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A Dave Grohl Interview Reveals The Real Reason Foo Fighters’ Former Drummer Quit The Band

When it comes to a band’s creative differences, sometimes things get worked out smoothly. But when they don’t, it sometimes leads to a band member leaving the group altogether. That’s what happened with one of Foo Fighters‘ early members, William Goldsmith, who was their drummer up until 1997. Dave Grohl has one account of the split, but a new interview reveals a very different story from Goldsmith himself.

Grohl recently sat down for a lengthy interview with Vulture about his storied career in the music industry. During the conversation, Grohl explained his side of the story when it came to Goldsmith leaving Foo Fighters during the The Colour And The Shape era. He said the band was working with Pixies’ producer Gil Norton, who was a “a whip-cracking, ass-kicking, do-it-50-times-to-get-it-right kind of producer.” The environment was tough, and Grohl said he “could see it wearing on William.”

After taking a break for the holidays, Grohl said he went down to Los Angeles to show Norton a few demos he recorded, and Norton asked him to re-record Goldsmith’s drums on some parts. When Grohl told Goldsmith about re-recording his drums, he said Goldsmith quit the band, though he tried to get him to stay:

“I’ll never forget one of the things he said: ‘Actually, my friend offered me a job digging ditches.’ I said, ‘Really? You know what? You should do that for a little while.’ I used to dig ditches. I did f*cking masonry when I was a kid in the Virginia summer heat. Go dig some ditches for a while, then you’ll want to be a drummer. So yeah, it kind of imploded. I begged him to stay; he refused to stay. That’s the bottom line.”

But when Vulture reached out to Goldsmith to corroborate Grohl’s series of events, the former drummer’s version of the story was very different — down to part about digging ditches:

“We had tracked drums on the record for up to 13 hours a day for three straight weeks, in one case doing 96 takes on a single song. So the idea that I would throw it all away because Dave wanted to play drums on two songs is preposterous. Finding out that all the work I’d done was being disregarded that led to my decision to leave.”

Goldsmith went on to say he couldn’t accept Grohl asking him to stay. “I couldn’t justify after all the work I put into the record was disregarded.” Goldsmith said. “I then made a joke saying ‘The world needs ditch-diggers too,’ which is a Caddyshack reference, but I guess he didn’t get it.”

Read Grohl’s full interview with Vulture here.