We’re often led to believe that successful musicians were born with one single, irrepressible talent. We’re told that they spent their childhood and adolescence honing their skills, keeping a steady focus on their craft and shutting out all distractions. While this has certainly been the case from time to time (hello, Mozart), there are numerous exceptions to the rule. In fact, most musicians will tell you that they’ve explored multiple avenues of creative expression and that music just happened to be the one that made the biggest impact. Here, former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl opens up about the job he’d like to have if he wasn’t a bonafide rock god.
During a conversation with singer-songwriter Tim Montana for the CMT website, Grohl was asked what he’d be doing if he wasn’t a working musician. I should say, ‘working musician’ isn’t really the right phrase for what Grohl does. Since rising to fame with Nirvana, Grohl and his band Foo Fighters have gone on to create some of the most impressive rock anthems of the 2000s, including ‘Learning to Fly’, ‘Everlong,’ ‘Best of You’, and ‘Pretender.’
After taking a moment to mull over Montana’s question, Grohl replied: “I would like to be a graphic artist”. Clarifying that he doesn’t design the shirts Foo Fighters sell on their merch stand, the frontman went on to explain that he never expected to be working in rock music: “The day I picked up a guitar, I realised I really wanted to be a musician, but I don’t know how to read music and I never had classes to do it, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to play bands and perform around’.”
Dave continued: “I went to work in a furniture warehouse and stuff, but I was happy at this job because I worked all week and then I had my garage band where we were going to do shows and it was a lot of fun. Eventually, I even thought that someday I would learn to read drum music with sheet music, become a studio drummer, make money playing music, and then graduate from college to get a real job, you know?”
Dave’s life plan was upturned with the release of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind. “When Nirvana became famous,” Grohl said, “I didn’t even think about all that shit anymore … I don’t know, I honestly don’t know.” After making a name for themselves in the underground Seattle alt-rock scene, Nirvana finally broke into the mainstream, kicking off the grunge era with an album so explosively dynamic, that it very nearly shook the wheels off hair metal. Today, Dave Grohl is one of the last remaining rock music icons, so it’s just as well he didn’t end up getting a cushy office job.