Josh Freese pays homage to Dave Grohl: “Playing drums behind one of the world’s greatest drummers is a total trip”

Josh Freese sat at DW drum kit, Glastonbury 2023
(Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty)

When you’ve started a new job, it’s a good idea to impress the boss. Newly-appointed Foo Fighters drummer Josh Freese has wasted no time in showing some respect to Dave Grohl’s other career as a drummer, by surprising the Foos frontman with a few bars of his own groove during his live drum solos.

Posting on his Instagram profile, Freese uploaded a clip of his third gig with Foo Fighters where he revealed that he decided off-the-cuff to drop in Grohl’s wrist-burner of a tom-and-snare groove from Nine Inch Nails’ You Know What You Are? —a song that Freese is no stranger to, given his stint as drummer for Trent Reznor’s band — during his drum solo in Breakout.

In the clip below, you can see Freese launch into the beat at around 30 seconds, to Grohl and guitarist Chris Shiflett's delight, before he transitions into some speedy sixteenths between his feet. At the end of the solo, Freese points to Grohl and appears to ask "Did you get that?!".

“Middle section of ‘Breakout’ on my 3rd Foo Fighters show about a month ago Columbus, Ohio. Out of nowhere, I decided to reference the NIN song “You Know What You Are” that I used to play every night on tour, but Dave recorded it on the record. 

“I love when he hears it and lights up. At the end, you can see me making sure he caught it. Yes, he caught it. Duh.”

Freese briefly takes stock of the whirlwind first few weeks in the gig, adding “BTW, playing drums behind one of the world’s greatest drummers is a TOTAL trip. Surprisingly not nerve wracking but really just inspiring and fun. And that’s the truth Ruth.”

Dave Grohl contributed drums to seven songs on Nine Inch Nails’ 2004 album, With Teeth, and You Know What You Are? is one of Dave Grohl’s finest drumming moments outside of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, featuring a busy, double kick-aping sixteenth-note beat between the rack tom and snare. The difficulty lies less in the technical aspect of the beat, but the stamina required to play it with power, up to tempo for the full song!

There aren’t many videos of Nine Inch Nails performing it live online, but you can watch Josh Freese playing it live in full above. 


Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.