While appearing on The Howard Stern Show, the inimitable Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters demonstrated how he is able to drum using only his teeth. Grohl then explained that this habit started when he was young, much to the chagrin of his dentist.
I would walk to school with my backpack and just place songs with my teeth until I got to my locker and then I’d throw my backpack in the locker and the day would start. …I went to the dentist and he was like do you chew a lot of ice? I was like 10 or 11. Yeah, I’m like no why? He was like…your teeth have an unusual amount of deterioration and I was like oh wait, I play drums with my teeth and I made him listen to me do it and he was like get the [ __ ] out of my office right now.
Despite the dental danger, Grohl continued to do this and realized that he wasn’t the only one when he saw his former Nirvana bandmate, Kurt Cobain, doing something similar while performing.
If you watch the Unplugged footage that we shot you can kind of see his jaw moving back and forth and he would sort of use that as a metronome to like keep time whenever he was playing something and you know what I’ve learned …is that a lot of musicians do the same thing and i think what happens is when you discover music…whether you’re like just playing drums on a table or you’re humming something in your head you’re basically just…kind of utilizing any resource to do it.
Grohl also talked about drumming with his teeth during a BBC interview.