The Reason Dave Grohl Chose Foo Fighters Over Tom Petty

Dave Grohl joined Nirvana after various drummers went in and out of the band. Although he wasn’t the first choice, Grohl rose to success rapidly as his recruitment coincided with the release of Nirvana’s classic ‘Nevermind.’ It also marked the beginning of a close friendship between him and Kurt Cobain. They supported each other through tough times and stood by each other’s side.

Sadly, Kurt Cobain took his life just four years after Grohl became an official member. In such a short period, the two became best friends and shared numerous good memories together. So, it’s not a surprise that Cobain’s untimely passing affected Grohl deeply. As it turns out, the tragic news even caused him to turn down the offer to join Tom Petty as the Heartbreakers’ drummer.

Following Stan Lynch’s departure, Dave Grohl joined Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers for occasional shows. When he appeared with the band behind his drum kit for Saturday Night Live, it had been just several months since Kurt Cobain departed from this world. In a 2021 interview with NME, the musician recalled how he almost took Tom Petty’s offer.

“We had so much fun, and we all got along so well,” Grohl recalled about the performance. “[Petty] could get a world-class drummer – like any dude. We played ‘SNL,’ and afterward, he was like, ‘Man, that was good. It will be a shame if that’s the only time we do it’ sort of thing.”

Dave Grohl continued, “And then [Petty] called me at home, and he’s like, ‘Well, look. If you want, here’s how we do it: you get your own bus, and we don’t tour too hard.’ He was kind of explaining like, ‘If you’re into it, come out and do it for a little while.”

“I just felt weird about going right back to the drums,” the drummer admitted. “Because it would have just reminded me of being in Nirvana. It would have been sad for me personally. It would have been an emotional thing to be behind the drumset every night and not have Kurt there. So I was like, ‘Nah, f*ck it. I’m going to try this other thing.’”

Tom Petty offered Dave Grohl to join his Heartbreakers, but he lacked the enthusiasm to continue as a drummer without Kurt Cobain or Nirvana. Instead, he focused on exploring his own limits and showcasing his true potential with Foo Fighters.