In a brand new interview with The Guardian, Foo Fighters’ leading man and the former drummer of the legendary grunge band Nirvana, Dave Grohl has shared some of his candid moments of the early days of the band.
One such moment he shared with The Guardian was the first time Grohl heard Nirvana. Hearing ‘Bleach’, Nirvana’s debut LP, Grohl remembered: “I loved the dissonance and the chaos, and then there was this beautiful song About a Girl right in the middle that could have been off a 60s Beatles record.”
In 1990, Grohl describes how he auditioned for the band in Seattle in preparation for Nirvana’s upcoming UK tour. The band were clearly pleased as he was soon recording a version of ‘Molly’s Lips’ and recording on John Peel’s iconic Radio 1 show. Grohl said: “The engineer was Dale [Griffin], the drummer of Mott the Hoople! That blew my mind.
“Nirvana were playing to 600 people a night. I felt like I was in the biggest band in the world already. I was jet-lagged, drinking too much tea, we were staying at this bed-and-breakfast in Shepherd’s Bush: the Dalmacia. It was the first time I had fried toast.”
Speaking on two memorable musical moments for Grohl. The first being the recording of the iconic song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Grohl said: “Nothing changed my life like Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
“Kurt had a beautiful grasp of songwriting in its simplicity and depth…We spoke to each other in the rehearsal room at volume 10 as we were playing. I knew when the verse was coming because I could see Kurt’s foot getting close to turning off the distortion pedal. We would watch each other’s body language and the song built into this crescendo, then exploded.”
He continued: “We were very protective about our music. We wouldn’t pick up instruments and start singing for no reason. We wouldn’t go play shows that meant nothing to us. Every time we played it was blood and guts. To hear that song on the radio is one thing but to stand in front of us as we did it in the room? Fuckin’ A. It was more than sound. You could actually feel it. Wow.”
The second song was the last track Grohl ever recorded with his friend, the late Kurt Cobain, ‘You Know You’re Right’. “I listened to it for the first time in 10 years [recently]]. Oh God, it’s hard to listen to.”
He continued: “It was not a pleasant time for the band. Kurt was unwell. Then he was well. Then he was unwell. The last year of the band was tough…By the time we got to Europe I remember it being cold. It was the first time I felt depression. There was one day where I couldn’t get out of bed. I started to question why we were even there.”
Cobain would go on to take his own life just a few days after the recording. Grohl expressed his sadness when reading through the song’s telling lyrics. “You look back on [the song] and you read it through a different lens,” Grohl said. “Lyrically, it’s heartbreaking. He was in a place we may not have recognised. Musically, there’s something cathartic…You know, I miss his voice. I miss him…”
“I don’t think he was comfortable in the place that he was at the time…I don’t know if anybody was. But his experience was much different. I used to think it sounded like he was singing the chorus. Now I listen to it and it’s like he’s wailing.”