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The Dave Grohl Guide to Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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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]

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1. N. Springfield Elementary School

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7602 Heming Court
Springfield, VA 22151

In fifth grade at this elementary school, Dave formed his first band, the H.G. Hancock Band.

2. 9:30 Club

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815 V Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001

Many of Dave's first musical influences were found in the concert venue, 9:30 Club. Some of the bands he found there included Bad Brains and Circle Jerks.

3. Thomas Jefferson High School

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6560 Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

As a freshman, Dave was elected Vice President of his freshman class. His role in this position was to play punk songs on the school intercom during the morning announcements.

4. Annandale High School

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4700 Medford Drive
Annandale, VA 22003

Dave attended Annadale High School before dropping out to join the band Scream.

5. Lake Braddock Community Center

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9528 Ashbourn Drive
Burke, VA 22015

In high school, Dave often played at the Lake Braddock Community Center as a drummer for the bands Freak Baby, Mission Impossible, and Dain Bramage.

6. Dave Joins Scream

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After dropping out of Annandale High School, Dave joined the Bailey's Crossroads-based punk band, Scream, for a European tour in 1986. This launched him into a career a professional musician.

7. Laundry Room Studio

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North Upland Street
Arlington, VA 22207

In late 1990, Dave recorded his solo album, "Pocketwatch," at the Laundry Room Studio, named because it was originally located in the laundry room of the owner's Arlington home.

8. WGNS Studios

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Church Street
Falls Church, VA 22041

In 1996, Dave recorded the album version of "Walking After You" in WGNS Studios. He performed on vocals and all instrumental parts except bass.

9. Dave's Home

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Nicholson Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302

In 1999, Dave built a 24-track recording studio in the basement of his home, recording various songs for the third Foo Fighters album, "There is Nothing Left to Lose."

10. Arlandria

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Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA

The Alexandria neighborhood, Arlandria, is referenced in the Foo Fighters songs, "Arlandria" and "Headwires."

11. 14th and U

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14th Street Northwest & U Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009

In the song, "The Feast and the Famine," there is the lyric, "Last night they were burning for truth, down at the corner of 14th and U." According to Rolling Stone, Washington, D.C.'s 14th and U streets were the primary location for the 1968 riots.

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1. N. Springfield Elementary School

7602 Heming Court, Springfield, VA 22151

In fifth grade at this elementary school, Dave formed his first band, the H.G. Hancock Band.

7602 Heming Court
Springfield, VA 22151

2. 9:30 Club

815 V Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001

Many of Dave's first musical influences were found in the concert venue, 9:30 Club. Some of the bands he found there included Bad Brains and Circle Jerks.

815 V Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001

3. Thomas Jefferson High School

6560 Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22312

As a freshman, Dave was elected Vice President of his freshman class. His role in this position was to play punk songs on the school intercom during the morning announcements.

6560 Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

4. Annandale High School

4700 Medford Drive, Annandale, VA 22003

Dave attended Annadale High School before dropping out to join the band Scream.

4700 Medford Drive
Annandale, VA 22003

5. Lake Braddock Community Center

9528 Ashbourn Drive, Burke, VA 22015

In high school, Dave often played at the Lake Braddock Community Center as a drummer for the bands Freak Baby, Mission Impossible, and Dain Bramage.

9528 Ashbourn Drive
Burke, VA 22015

6. Dave Joins Scream

South Washington Boulevard, United States

After dropping out of Annandale High School, Dave joined the Bailey's Crossroads-based punk band, Scream, for a European tour in 1986. This launched him into a career a professional musician.

7. Laundry Room Studio

North Upland Street, Arlington, VA 22207

In late 1990, Dave recorded his solo album, "Pocketwatch," at the Laundry Room Studio, named because it was originally located in the laundry room of the owner's Arlington home.

North Upland Street
Arlington, VA 22207

8. WGNS Studios

Church Street, Falls Church, VA 22041

In 1996, Dave recorded the album version of "Walking After You" in WGNS Studios. He performed on vocals and all instrumental parts except bass.

Church Street
Falls Church, VA 22041

9. Dave's Home

Nicholson Lane, Alexandria, VA 22302

In 1999, Dave built a 24-track recording studio in the basement of his home, recording various songs for the third Foo Fighters album, "There is Nothing Left to Lose."

Nicholson Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302

10. Arlandria

Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA

The Alexandria neighborhood, Arlandria, is referenced in the Foo Fighters songs, "Arlandria" and "Headwires."

Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA

11. 14th and U

14th Street Northwest & U Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20009

In the song, "The Feast and the Famine," there is the lyric, "Last night they were burning for truth, down at the corner of 14th and U." According to Rolling Stone, Washington, D.C.'s 14th and U streets were the primary location for the 1968 riots.

14th Street Northwest & U Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009