Rich Howells

Scranton musician Pat Finnerty got Dave Grohl to sing and chat with him on Instagram

Scranton musician Pat Finnerty got Dave Grohl to sing and chat with him on Instagram
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Dave Grohl is a hero to so many people, musicians and fans alike, but this week, Pat Finnerty is a hero in Scranton, Philadelphia, and beyond after his little Instagram show snagged the Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman as a guest last night.

Finnerty, a 40-year-old Scranton native who made his name in the area with bands like Okay Paddy, And the Moneynotes, and the Tom Petty Appreciation Band, has been living in Philadelphia for the past 10 years and established himself there with Pat Finnerty and the Full Band, their live band karaoke at Johnny Brenda’s, and his Tom Petty tribute.

Most musicians have been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, but Finnerty’s career seems to be taking off due to his creativity in these difficult times. He first went viral in May after playing on the roof of his West Philadelphia home with fellow Northeastern Pennsylvania musicians Brian Langan and Justin Mazer, along with members of Dr. Dog and mewithoutYou. This led to another socially distanced house gig, followed by a rooftop show at Johnny Brenda’s, all covered by news outlets like NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and WXPN’s The Key.

Meanwhile, he started “The Pat Finnerty Show” on Instagram, where he chats with guests and records different songs all by himself in under an hour. Live streamed from his bedroom with a simple sheet hanging in the background and a logo inspired by Dunkin’ Donuts, the show is as much a showcase for his fun and positive personality as it is his love of music, so it’s no wonder that it attracted the likes of Dave Grohl.

With a cardboard cutout of Grohl making appearances throughout “The Pat Finnerty Show” and on a few rooftops, Finnerty always had the goal of “Let’s get Grohl,” but what did that mean? Last week, he figured it out – he wanted him to appear on the show and sing Sting’s part in the Dire Straits hit “Money for Nothing.” To do this, he planned to stream a 24-hour “Grohl-A-Thon” starting Saturday, Aug. 15 to try and grab his attention by getting viewers to post on social media or use whatever connections they had to reach him. In just nine hours, he was talking with the man himself.

On Sunday, Aug. 16, Grohl was drinking some wine at home with friends when he heard the story and decided to call in. Not only did he sing the “I want my MTV” part, he played the beat on drums and talked with Finnerty for about 15 minutes. Both sported big grins as they chatted about the song’s controversial lyrics, Foo Fighters touring with the Kaiser Chiefs, meeting Jeff Lynne, Eddie Van Halen talking about Randy Rhoads, an introduction to Grohl’s party guests, and the possibility of meeting up in Philly sometime. He also got to ask him one important question.

“Is it good to be Grohl?” Finnerty inquired.

“Oh yeah, it’s the fucking best,” Grohl replied. “It’s awesome all the time. It’s nonstop.”

Finnerty also told him that he has always looked up to him, starting playing drums because of him, and called him a “great ambassador of rock ‘n’ roll” before asking him for one more thing – if they perform together on a rooftop someday, he wants Grohl to descend from a helicopter to sing that part again through a megaphone because it’d be “the dumbest thing that ever happened.” Grohl said he’d like to come down from the chopper and play the drums in that unlikely scenario.

“You’ve got the gig,” Finnerty said.

“Pretty much every morning I wake up and pinch myself,” Grohl said, recalling small clubs like J.C. Dobbs on South Street. “I think about that stuff still all the time. I grew up outside of D.C., so we would come up there for punk rock shows, to see McRad and shit like that in the ’80s when we were young. But I always really do pinch myself, so when I hear about stuff like this happening, it’s really weird and surreal for me but, ultimately, it’s really flattering and it makes me really happy that I get to share my music with a lot of people.

“To hear that you’ve been sitting there for nine fucking hours, dude. There’s no way I was not going to call in. Just so you could like take a fucking nap and go to bed. Listen, it means the world to me that you’re doing this. Thank you so much. It’s fucking really cool.”

After their chat, Finnerty talked about this surprise meeting and how it means nothing and everything at the same time.

“We’ve got to do shit in this life. We’re only allowed once, and you’ve got to get Grohl if you have a conviction to get Grohl. … I was searching for an idea. I didn’t have one. That’s why I didn’t get back on the roof. I wasn’t doing ‘Pat Finnerty Shows’ anymore. I was started to get a little depressed. I didn’t know what to do. Then it came to the idea ‘Let’s get Grohl.’ The whole time it was there,” he explained excitedly.

“I’ve been fucking a fan of that guy since I was 11 years old and I was talking to him. And I was kind of giving him the business!”

The story was quickly picked up by Rolling Stone, and he told them, “Grohl was as cool as I knew he would be.”

“I’ve always wanted to host a talk show, and corona has kind of given me one. I want it to grow so that I could do cooler shit because I have ridiculous ideas that I think will all work. … The messages that I’ve been getting all day were, ‘It’s so inspiring what you did, because you set a goal and you achieved it,’” he said.

“I’m this fucking nobody and I got to Grohl in nine hours because I believed in it.”

Watch Part 1 below:

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Thanks to everyone on Team Grohlathon for pitching in and especially @cestclairemusic for screenshotting this after my phone died. WE GOT GROHL

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Watch Part 2 below:

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We got Grohl. Thanks Grohl.

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