The first concert a person attends has the potential to have a transformative impact on the way they see the world, and that was the case for Dave Grohl in the early 1980s when he first witnessed a punk-rock show.
Grohl was already an obsessive music fan after being indoctrinated as a child by the work of The Beatles. However, seeing live music in the flesh remained out of reach until he was a teenager. Once he got his first taste of punk, the Foo Fighters frontman never looked back, and it’s been a way of life for him ever since.
He grew up in a small town in Virginia, where bands tended not to visit, and therefore, Grohl couldn’t attend concerts. However, in 1982, he spent the summer with his extended family in Illinois and having the bustling Chicago music scene on his doorstep was not something he took for granted.
Although it was only a summer, it was a life-affirming experience which made Grohl fall in love with punk. His cousin introduced him and his sister to an array of bands, including Naked Raygun, the first band he ever watched.
It was a night that Grohl credits with altering his life and one which remains imprinted on his mind. He told Q104.3 New York: “The first artist I ever saw in concert was a band called Naked Raygun, which was a punk-rock band from Chicago. I saw them at this tiny little hole in the wall across the street from Wrigley Field, this place called The Cubby Bear. This is, like, 1982 or 1983.”
He added: “I’d never seen a band before and my cousin took me to see a punk-rock band, and it totally changed my life. So I would be in lockdown with one of my favourite punk-rock bands of all time and I would probably be in heaven.”
Grohl has waxed lyrical about Naked Raygun on several occasions and credited them for the immeasurable impact they had on his life. In 2014, he paid tribute to the group by inviting them to open for Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field, which proved to be a memorable moment for the band.
“It was pretty gratifying,” Naked Raygun’s Jeff Pezatti told Spin. “We know he’s been giving shout-outs to the band for years at concerts, especially in Chicago, but I don’t think he’s really had the opportunity to do anything for us until then. He came and interviewed me and then had me play at the Cubby Bear, one song, ‘Surf Combat.’ It’s 58 seconds long, but that was fun”.
Grohl concluded: “Then the next day they asked us to play Wrigley, which is really nice of him. He didn’t have to do that, but he did, and we appreciate it. He seems to be very genuine. His band is all very nice people too. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve got the world by the ass.”
Watch the footage below of Grohl paying tribute to Naked Raygun.