Dave Grohl is undoubtedly one of the greatest success stories of modern rock and roll. Though, looking back, you may find more than a few artists how hopped and skipped around seminal bands. Take Eric Clapton, for example, who worked with John Mayall, Cream and Blind Faith in the space of a few short years. In the more modern era of rock, you won’t find an artist who has been involved with such imposing bands.
Not only is Grohl the leading man of the newly-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Foo Fighters, but the singer was also the powerhouse drummer of Nirvana, the band led by Kurt Cobain that completely changed the fabric of music in the early nineties. Though Cobain rightly takes many of the plaudits, there’s no doubt that without Dave Grohl, the group would have floundered in the sea of Seattle grunge rockers. Below, we’re exploring Grohl’s isolated drums for their song ‘All Apologies’ and witnessing just how pivotal he was to the surge of success Nirvana succumbed to.
Following their seminal album Nevermind, a record for which Grohl was initially drafted in to work on, Nirvana were on top of the world. They had seemingly conquered the mainstream and were now infiltrating the middle of the road with progressive ideals and subversive sounds. Sadly, grunge heroes and their time at the top was cut short following Kurt Cobain’s tragic suicide in 1994, leaving behind only three albums of material for heartbroken fans to paw over.
When they did dive deep into the music and lyrics of Nirvana’s final album, In Utero, they found some of the most heartbreaking foreshadowings of Cobain’s tragic circumstances. One such song not only acts as one of their finest of all time but accurately captures the downfall of their hero Cobain. ‘All Apologies’ sees fans of the band and Cobain wince as the singer seemingly apologises for his inability to live a normal life on the song he wrote for Courtney Love and his daughter.
It sees Cobain attempt to deal with the mammoth changes he had undergone in such a short amount of time. More so than the other members of Nirvana, Cobain had been thrust into the limelight without so much as a second thought. It’s a heartbreaking reminder of the fame and fortune that Cobain not only hated but would eventually crush him.
Reflecting on the song years later, drummer Dave Grohl explained that the song was “something that Kurt wrote on [a] 4-track in our apartment in Olympia.” The drummer later added: “I remember hearing it and thinking, ‘God, this guy has such a beautiful sense of melody, I can’t believe he’s screaming all the time.’” A painful reflection of a troubled soul it may be, but it also reflects the huge power of Grohl’s performances.
Grohl captures the beautiful melody of Cobain’s thoughts and lyrics within some thunderous fills but pushes the track forward with his unique powerhouse percussion.