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How Rush song ‘2112’ changed Dave Grohl’s life


Dave Grohl is arguably the most unquestionably successful rock musician of the 21st century. Having already cemented his spot in the rock and roll hall of fame as the drummer of grunge pioneers Nirvana, Grohl’s position as Foo Fighters frontman has only extrapolated his presence over the music industry. However, for Grohl, there is one man he could never match up to — Neil Peart.

There are many drummers Dave Grohl would likely call his inspiration. It’s easy to see how disco influenced Grohl’s unique sensibilities on Nirvana’s seminal album Nevermind. Likewise, Grohl’s heavy pounding has always been seen as having direct lineage to that of Led Zeppelin maestro John Bonham. But while these facets can be found in Grohl’s drumming, Peart’s position as the drumming professor has meant that Grohl considered his talent unattainable.

There is a concise way to prove this too. The story goes that after Neil Peart decided to hang up his sticks and retire from working with Rush in 2015, there were rumours that Dave Grohl could help out Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson and sit behind the kit and take on Peart’s role. It was a frightening proposition for longtime fan Grohl.

After Peart passed away, Grohl led tributes, saying: “An inspiration to millions with an unmistakable sound who spawned generations of musicians (like myself) to pick up two sticks and chase a dream. A kind, thoughtful, brilliant man who ruled our radios and turntables not only with his drumming but also with his beautiful words.” Grohl’s love of the Canadian prog-rock heroes meant his self-deprecation was at an all-time high, and the Nirvana sticksman would never dare attempt to emulate Peart.

For Grohl, the sands of time shifted when he first heard Rush and their iconic song ‘2112’. The song represented a seminal moment in the band’s career, with Peart discussing the track with CBC Music before his death. He recognised the transformative power the song had on their career, explaining: “We made three albums in 18 months from the time I joined the band,” he once said. “By the time we did ‘2112‘, we had a whole month to write, rehearse and record that album, so it was done under the rawest of circumstances but with such conviction and enthusiasm. We were so angry at that time”.

While the commercial world was apparently demanding a snappier and more stripped-back affair, ‘2112’ would prove them all wrong: “The tale happens to be about the individual against oppression, and that was us, it’s how we felt. And it worked, it was our commercial breakthrough with a 20-minute song on one side. It spoke”.

It was the moment Rush became heavyweights in their field as the track cut through the airwaves and hit listeners, like a young Grohl, right between the eyes. “I still vividly remember my first listen of ‘2112′ when I was young,” Grohl continued. “It was the first time I really listened to a drummer. And since that day, music has never been the same. His power, precision, and composition was incomparable. He was called ‘The Professor’ for a reason: we all learned from him.”

Listen to the Rush song that changed Dave Grohl’s life forever, ‘2112’, below.