How David Bowie Broke Dave Grohl’s Heart
The conversation took place after the release of Bowie’s unexpected album The Next Day in 2013. Around 14 years earlier, the pair shared a studio while recording the track “Jewel” for guitarist Reeves Gabrel’s solo album Ulysses (Della Notte). Grohl recounted the tale in a new Dave’s True Stories Instagram post.
Recalling how he stole the handwritten lyrics Bowie used in the session, which he then gave to his sister, Grohl said, “Sadly, it was the last time I would ever see David Bowie. Had I known, I would have thanked him for all the gifts he had given me.”
In 2013, Grohl was asked to write a song for “a big budget, major motion picture.” He didn’t name the production, which he said was “one of those action-packed, comic book, CGI-type of things.” He had the idea of asking Bowie to work on it with him, and sent the track to Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti. Grohl eventually received an email from Bowie.
"He was very kind, very complimentary and full of his signature wit,” Grohl noted. “He explained that this particular genre of film wasn’t really his thing (‘I’m just not made for these times,’ he said) but would love to collaborate on something else someday.”
That resulted in a joking exchange to which Bowie responded, “Well, that’s settled. Now fuck off,” which Grohl took seriously at first. Referring to a concert he attended, Grohl asked, “What, no more birthday parties at Madison Square Garden?” "No more birthdays. I’ve run out of them," Bowie replied.
Grohl recalled that “the relief washed over me like a glorious baptism” after realizing that the “fuck off” wasn't serious. “We ended the exchange with pleasantries," he noted, with Bowie saying he’d “love to collaborate on something else someday.”
Bowie's death in 2016 rendered that impossible and left Grohl with feelings of “fondness and also deep sadness.” “It broke my heart to re-read the line ‘No more birthdays, I’ve run out of them,’ thinking that maybe, just maybe he knew something that we didn’t," Grohl wrote. "And, being the gentleman that he always was, didn’t want us to suffer his pain. ... Nothing lasts forever, I know, but the best things always seem to end much too soon.”