Dave Grohl talks murdering his bandmates in 'Studio 666' horror flick, dropping F-bombs with Lionel Richie, and that time he almost joined GWAR

There’s apparently nothing that Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl can’t or won’t do. In the past decade alone, he has penned the best-selling memoir The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music; written a new Fraggle Rock theme song; been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a second time; released an EP of faithful Bee Gees covers; and produced two docuseries (Sonic Highways and From Cradle to Stage) and two rockumentaries (Sound City and What Drives Us). So, the only thing left to add to his résumé is… starring as a possessed demon in a supernatural horror comedy, of course!

And that’s just what he and his fellow Foos are doing this month — just because they can — with the full-length slasher flick Studio 666.

While Studio 666’s plot centers on the making of the Foo Fighters’ 2021 album, Medicine at Midnight, in a haunted Encino mansion, the film is most definitely not a documentary. The B.J. McDonnell-directed romp depicts the Nicest Man in Rock, Grohl himself, morphing into a monster and going on a killing spree, murdering his real-life bandmates (Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffee) in various violent ways. Shiflett gets BBQ-grilled and cannibalized, for instance, while Foos drummer Hawkins gets decapitated by a razor-edged cymbal that Grohl throws, Frisbee-style, directly at his throat. And then in a literally climactic scene, Jaffee and an old-school groupie (played by Whitney Cummings) experience the grisliest sort of coitus interruptus, when Grohl invades their bedroom wielding a chainsaw.

It’s all very funny — but also surprisingly bloody disgusting. According to a press statement, Studio 666 was inspired by rock 'n' roll cult classics like KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park and the Monkees’ Head, but it actually has just as much in common with Evil Dead, with a touch of The Shining.

“I mean, listen — someone says, ‘Hey, here's some cameras, make a horror film’ — you're gonna order extra blood!” Grohl laughs, sitting with two of his bandmates/co-stars/onscreen victims, Smear and Shiflett. “There were times when we were filming some of those scenes where I would hear the director screaming at the guy who's pumping the blood. He's just going, ‘More blood, more blood, more blood!’”

The theatrical poster for 'Studio 666.' (Photo: Open Road Films)
The theatrical poster for 'Studio 666.' (Photo: Open Road Films)

The Foos confess that they didn’t do all their own Studio 666 stunts. “There was this one scene where me and [comedian] Jeff Garlin [who plays a sleazy record executive] are kicking each other in the nuts over and over — that was a stunt guy. I was not about to jump into that scene,” Grohl notes sensibly. But Grohl says getting into murderous character wasn’t all that difficult. The much bigger challenge of that above-mentioned Hawkins scene, for instance, was actually “the part where I'm screaming at Taylor that he's not doing it right on the drums,” he says. “That was hard for me!”

“That’s like his nightmare!” Smear laughs. “That was the hardest part for me — like, having to be mean to my guys. I didn't like that part.”

“I know! I've never screamed at Taylor. … It's hard for me as a drummer to make a record with another drummer, because I really feel like I have to be very gentle in a way and be like, ‘You know, it's cool, that's great. Maybe try this, maybe try that.’ But you know, I don't have, like, fangs hanging outta my mouth and decapitate with a cymbal or whatever,” Grohl chuckles. “But you know, there are a lot of sort of realistic clichés in the film with go a band — going into the studio to make a record, where then you have creative differences or someone has writer's block, and there's tension. But the movie, of course, is a much more exaggerated version of that.”

In one especially memorable writer’s-blocked Studio 666 scene, Grohl’s pal Lionel Richie, whom Grohl serenaded with Richie’s “You Are” at the Grammys’ MusiCares gala in 2016, makes a surprise cameo. And in keeping with the flick’s solid R rating, the pop/soul legend drops the F-bomb — several times – when he isn’t pleased to overhear Grohl singing (or plagiarizing) another Richie hit. What’s most shocking about this appearance from Lionel — America’s sweetheart, perhaps the only man in music more lovable than Grohl himself — is the profanity was all Richie’s ad-lib.

“You know, to be honest, that wasn't in the script,” Grohl reveals. “In the script it was, ‘We all have writer's block, but that's my song. That's my song!’ And then he basically said, ‘You want me to ramp it up a little bit?’ We were like, ‘Yeah!’ And then he was like, ‘That's my f***ing song!’ Like, he went for it. That was Lionel; that was not the director or us. He's like, ‘Want some more?’ We're like, ‘Yes, Lionel, yes! More!’ Wow, he went there. It was great.”

While Grohl has trashed American Idol in the past, even claiming that such shows are “destroying the next generation of musicians,” now that his buddy Richie is a regular judge on Idol, one has to wonder if Grohl and the Foos would ever consider guesting on the family-friendly show — perhaps as mentors on a themed Nineties Night? To that question, Grohl deadpans, “Well, you know, I have some good advice for Nineties Night: Be four hours late, be completely unprepared…”

Ohhh, it's gonna get dark,” Smear interjects with a giggle.

“Yeah,” Grohl continues. “And someone has to…

“…be on… heroin?” Smear suggests.

“OK, yes. We would love to mentor Nineties Night. But we gotta do it the right way,” Grohl quips.

Well, perhaps it’s unlikely that Grohl will appear on an R-rated Idol episode any time soon. But Studio 666 is obviously the perfect screen vehicle for him — because he’s such a longtime horror fan that when he was teenager, long before he was in the famous ‘90s band Nirvana, he almost joined gory shock-rockers GWAR.

“So, I'm from Virginia. I grew up outside of Washington D.C., and GWAR was from Richmond. ... So we'd met; they'd seen me play the drums,” Grohl recalls. “It was probably 1987 that they needed a drummer, and the guitar player at the time, his name is Dewey [Rowell, aka Flattus Maximus]. We got in touch and he asked if I wanted to join. GWAR were becoming huge — like, in the underground scene back then, if 500 people showed up to your show, you were a huge band! And so I actually considered it for a moment. He said, ‘You know, as a drummer, you don't want anything that's blocking your face; you want your arms to be free.’ So, I started drawing out this costume. And then I kind of thought, like, ‘Wait a minute. Am I gonna invite my uncle or my mom to a GWAR show? I don't really think I do it.’”

Whether Grohl wants to invite his relatives to watch him decapitate, dismember, and/or barbecue his bandmates in the blood-soaked Studio 666remains to be seen — but clearly, this was the role he was born to play. The Foo Fighters’ Studio 666 debuts in theaters on Feb. 25.

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— Video produced by Jen Kucsak, edited by Jimmie Rhee