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Dave Grohl’s Mom Writes About That Time She Hitched a Ride with Warren Haynes After September 11th

April 19, 2017

In the wake of the horror of September 11, 2001, the country scrambled to piece itself back together. With no air travel and a heap of uncertainty about just how we would continue, the country was at a standstill. 

For touring musicians at the time, this made their task of getting across the country all the more difficult and for some--impossible. Not only does that include the musicians, but also their mothers. 

In her new book From Cradle to Stage, Virginia Grohl (mother of Foo Fighter Dave Grohl) recounts a story that took place shortly after the horrific attacks that she watched from her home just minutes from Washington, DC. With her kids in California at the time, they urged their mother to get out of harm's way and to the opposite coast, but with no air travel she was tasked with finding a ride. 

"I tried to enlist a friend to accompany me, but her responsibilities would keep her in Virginia," she writes. After bailing on the idea of leaving, Dave called her up with an idea. 

"A short time later David called back. 'Mom, can you be ready in two hours? I've found a tour bus.'" That tour bus pulled up holding just one passenger--former Gov't Mule tour manager Matt Busch (who reported on this meeting for in 2001). "We got on the highway and headed east. We were driving to the outskirts of New York City where the final passenger, Warren Haynes, would board." 

So with Haynes, Busch and Mama Grohl in tow, the bus headed west with its first stop in Denver where Gov't Mule was at least attempting to kick off a tour (they would) on September 14. "Four disparate souls, confused by the chaotic events of the day, driving out of harm's way to further uncertainty," she writes. 

The bus ride seemed to prove therapeutic, as Grohl recounts the four strangers swapping stories and consoling each other in troubling, emotional times. When the bus pulled up to Denver, Grohl and the bus driver Barney decided to hang around for Mule's show, where Virginia got a crash course in the world of jambands. "I later realized that some of their remarkable hospitality was chemically induced," she jokes when discussing the overwhelming friendliness of the crowd at the show. "I was in the midst of swaying, gyrating fans, not the jumping-bean Foo Fighters fans I was used to. It felt like what I imagined a Grateful Dead reunion would be."

While Virginia, Haynes, Busch and Barney parted ways in Denver, they would meet again a few days later as Gov't Mule stopped in Hollywood, CA for a show at the House of Blues. Virginia attended and this time brought her rock star son, who sat in on the final song of the night with Warren and Mule--"Rockin' in the Free World."

Grohl closes the chapter with a fitting summation of the fateful meeting: "Unforgettable."