Nandi Bushell is cooler than most of us will ever be, and she’s only 11 years old. The tiny phenom who bested Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl in a drumming challenge last year got a chance to prove her mettle on stage with the band last night.
The British Bushell joined Foo Fighters Thursday at the Forum in Los Angeles to perform “Everlong,” one of the band’s biggest hits. Bushell first got the attention of Grohl when she challenged him to a drum battle with that song. The then 10-year-old’s YouTube videos had already gained attention from Roots drummer Questlove, rocker Lenny Kravitz, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello.
The former Nirvana drummer said he first became aware of Bushell when friends started texting him about her challenge. He originally brushed it off, but after watching her video, he realized she was too good to ignore. So, he accepted the challenge. And the two traded videos for weeks in what was one of the most uplifting stories of the pandemic. Grohl even wrote her a theme song after he said she’d won the first round. She replied with her a theme song for him called “Rock and Grohl.” She plays all the instruments and sings on the track.
After several impressive rounds of drumming, Grohl finally admitted he’d lost and declared Nandi the winner.
“There was nothing I could do!” Grohl told Stephen Colbert. “I was literally being called out by the school bully — ‘I’ll see you on the playground after school!’ Every time she would put out these videos on her page, I’d be like, oh my God, I’m gonna get my ass kicked again.”
Nandi Joins Foo Fighters On Stage For ‘Everlong’
Everything came full circle when Foo Fighters brought Nandi out on stage in front of thousands of fans to play “Everlong.”
“This person inspired me last year so much,” Dave Grohl told the crowd before bringing her out. He said 2020 was full of bad news but Nandi’s challenge helped give him something to look forward to.
As she walked out in front of thousands of screaming fans and one very excited Dave Grohl, Nandi seemed hesitant. Who wouldn’t be in front of that many people, but the crowd loved her. They chanted “Nandi, Nandi, Nandi” as Grohl walked her out to the front of the stage to take a bow.
But when she slid behind her custom-made drum kit there was no hesitancy. As Grohl hit the familiar opening riff of the song, the 11-year-old twirled her drumstick in the air above her head. Guitarist Pat Smear looked shocked at how comfortable she was performing.
Bushell posted a behind-the-scenes video that showed the action from backstage and she waits to go out and as she performs. Her dad filmed the set, and, at times, his cheering drowns out the Foo Fighters. It’s all incredibly cute.
Bushell wrote in the video description, “It Happened!!! It was EPIC!!! Thank you so much Foo Fighters Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to jam with Mr. Grohl — It’s my Daddy who filmed the video and is screaming a lot.”