There’s something amazing about watching a person live out their dream. When that person is a kid, an eleven-year-old girl, it’s even more emotional. Nandi Bushell, a drumming prodigy from England, got to live her dream out the other night by helping the band Foo Fighters close out a concert in California.
How it all started
Everlong holds a special place in my own heart. It’s my favorite Foo Fighters song, and in 2019 I went to a private Foo Fighters concert during CES is Las Vegas. The venue was small, and I managed to work my way to the front, right in front of Dave Grohl. He practically sang Everlong right to me.
Nandi Bushell is also a big Foo Fighters fan, and I loved following her story during the COVID lockdown. Most people think it all started a little over a year ago, when she posted a video covering the drum part of Everlong, and challenging Dave Grohl to a drum-off. Pretty bold for a kid, but she had the talent to back it up.
But it actually started a couple of months before that, when Nirvana’s producer sends Dave Grohl a video of Nandi covering In Bloom, a Nirvana song (for those of you who don’t know, Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer).
The best way to tell this story is through video, since up until the other night, that’s where everything had played out.
So, she was already in Dave’s head when the challenge came. She covered Everlong, challenging Dave to a drum battle.
According to Dave Grohl, he started getting texts from all over the world, telling him that this girl had challenged him. And he was like, whatever. But all of his friends insisted that he check out the video. And he did.
Nandi answered Dave’s challenge, dressed like a Nirvana band member.
After meeting Dave’s challenge, Nandi really upped the stakes with a new challenge of her own: a new song, that she wrote, and plays all of the instruments in, AND sings. Called “Rock and Grohl — The EPIC Battle,” this song shows that Nandi doesn’t even need a band. She is a band. (Oh, and did I mention that she also has a little brother, who is also a musician??)
Keep in mind, during this time other stuff has been happening too. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine sends her his guitar. She makes tons of other cover videos. She is busy.
But Dave comes back at her with another challenge: a song that he writes for and about her!
Finally, they meet…over Zoom
Dave tells her that he quit playing drums because he couldn’t be as good as she is. She tells him to practice. She is AWESOME.
And then, in an interview with Stephen Colbert, Dave Grohl Concedes Defeat.
But they still hadn’t met. Until LA. Until Dave asked Nandi to close the show, on Everlong.
There are lots of videos out there of Nandi in LA, but this is THE definitive video to watch. It has her seeing Dave for the first time, the soundcheck, and all the best angles for the song. (If you want to show it to your kids, and you should, just know that Dave is incapable of avoiding the F-word.)
I tear up watching it. Nandi is amazing, Dave is amazing, the pink drum set is amazing, the entire story is epic. But the sweetest moment for me is at the very end, when she throws one of her drumsticks out into the crowd, and starts to throw the second one, but then realizes that she wants to keep it. She knows how big this moment was.