Aged 17, Dave Grohl made the courageous decision to drop out of the education system in favour of a future in rock ‘n’ roll and joined Scream. Not only was his time with the group a life-affirming experience that taught him the ropes of the industry, but it also led Grohl to discover a record that changed his world.
Scream had already achieved notoriety in the Washington area, and Grohl auditioned to join the group following the exit of drummer Kent Stax. He had to lie about his age, and it proved to be one of his better judgments. The sticksman’s time with Scream was an apprenticeship, and touring opened his eyes to new corners of the globe he previously could only dream about seeing.
Months after becoming a member of Scream, Grohl hit the road across Europe, and his time in Amsterdam proved to be unforgettable. Back then, touring was much more economical than he’s become accustomed to with the Foo Fighters and Nirvana.
Rather than staying in five-star hotels, Scream had to settle for a friend’s sofa while they were in Amsterdam, and Grohl wouldn’t have had it any other way. While in the Dutch capital, the friend the band were staying with had a record collection that Grohl entertained himself by leisurely rifling through, and what he found transformed his life instantaneously.
“When I got to The Melvins’ Gluey Porch Treatments, I thought, here’s another hardcore record,” he later recalled. “But when I put it on it really fucking blew my mind. This was the moment I fell in love with the dirge aesthetic. The songs were so slow you couldn’t imagine how the band kept time.
“It was 10 to 15 seconds between each hit! I had never heard anything so heavy before, and the fact these were teenagers from Aberdeen, Washington, playing music heavier than Black Sabbath or any metal record I had heard, was unbelievable”.
Their technicality blew Grohl away, and he still vividly remembers how it left him astonished by its splendour. “It was just too wild to explain,” he continued. “They were bordering on prog rock genius – there were barely any 4/4 arrangements, barely any repetition, just arrangements that begin and wind like a snake to the end, so you don’t really know what’s happened to you. It’s fucking unreal, that LP.”
Life has a habit of working in weird ways, and unbeknownst to Dave Grohl when he discovered The Melvins’ in 1986 was their association with fellow Aberdeen native Kurt Cobain.
The Nirvana frontman was close friends with the group, and he would even produce their 1993 album, Houdini. Considering their shared love for The Melvins, it was fate that Grohl’s paths would later cross with Cobain following the split of Scream, and they’d go on to create history together.