohl continued. “And he said, ‘How about Friday?’ I said, ‘OK.’ He said, ‘I’ll call you.’ So I waited all week with my phone, like, ‘Prince is gonna call! Prince is gonna call!’ And of course he never called. Someone said, ‘Just go down there.’ And I got down there to soundcheck, and there was no one there – it was an empty room. I walked out into the middle of the arena, and he sees me and goes, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I thought we were gonna…jam, Prince?’”
Grohl then hopped behind the drums, and they jammed on Led Zeppelin’s signature hard-rock anthem “Whole Lotta Love” – a moment the former Nirvana member will always cherish. “It was, I swear to God, the most amazing experience of my entire life, and there was nobody there,” he said. “The Forum was completely empty.”
Prince wanted to recreate the jam onstage the following week, but Grohl was busy that night with a school fundraiser. The only evidence of their intimate performance is a personal recording that Grohl owns. “I have a CD of it,” he said. “I’ll send you one.”
In another interview segment, the musician detailed the laborious process behind his new, 23-minute instrumental piece, Play, on which he plays seven instruments.
“I would hit record and start to play the drums, but I couldn’t stop for the whole 23 minutes,” he said. “I had to do a full take. And I don’t read music, so I had to memorize this 23-minute-long instrumental. And I run from one drum set to the next and the next … It was really just to see if I could pull it off – to see if I could do those full takes without making mistakes and actually memorize that much music.”
Grohl also filmed the painstaking process and compiled the footage into an unusual documentary. “I decided that it would be like a really freaky mushroom trip if I film it and make it look like there’s seven of me in the room together,” he said. “I came up with the idea, and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s kind of stupid.’ But then someone said, ‘OK, well, we booked the studio; we’ve got the camera guy. It’s all set up.’”
Earlier in the Kimmel interview, Grohl gifted the late-night host with a disturbing present: his own decapitated prosthetic head, a souvenir from Alice Cooper’s Halloween 2017 performance on the show.
“I took it home, and I scared my kids with it,” Grohl said. “I scared my housekeeper with it. And it got to the point where it was like, ‘I’ve gotta get this thing out of my house.’”