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Belgian TV crew visits David Grohl Alley

Staff photo / Andy Gray From left, Joseph O’Grady, who spearheaded the creation of David Grohl Alley, is interviewed by Stijn Van de Voorde, cohost of a Belgian documentary series called “Rock ’n’ Roll High School,” while director Bram Vandecasteele records the conversation.

WARREN — David Grohl Alley will be featured in an upcoming episode of a music documentary series on Belgian national television.

A three-man crew shot interviews with Joseph O’Grady, the retired Warren police officer who spearheaded the effort to rename the downtown alley after the Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana drummer born in Warren in 1969, and Mayor Doug Franklin on Monday morning for a show called “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.”

The first episode focused on The Ramones (whose 1979 film gives the show its name), Nirvana and Ian Curtis of Joy Division. The second episode will focus on Grohl, Elvis Presley and Jack White (The White Stripes, Raconteurs).

Cohost Stijn Van de Voorde, a Belgian radio personality, said, “We’ve been to many places, and this is one of the first cities where these music heroes get the respect they deserve.”

They stopped in Akron on their way to Warren, and all they could find related to the Black Keys was a small plaque, he said. Van de Voorde also liked that the alley, which was dedicated on Aug. 1, 2009, was the result of a community effort.

Cohost Thibault Christiaensen, who is the lead singer and guitar player for the band Equal Idiots, said Foo Fighters are bigger than Nirvana in Belgium. He said he believes part of that popularity stems from the band’s actions following a 2011 thunderstorm at Belgium’s Pukkelpop festival, where five concertgoers were killed and 140 were injured after a stage scaffolding collapsed. Foo Fighters were supposed to perform at the festival that year, but the band returned as a headliner the following year and paid tribute to those who were killed.

“Foo Fighters play a big role in Belgium,” Christiaensen said. “And I think people who know Foo Fighters know Nirvana as well.”

O’Grady said he’s happy the alley still is getting attention a decade later.

“I can’t believe we’re here,” O’Grady said. “I can’t believe that so many got involved in just a thought, a dream we had over a beer in a bar.”

O’Grady and WNCD-FM / The Wolf DJ “Fast Freddy” Woak, who was part of that barroom conversation where the alley idea was born, enjoyed a toast with the Belgian crew at Modern Method Brewing Company, the one business that has David Grohl Alley as its mailing address.

The crew was on the road by lunch time and had plans to shoot some footage at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on Monday afternoon.

The footage shot Monday will be included in an episode of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” that will air in Belgium in January 2020. However, it won’t be accessible to local viewers. Van de Voorde said their music licensing agreement gives them the rights to use the music featured on the program in their home country, but that agreement doesn’t apply internationally, so they can’t share episodes on platforms like YouTube.

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