Who Is Dave Grohl’s Favorite American Songwriter?

Only the biggest music nerds will recognize Grohl’s idol.

In a recent chat with Louder Sound’s Classic Rock team, Dave Grohl professed his enduring fascination for venerable singer-songwriter Bob Mould.

“Bob Mould should be placed in the highest ranks of America’s greatest songwriters and lyricists… you can argue that he’s just as influential in his own right as Tom Petty – he’s a classic American songwriter, only writing from a different place to most. When I discovered punk rock in the early ’80s, there were bands that stood out because of their heaviness or speed or dissonance… but Hüsker Dü, which was Bob Mould’s original band, had this sense of classic melody – it was almost like a punk rock band playing Byrds songs, which they actually did when they covered Eight Miles High. But there was an entire sense of emotion, with beautiful melody, which could sometimes be countered with this anger and distortion that was really unusual at the time.”

Hüsker Dü wasn’t just a throwaway Wayne’s World joke. They were a trailblazing punk trio with an alternative sensibility years before ‘alternative rock’ became a thing. When alt-rock hit the mainstream in the early 90’s, those artists often cited Hüsker Dü – along with their Twin Cities contemporarires, The Replacements – as influences.

Dave favorably compared the sonic versatility of Hüsker Dü’s notable double album Zen Arcade with The Beatles legendary White Album for its ability to rock hard and fast while also sharing gentle moments.

After Hüsker Dü dissolved, Bob Mould continued to have a long music career as both a solo artist and architect of the power pop band Sugar. His most recent album came out just last fall.

In 2010, Foo Fighters convened in Dave Grohl’s garage for the Wasting Light sessions. It was the first Foo Fighters album since Pat Smear officially rejoined the band, meaning Foos now had THREE guitarists. And Foo Fighters recorded the album entirely on analog equipment with Butch Vig (Nirvana’s Nevermind) producing. It’s my personal favorite Foo Fighters album; and Bob Mould contributed backup vocals on one of my favorite Foo Fighters songs, “Dear Rosemary”.

Foo Fighters shared the track on Conan O’Brien’s TBS show, joined by Bob Mould himself. And for the guitar fans among us, Mould slinging his own axe alongside the Foos means there’s one, two, three, FOUR GUITARS(!) in this performance… AH AH AH.