Foo Fighters’ Grohl gets ‘revenge’ for 9th-grade battle of the bands loss

December 1, 2023 | (Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON — Sometimes revenge takes a while to ripen, but when it finally does, the fruit is sweet.

Dave Grohl, lead singer of Foo Fighters, took the opportunity to good-naturedly reopen an old wound, and share the stage with a high school nemesis who defeated Grohl in a ninth-grade battle of the bands.

On Wednesday, Grohl told the crowd at FedEx Forum, in Memphis, about his experience as a freshman at Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, when he and friends learned a couple of songs and entered the battle to see whose band was best.

“It was the greatest moment of my life — it was the big gig; this was it,” enthused Grohl, who spent his teenage years in Springfield. (Earlier on this tour, the never-understated Grohl declared his chance to play with members of DC’s Bad Brains as the greatest moment of his life, but why quibble?)

On stage in Memphis, Grohl sheepishly admitted his high school band performed the theme from “Footloose.”

“I don’t know what we were thinking — we played the theme from ‘Footloose.’ Guess what? We lost the battle of the bands,” said Grohl.

He then told the crowd, “Tonight, here in the audience somewhere, the man that beat me in the high school battle of the bands.”

As the crowed reacted, Grohl said “Don’t boo him; he’s a good man — evidently a better <expletive> musician than I am.”

Grohl’s nemesis, Chet Lott, the son of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, of Mississippi, jogged toward the stage and climbed up with Grohl, as Foo Fighters played the familiar bass and drum groove of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.”

Lott — a singer in his own right — and Grohl embraced, in front of the elaborate seat from which Grohl performs as a broken leg heals.

“Have a seat at the foot of my throne, Chet,” Grohl winked out loud, inviting Lott to sing along, as the crowd cheered.

The politician’s son was apparently gracious.

“You know what he just said,” Grohl told the audience. “He said, ‘We may have won the battle, but you won the war.'”

On social media, Lott posted videos of the encounter, declaring it “my 15 minutes of fame.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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