Dave Grohl: Why I Turned Down Joining Tom Petty After Nirvana
There are forks in the road in many of our lives, but one such moment could have led Dave Grohl from being in the Rock Hall-nominated Foo Fighters to being part of the already inducted Rock Hall band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
In the aftermath of Nirvana, Dave Grohl received a call from Tom Petty's management inviting the drummer to join them for a performance on Saturday Night Live. Petty had split with longtime drummer Stan Lynch and though Steve Ferrone had played on Petty's 1994 Wildflowers album and would later permanently claim a spot in the group, there was an opening for Grohl to sit in with the band and perhaps even join.
Grohl confirmed the long-standing rumor that he'd been asked to join while making an appearance on SiriusXM's Howard Stern Show (as seen below). "He was very cool, very low key and down to earth. He was really really cool," said Grohl of his time spent with Petty.
He recalled, "We played SNL and afterwards he basically was like, 'Man that was good and it'd be a shame if that's the only time we do it.' And then he called me at home and he was like, 'If you want, here's how we do it. You get your own bus and we don't tour too hard and blah, blah, blah.' He was explaining if you're into it, come out and let's do it for a little while."
But Grohl was already working on demos that would turn into the Foo Fighters first album. "I had just started doing this thing and 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," said Grohl. "It would've been an emotional thing to be behind the drumset every night and not have Kurt [Cobain] there, so I was like, 'Nah, fuck it. I'm gonna try this other thing."
In the midst of the discussion with Stern, Grohl also put a pin in the rumor he'd been asked to join Pearl Jam during that period as well. "I knew those guys but they never called me and asked me to play drums with them. I jammed with them once onstage in Australia, but no, they didn't call."
Grohl recently revisited "Honey Bee," one of the songs he performed with Petty during that 1994 SNL appearance. This time, with his full band the Foo Fighters and singing and playing guitar instead of playing the drums, Grohl rocked through the track at SiriusXM's "Garage" studio in Los Angeles providing a full circle moment.
Dave Grohl Discusses Tom Petty + Pearl Jam Drumming Opportunities With Howard Stern