On Tuesday, March 3, Dave Grohl of the FOO FIGHTERS spoke to DC101's "Elliot In The Morning" about his upcoming documentary, "What Drives Us". The film finds Grohl exploring the mindset that compels musicians to leave behind everything and spend several months touring the country in a tiny van. According to a press release, the documentary delves into "motivations, recounts personal anecdotes, and explores the physical and psychological toll of touring in vans via interviews with members of van-tour veteran bands ranging from BLACK FLAG and DEAD KENNEDYS to METALLICA and THE BEATLES, and many, many more."
"Every band that you have ever seen, ever listened to, has probably started out in a van, 'cause that's just the way you do it," Dave explained (hear audio below).
"We still have our van from our first tour, and it's more than just some rust bucket full of gear on wheels; it represents something really special. So I started interviewing people, and what I realized was, whether it's The Edge from U2 or Lars [Ulrich] from METALLICA or Steven Tyler from AEROSMITH or Ringo [Starr] or Ben Harper or Ian MacKaye or young bands like RADKEY, everyone kind of started the same way. But beyond that, everyone started for the same reasons. And so it's, like, why on earth would you quit your job, pack a duffel bag and a sleeping bag, throw it into some crummy van with your stinky friends and just totally leave your life behind to play music? And all of these people basically do it for the same reasons and have the same story. And I think it's the key to becoming like a rewarded musician — someone that feels rewarded when they get up on stage and play. 'Cause you're doing it from the heart. And there's a lot of sacrifice, there's a lot of adventure, there's a lot of struggle, there's a lot of pain, there's a lot of high points, there's a lot of low points, but to hear these stories coming from someone like St. Vincent or the girls from L7, it's a beautiful story. Charlie, the clarinetist for the PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND in New Orleans, he's been touring for 70 years. He was touring when he was 12 years old, just after World War II, through the South. Back then, it was a segregation environment; they're like 'Green Book' stories. All these stories, people just keep going, because you've gotta get to the next gig."
Dave continued: "The thing that keeps you going is the passion and the fire to do that, and it stays with you your whole life. It's the reason why you go out and do that and sweat and not sleep and drive all night and unload and load your van. If the reason why you do that is a true love and passion for playing music, that never goes away. Of course, we're not humping our gear into the back of an old Dodge van anymore, but when we get up on stage, we get up on stage for the same reasons we did back then — it's the passion and the fire to do it. And it's the same. When me and Pat and Nate and Taylor and Chris and Rami, when we get on stage, honestly, it's no different than it was 25 years ago — it feels the same. There's still that kind of nervous, beautiful energy where you're about to go up and celebrate these songs that you've written together with people you may or may not know. And that's kind of what it's all about."
FOO FIGHTERS will celebrate their 25th anniversary this spring in some of the same cities where the first FF shows took place in 1995. Beginning April 12 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, the FOO FIGHTERS' 2020 "Van Tour" will hit a number of the same spots that Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel and Pat Smear trailblazed in a Dodge van all those years ago — in arenas this time, because aside from many of those clubs on that 1995 trek having since ceased to exist, squeezing a 2020 FF show into the few that are still around would just be too insane.