In the mid-Seventies, David Bowie briefly lived in Los Angeles while recording his 1976 album Station to Station. Shortly after joining Beck for a pre-Grammys performance of “The Man Who Sold the World,” Dave Grohl and Pat Smear hit up some of Bowie’s famous LA haunts for Playboy, as the two drove around in a truck reminiscing about the man seemingly from another planet who ch-ch-ch-ch-changed the world.
The Foos share stories about all their past run-ins with Bowie, dating way back to Smear’s time with LA punk outfit The Germs. (Smear and Germs vocalist Darby Crash went so far as stalking Bowie around town, picking up used cigarettes off the ground and pinning their song lyrics on his windshield – EXTREME!)
The two stop at Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, the Rainbow Room, and even call up Joan Jett as they cruise by one of her old houses located in the same hood Bowie lived.
The real meat of his fun jaunt is Grohl’s retelling of his last email exchange with Bowie. In the clip, Grohl says. “About two years ago, I got approached by this movie to do a song for the movie, so I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll have someone else sing. I’ll do the music and then have another vocalist.’ And then I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll ask and see if David would do it.’ So the next day I get an email and it said, ‘David, I watched the movie and I got to be honest, it’s not my thing.’ He said, ‘I’m not made for these times. So thanks, but I think I’m gonna sit this one out.'”
Grohl says that after thanking Bowie, he quickly received another reply: “Alright, well that’s settled then. Now, fuck off.” Unsure whether he was joking, Grohl messaged back to say he’d see Bowie in 16 years at his next big birthday concert. Grohl recalls, “He immediately sends one back and says, ‘Don’t hold your breath. No more birthdays, I’ve run out of them.’ But then he wrote, ‘But that was a really fun night, wasn’t it.'”
Watch Grohl and Smear’s musical pilgrimage in full: