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Music

The band that made Dave Grohl become a "rock 'n' roll musician"

While The Beatles were Dave Grohl’s initial gateway into music, it was KISS who convinced him to dedicate his life to rock ‘n’ roll, and as a child, the whirlwind of face-painted shredders took a stranglehold on him.

KISS came into Grohl’s life at an early stage after randomly discovering one of their records at a yard sale as an eight-year-old and, almost immediately, the future Nirvana drummer became transfixed by the album cover on Destroyer. Before that moment, Grohl had never heard of KISS, but as soon as he stumbled upon the group, his existence changed forever.

In 2015, Grohl had the honour of giving the band an award at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles, and he talked at length about his life-long love affair with the hair metal pioneers. Poignantly, during his speech, the Foo Fighters frontman provided the group with the ultimate honour and said they “ultimately inspired me to follow this unreasonable dream of becoming a professional rock ‘n’ roll musician”.

The first moment he pressed play on Destroyer after breaking into his piggy bank was seismic for Grohl. He recalled: “With nuclear anticipation, I let the needle drop on that legendary intro to ‘Detroit Rock City,’ perhaps the greatest introduction to any rock ‘n’ roll album ever recorded. It filled my speakers and my imagination. Thirty-four minutes later and 27 seconds later, KISS had filled my soul. I was now a member of the infamous KISS army.”

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From that introduction to KISS, Grohl admits it didn’t take long before his bedroom had “become a fucking shrine” to the rockers. It was full of posters and action figures for as far as the eye could see, thanks to Grohl developing an obsession with the rockers.

He continued: “Every morning, I would wake up in my tiny bedroom and take a good look at my superheroes before walking to school. They got me through those years and ultimately inspired me to follow this unreasonable dream of becoming a professional rock ‘n’ roll musician.”

At the pits of his KISS addiction, Grohl ordered a branded radio by the band to his home without the permission of his “struggling schoolteacher mother”. Understandably, she was confused when it arrived and immediately sent it away, much to his disappointment.

Thankfully, it did have a happy ending for Grohl. He concluded: “40 years later, my love of KISS is still strong. And these days I still spend every morning before school with Paul Stanley in the parking lot of our kids’ fuckin’ elementary school, chatting about Zeppelin and Electric Lady and touring and school fundraisers”.

He concluded: “So I’d say that my unreasonable dream definitely came true. And I finally got my KISS radio — it’s the cheapest fucking A.M. radio I have even seen in my life! With the KISS logo on it. Nice one, Gene.”

Watch the footage below of Grohl delivering his speech in full.