Soundbites: Dave Grohl seeks refuge in Arlandria

Dave Grohl must love the Wafle Shop (or its alter-ego, the less fittingly spelled Waffle Shop) on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Arlandria. 

Theres no proof he ever sat on their sticky, maroon stools, but the 4 a.m. Breakfast Special is fit for a rock star, and hes written a song called Arlandria onto the Foo Fighters new album, Wasting Light. The logic is flawless: Grohl, lead singer of the Foo Fighters, ate soggy eggs at the Wafle.

Grohls time in Alexandria is well documented. He learned literature at Bishop Ireton High School before learning how to forge the most important rock movement of the 90s with Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, a.k.a. Nirvana. His band recorded an album at his moms basement off Russel Road.

Plus I saw him at the Quaker Lane 7-Eleven once.

But more influential to Grohls craft as a drummer and musician were D.C. punk bands Minor Threat and Bad Brains. Hes indicated these guys taught him to be a rock star, and he hasnt forgotten, judging from Wasting Light.

That doesnt mean this album is a breakthrough for the Foos its in sync with their history of energetic rock mixed with mass appeal and a 70s tinge; it means this album is a million decibels better the further to the right the volume knob is cranked.

The bands seventh record comes complete with the return of guitarist Pat Smear, who lends a formerly missing touch to the group, particularly on the sonically engaging Rope. 

And former Nirvana bassist Novoselic makes an appearance on I Should Have Known, a tender commemoration of Cobain. But for the most part Wasting Light is quintessential Foos unfortunate for the casual almost-fan but fortunate for the avid follower.

Back&Forth exemplifies the bands formula for success, but for the same reason is relatively meh: a choppy, heavy guitar to start, progressively more complex solos, really fat bass riffs and a bridge echoing the rest of the song. And of course Grohls guttural yet melodic wails and howls.

One of the few delineations from the formula is on White Limo, a raw throwback to Grohls obsession with punk. Its a lot of screaming over a nonstop clashing of biting guitar picks and never-ending drums, the best track on the album and the last reason the band is one of the most famous acts in the world.

The antithesis of White Limo and whats bound to be the local favorite is Arlandria. Its easy listening, enough said. But its more interesting to speculate why the neighborhood suspended between Arlington and Alexandria, also known as Chirilagua, has played such a significant role in Grohls songwriting. (Arlandria makes an appearance in the song Headwires on an earlier album, when Grohl wails, The sun is on Arlandria.)

Could it be the Birchmere? Its a storied venue for storied musicians. Maybe.

Other than the Wafle Shop, Chrilagua boasts a fine Peruvian-style chicken joint in Senor Pollo. But assuming Grohl, a titan of rock stardom, thinks about more than food when he writes words worth millions of dollars, look no further than the Internet for the answer.

Arlandria is where my house was when I moved back to Virginia, Grohl said in an interview on MTVs website. And like when Nirvana was super popular and things got really crazy, if it got too crazy, Id go back to Virginia and just hang out with my buddies that Id known since I was five so I always go back to Virginia when things get too out of control, so its really about me hiding away from everybody.

Hes doing a good job of it the Times couldnt get an interview. But dont be surprised if he seeks refuge following whats bound to be another success for the Foo Fighters.

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Alexandria Times Staff

(1) Reader Comment

  1. The band is Foo Fighters–not the Foo Fighters. You don’t say “The Led Zepplin”, “The AC/DC”, “The REO Speedwagon”.

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