The Rock God Who Was Turned Away From Pantera’s Strip Club

Henry Laurisch, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Dave Grohl has lived a hell of a life. From teenage hardcore kid to drummer of the most important grunge band of all time and then onto the role of frontman of the ultimate arena rock group, the man has approached his success with humility and gratitude.

He also happens to be one hell of a storyteller!

Bored during Covid lockdown, Dave took to Instagram to share some memorable anecdotes from his years on the road. In one such post, he regaled his followers with a tale about getting turned away from Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul’s strip club after taking a 200-mile detour just to hang out with the band.

As the story goes, Foo Fighters were added as a last minute replacement for Korn during the 1998 Ozzfest. He recalled, “Ozzfest? The Foo Fighters? The mother of all metal festivals, the meeting of all Marshalls, the most tyrannical thrashapalooza known to man was requesting … the ‘Learn to Fly’ guys?” and later wondering if Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out while filming an episode of Punk’d.”

The money was decent, so the band accepted. There was one big catch, though: Foo Fighters would be playing after Pantera. “Silence. Dead air. My throat closed, my stomach dropped. My butthole turned into a Star Wars trash compactor,” he said.

Awkward as Foo Fighters were in that environment, Pantera welcomed them with open arms. “We got along like a house on fire,” Grohl recalled. “Anyone who ever had the honor to hang out with Pantera knows that it was not for the faint of heart. First of all, there was never a band more welcoming, more hospitable, more down to earth than Pantera. It didn’t matter who you were, what you did, where you were from, they would welcome you in, stuff a beer in your hand, a shot in your mouth, and make you laugh harder than you’ve ever laughed before (until you wound up barfing it all back up and having the most soul crushing hangover of your life the next morning).”

When it came time for everyone to go their separate ways, Vinnie Paul slipped Grohl a business card and said, “Dude, next time you’re in Dallas, you gotta come by the Clubhouse.”

“To my amazement (but not surprise), they had their own strip club,” mused Grohl. As fate would have it, he and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins were about to embark on a cross-country drive. It was imperative that those plans include a stop-off in Dallas.

As they approached the club, Grohl realized he’d left his wallet (nicknamed “Fort Knox”) at a faraway gas station. 

“‘ID, please.’ The doorman stood there … waiting for me to do that old familiar ‘slap’ on the back pocket everyone does before whipping out their own trusty Fort Knox,” said Grohl. “Shit! I looked at Taylor, eyes wide in shock. He returned my panicked expression. All the blood rushed from my face. Tears welled up in my eyes. I began to tremble with fear. … ‘I lost my wallet in Barstow, sir.’

“Silence. A long, pregnant pause that made the ice age seem like a TikTok video. Then the words I most dreaded, more than the grim reaper himself, spilled from the doorman’s sneer: ‘Sorry, bud, can’t let you in without ID.’ Taylor jumped in and pleaded, ‘But, but, but … we’re friends with Pantera!’ The man looked up with his cold, dead eyes and growled, ‘Everyone’s friends with Pantera. Sorry.’”

Grohl never did get into the club, although he got his wallet back years later. Shockingly, the owners of the gas station kept it for him.

“Dime and Vinnie had since passed on to the great gig in the sky, but every memory I have of them is a joyous one,” Grohl concluded. “They are missed by many, but their legacy lives on. … They would have been your friends too.”