Everybody raise a glass to salute Dave Grohl, who turns 41 years old today. The Foo Fighters frontman can currently be seen sitting behind the drum kit for Them Crooked Vultures, the superstar power trio that also includes Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. It’s a comfortable spot for Grohl, who got his start in the music business as a skinsman for Washington, D.C. hardcore band Scream. He used those early gigs to sharpen the rugged, almost melodic style that helped define the sound of Nirvana, the group he joined in 1990.
As a part of one of the defining acts of the alternative rock revolution, Grohl’s drums became as important as Kurt Cobain’s wail. Just consider how powerful the snare crashes the party during the intro of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or the way the fills flesh out the hook during “In Bloom.”
When Nirvana ended, it seemed highly unlikely that Grohl would step off the drum riser and into his role as the frontman of what would become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, but that’s exactly what happened. (Just look as his discomfort in this clip and compare it to his gregarious nature now for proof.)
The first Foo Fighters record dropped in 1995 (save for a guitar solo by Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli, it was recorded entirely by Grohl). The albums kept coming (along with smash hits like “Learn to Fly,” “Everlong,” “Times Like These” and “Long Road to Ruin”), and along the way he has contributed to a number of side projects — including the metal-centric Probot, a collaborative project with a number of metal icons. That band yielded the incredible “Shake Your Blood,” featuring Grohl on drums and Motörhead frontman Lemmy on vocals.