John Doran takes the opportunity to talk to Dave Grohl about music and his life.
John Doran takes the opportunity to talk to Dave Grohl about music and his life. Eighteen years ago a young musician just years-old was sitting in his bedroom in Washington State. He shared the house with another young man who just so happened to be in his band as well. They were both bored and passed the time writing songs. One of them was writing a melancholy pop song, hooked through with bittersweet observation.
It was written by Dave Grohl about Kurt Cobain a few months before Nevermind came out and changed the face of rock music for good. He was penning a song because there was nothing else to do. Recently in The Independent Grohl recalled how dismal the time was and said: It was fucking depressing. Grohl, as affable a chap as you could hope to meet, admits that the song is about his relationship with Cobain and Krist Novoselic.
The pair split when Dave was just seven meaning his mother, who was a high school teacher, also had to work long evenings and weekends to provide for him and his elder sister, Lisa. Virginia would end up giving him one of the most useful pieces of advice he would ever receive. Grohl grins and says: I think that counts as pretty good advice!
If anyone just starting out in a band asks me for advice I usually tell them that music should not be a career decision. When I joined Nirvana being in the biggest band in the world was not an option. I joined because I fucking love playing music and I wanted to be in a band. Instead he poured all of his time and effort into music. He received his first guitar when he was just 12; a s Silvertone with amp built into the instrument case. It turned out that the schoolboy had an uncanny knack for playing by ear and quite soon he was in demand; to play guitar in a covers band that played songs by The Who and The Stones.
It was at this time he decided he wanted to be a drummer. After several other hardcore bands including the improbably named Dain Bramage he called up Virginian post punk legends Scream and managed to persuade them to let him audition. As with nearly every other aspect of his life, he is disarmingly open about drugs and admits: Of course, he is still a rock and roll guy and when we ask him what his poison is now, he grins, runs his hands through his mop lazily and says: It goes down great with a little bit of coke but just a couple of ice cubes is fine by me.
It comes in a killer purple, felt bag. Pantera got me into it. He is keen to stress that his metal credentials are impeccable and go much deeper than a bit of casual reminiscence and says: Dave Lombardo from Slayer was a fucking hero man - a fucking champion and I was inspired by this band and their music so I grew up a fucking pot head, Motorhead, punk kid. He was walking round drinking JD and coke and smoking Marlboro red.
And it was fucking noon. We all grew up listening to the same music. It was after returning from one of these immense jaunts round the globe, one half of the band found eviction notices in their mail and decided it was time to quit. For Grohl, this would turn out to be great news indeed. After being tipped off by a mutual friend, Buzz Osborne of Seattle grunge legends, The Melvins, he applied to be the drummer of Nirvana.
Now he is in an enviable position. Foo Fighters are a gigantic live draw and as a drummer he has never been in more demand. Out of all these, groups his work on Killing Joke's eponymous album is the most impressive. He agrees earnestly and says: It was pretty close. They were sort of pissed and there was potential litigation but it never came to that. But you know it was 14 or 15 years ago and I totally forgot about it.
It was fucking amazing. We walked to another bar and I had to stop him from getting into fist fights the whole way. He was in traffic screaming at cars 'George Bush is a fucking murderer. I had to run off down the road.
But someone calmed him down and we ended up laughing about it. But I want to stay current. What the hell does that do? He sighs and says: And then go and tell everybody. So get the fuck out of here. Now I can sit down and tell people how I felt. And other people would think of that as well. I thought, what do I do? Do I even play music any more? Maybe that was it. Maybe real life starts now. Even though it became this cartoonish, gen-x anthem that spread around the world like fucking ebola.
But when we first played it in front of people at the OK Hotel, the place went off. And that was amazing. If you enjoy The Quietus, please consider supporting what we do with a one-off or regular donation. If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation.
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Song information Although the song was first released on The Colour and the Shape album in , it had been played live as early as According to Dave Grohl , the song is dedicated to ordinary, everyday heroes, as he himself never had musical or sports heroes growing up as a child.
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