Nobody needs to waste their time questioning former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters leading man, Dave Grohl’s credentials as an all-around great guy. It’s rare for somebody to be in the limelight for over 30-years, and to have such few enemies. It’s an indictment of his warm character both on and off stage, away from the spotlight.
However, even the holier than thou Grohl has made misdemeanours along the way that he’s grown to regret. There’s one particular memory from the early days of Nirvana that the singer looks back on with an overwhelming sense of remorse.
The regretful incident happened not long after Grohl had joined the group, and they found the growing interest in their formerly underground sleaze rock band hilarious. Suddenly, they had a large number of labels, big and small, chasing them after the success of their debut LP, Bleach. The trio were taking immense pleasure in playing with the suits who were trying to secure their signature.
Despite being relatively young, Nirvana weren’t naive, and they seemingly knew exactly what the game was all about. The band understood that what may be presented to them as big smiles and bigger cheques could easily turn into false promises and underhand deals.
On a drunken night out with Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Novoselic’s ex-wife, Shelli Dilley, Grohl decided to have some fun. Travelling across the country with bands of varying sizes over the years, Grohl had acquired bundles of business cards on his person, which he put to good use. However, later the meanness of his stunt came back to plague his mind.
“At the time we were being kind of groomed by all these different record companies,” Grohl told I Heart Radio. “We were getting [bid] on by all these [record labels]…but we had so many A&R guy cards. And we got wasted one night and gave an A&R guy card to a karaoke singer.”
He continued: “That’s bad. I don’t remember which — it was either Kurt or me or Krist — and we gave it to her under the impression that we were an A&R guy and that we were gonna make her famous.”
While the prank does obviously contain a degree of hilarity, it’s undoubtedly harsh to make this karaoke singer momentarily believe that major record labels are courting him, and he’ll have gone to bed that night thinking that all of his Christmasses have come at once. The cruelness wasn’t lost on the usually kind-hearted Grohl, who admitted, “I still think about it. I feel like that person still has that card. …Damnit.”
In truth, Grohl has earned enough positive karma through his charitable work, and he’s always been on the right side of history to make up for this lapse in judgement, which has continued to fill him with guilty for three decades.