UPDATED: 6 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020
Pat Finnerty admits he “immediately turned into a 16-year-old” when Dave Grohl joined his Instagram Live “Grohlathon” on Saturday, but the shock didn’t last long.
“When I talked to him, I wasn’t nervous because I just felt like we were similar dudes,” Finnerty said over the phone Tuesday. “Calling him ‘Grohl,’ I knew he was going to get it because he’s not an asshole. Also it’s something I felt comfortable enough in my own skin that I can do that. I can be Pat Smear tomorrow.”
Finnerty, a Scranton native living in Philadelphia, had been making the most of the coronavirus shutdown that wiped out his regular gigs, hosting “The Pat Finnerty Show” on Instagram, where he challenges himself to record all of the parts of a cover song in the IG live one-hour limit.
“I gave myself a challenge. I was laughing about ‘A Matter of Trust’ by Billy Joel, the count-off at the beginning is one of the funniest things in rock history,” he said. “I got to thinking, what if I was able to record ‘A Matter of Trust’ in an hour?”
He later took the show to his rooftop, jamming with friends like roommates Justin Mazer and Brian Langan and next-door neighbor Zach Miller of Dr. Dog. That would lead to a performance on the rooftop at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown and coverage on the local news and by NPR. And he’d always be accompanied by a cardboard cutout of Grohl.
He was finally able to “get Grohl” on Saturday when Mazer texted former bandmate Jason Gallagher, who lives in LA and knows actor Andrew Sikking, who was going to be at a dinner party with Grohl that day.
“I was talking to my friend Perry Shall, and then I read in the comments, everyone was telling me to get off there, we got Grohl,” Finnerty said. “I guess that Sikking guy was commenting. And IG Live, you can only do an hour, so I wanted to make sure I had enough time if I got Grohl. The second I got back on, there was a request and it’s that dude Sikking, and I knew that we got Grohl.”
That was about nine hours into the “Grohlathon.”
All Finnerty had wanted was for the Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman to sing Sting’s “I want my MTV part” for a cover of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing.” Grohl was willing to do more than that, also jamming with Finnerty on guitar and drums and shooting the shit for a while.
Finnerty, formerly of the Scranton bands Okay Paddy and And The Moneyotes, also fronts his Full Band and the Tom Petty Appreciation Band. Humor has always been a hallmark of his shows, and he said his IG Live series has made him realize he likes interviewing people with his guitar in hand, ready for an impromptu jam.
“I would love to enter the arena of talking to more and more people. It’s a small world. You know, they’re just regular-ass people and I want to play with them.”
A self-proclaimed “Nirvana guy,” his only regret is not getting Grohl to play “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle,” at least the intro. Oh, and not realizing the guy at Grohl’s party that looked like Jeff Probst was indeed Jeff Probst.
“Here’s the problem with getting Grohl,” Finnerty said. “You’re not ready for Probst. … I knew I recognized the guy, but I was in the middle of getting Grohl, so the last thing you’re expecting to see is the guy from ‘Survivor.'”
Watch Pat Finnerty getting Grohl on his Instagram page.