In Maps to the Stars, Curbed DC maps the lives of the most notable figures in Washington, D.C. history through the places that were important to them.
Washington, D.C.'s punk scene in the late 1980's gave birth to artists that continue to influence the music scene today. One artist in particular, Dave Grohl, plans to return to the city that totally defined his musical style on July 4, 2015 to kick off his Sonic Highways tour. "The community, the support, the love that was here in the D.C. music scene has carried over into what I do now," he said in the HBO TV series, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways. It was in Springfield, VA that Dave first began his musical journey when he started learning guitar at the age of 9. In high school, he moved on to playing concerts at the Lake Braddock Community Center in Burke, VA, getting him noticed by the Bailey's Crossroads-based punk band, Scream. At the age of 17, Dave was recruited as their drummer for a European tour that eventually led to his path down Nirvana.
In fifth grade, Dave founded his first band, called the H.G. Hancock Band. Before eventually dropping out of high school, Dave played punk songs over Annandale's Thomas Jefferson High School's intercom as part of his role as the freshman class vice president. During this time, he played as a drummer in bands like Dain Bramage and Freak Baby. He also often made the trek to the Washington, D.C. concert venue, 9:30 Club, where he found some of his first musical influences like Fugazi and Minor Threat.
Before joining Scream in 1986, Dave had to lie about his age, telling them he was three years older than he really was. The band eventually broke up after four years, causing Dave to then reach out to Nirvana to become their drummer. Even after joining the band, though, Dave was hesitant to introduce his own songs to them. Instead, he decided to record a solo album, titled Pocketwatch, at the Laundry Room Studio in Arlington, VA. A year later, Nirvana's break-through album, Nevermind, was released, catapulting the band to success.
After Cobain's death in 1994, there were circulating rumors about what Dave's future would hold and what new band he would join. In 1995, Dave founded The Foo Fighters, releasing the band's first album with help from Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear. Soon after, Dave moved to Arlington to record the album version of "Walking After You" in WGNS Studios, performing the vocals and every instrumental part except for bass. In 1999, Dave made his own recording studio in the basement of his house in Alexandria, VA, recording various songs for the Foo Fighters' third album, There is Nothing Left to Lose.
Dave continues to speak about his Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. influences through music and documentaries. In songs like "Arlandria" and "The Feast and the Famine," Dave references different locations in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Additionally, in the Washington, D.C. documentary, "Salad Days," he describes the punk scene from 1980 to 1990 and how it influenced him. Nowadays, he's been focused on his newest album, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, as well as the Sonic Highways HBO TV series. In the map below, here is a guide to the schools, studios, and other locations that influenced Dave Grohl as a person and as a musician.
· Foo Fighters Get Awesomely Personal With Intimate Washington D.C. Show [Fuse]
· Dave Grohl bio cites many Northern Va. historical landmarks for future Nirvana, Foo Fighters star [The Washington Post]
· Exclusive: Dave Grohl Returns to D.C. Roots in 'Sonic Highways' Clip [Rolling Stone]
· Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl teases 'Sonic Highways' television series with trailer - watch
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/foo-fighters/77632#bwsU3skiu3T6Fqmw.99 [NME]
· Curbed Maps archive [Curbed DC]