Josh Freese revealed that almost everyone he knew, including his wife, believed he’d be invited to join the Foo Fighters – but it came as a surprise when Dave Grohl made the phone call.

The former Guns N’ Roses and Nine Inch Nails drummer said he hadn’t even mentioned the idea to Grohl when he appeared at the two tribute shows for Taylor Hawkins in 2022. But Freese also knew that, once asked, he couldn’t say no.

“On my children’s lives, I had zero plans of being called to be the drummer,” he told Rick Beato in a recent interview (video below). “Everyone and their mother, my neighbor walking the dog [were like], ‘Hey Josh, the Foo Fighters call you yet?’

“Other people were hitting me up, other drummers, Reddit forums… I’m going, ‘I don’t even know if they’re gonna continue.’ … Most people I knew said, ‘They’re gonna have to.’”

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Freese said he “wanted to give everybody space” at the tribute shows, adding: “I wasn't gonna be another guy coming at Dave, going, ‘So, dude, if you need a drummer, I’m around. I’m just saying.’ … I was busy enough and making a good enough living already… I wasn’t going, ‘God, I hope they call.’”

Freese knew Grohl had written some songs and planned to record them after the tribute shows, but he didn’t hear anything until just before Christmas 2022. “I was on a walk with my wife and some of our dogs, and I go, ‘Ah, Dave just tried calling me like 20 minutes ago.’ And she’s like, ‘I know why he’s calling you.’ I was like, ‘Easy. I’m not thinking that.’ I swear to God, that's not why I thought.

“I go… ‘He might be having a New Year’s Eve party. He might be doing a project where he has all those drummer friends of ours that perform at the thing [and] we each play a track. He could be calling me for numerous reasons.’”

When he called Grohl back, the conversation focused on plans for the holiday season. “We small-talked about Christmas and our kids and do they still believe in Santa Claus, And who’s the hardest to shop for,” Freese recalled.

“[Eventually] I said, ‘Hey, did you go record?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, we recorded a bunch of stuff. And I played drums, and I’m really happy with the way it sounds. … And we had the drummer talk. And we want you to be the guy.’” Freese said he “felt like someone kind of socked me in the stomach,” continuing: “I didn’t go, ‘Wow, yippee, this is so cool!’ I didn’t get excited like that. It was almost like I got the wind knocked out of me. And I was like, ‘Oh my God.’

Josh Freese Knows Dave Grohl is Really Foo Fighters’ Drummer

“I was [also] like, ‘Here we go.’ ‘Cause I knew… I’d had time to think about it and all that… there’s sometimes when you go, ‘You know you’ve gotta do this, right?’ It couldn’t have gone down any other way after being asked, and being asked by someone that I’ve respected forever, not just as a songwriter and a singer/guitarist, but as a drummer.

“First and foremost for me, Dave is such a bad motherfucker, man. And he just innately has this thing. That stuff can’t be taught… And I used to talk about it with Taylor all the time. He was, like, ‘Oh, man… look at Dave.’ He loved Dave’s drumming, and we’d talk about it.”

Freese, who made his first appearance with the Foo Fighters in May 2023, said he regarded Grohl as not just the band leader, but effectively the drummer too. “I’ve tried to let that be a source of inspiration and excitement… rather than letting it intimidate me or freak me out,” he explained.

“If you start going down that path, it could intimidate you and freak you out. ‘My God, I’m Dave Grohl’s drummer!’ But he makes it so comfortable and good and natural, the way we play together. … It’s all good stuff.”

Watch Josh Freese Talking to Rick Beato

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Gallery Credit: Corey Irwin