There is a certain amount of hero-worship attached to one’s favourite musicians that can make them feel almost mythical. Therefore, it can seem odd to recognise that they too likely spent hours upon hours twiddling the dial in the hope of catching their own rock hero. For example, while Dave Grohl may well be the lead singer of the Foo Fighters and the iconic drummer for grunge pioneers, Nirvana, he too was once a spotty teenager looking up to the great and the good of the musical landscape.
Grohl has often cited numerous bands as influential in his artistic evolution. Naturally, the name of John Bonham, the powerhouse percussionist for Led Zeppelin, was one scribbled on the back of the young Grohl’s schoolbooks. The Beatles and David Bowie have also been noted as having a seismic impact on Grohl’s progression. There is, however, only one song that Grohl would change his life, though, and it isn’t what you’d expect.
Musicians are often asked to note the heroes of their youth. Not only does it provide a new avenue for fans of the said artist to explore — after all, what better sonic sommelier could one ask for? — but it also gives us a chance to take our minds back to the history of a rock star. For Grohl, the song that changed his life is so neatly rooted in his personality it seems as though the story fell from Hollywood heaven.
Speaking with People in 2020, Grohl shared his love of music and how it all started with one turn of the dial. “I discovered music listening to AM radio in my mom’s Ford,” recalls Grohl to the publication. “It was stuff like 10cc, Carly Simon, Helen Reddy. We would drive around Virginia and sing along. I’d sing the main melody, and she would sing the harmony.”
“We didn’t have a lot of money; my mother was a public school teacher,” he continues, elucidating on an experience many of us have shared. “On the weekends, she would bring home a record player from the school, and we would listen to it. I’d go to the local record store and buy music. I’d earn money mowing lawns and then buy music with it.”
“My first record was a K-Tel collection called 20 Original Hits by the Original Stars. It had people like KC and the Sunshine Band on it.” However, none of the bands on this smorgasbord of seventies charm can claim to have changed the soon-to-be-drummer’s life. That accolade goes to a somewhat unusual instrumental track.
“There was one song called ‘Frankenstein’ by The Edgar Winter Group. It’s an instrumental, and it was amazing. It really changed my life. I listened to it, and suddenly I was seeing music, not just hearing it. The record became my prized possession.”
The song may not mean much to you written down, but we’d wager that you’ve almost certainly heard the 1972 song before. The kind of ubiquitous heavy metal riff that rages on through the TV timeline forever, ‘Frankenstine’ is chock full of big beats, hefty riffs and a lead keyboard line that can make your spine shake. For a young boy to hear this kind of sound emanating from his record player must’ve been a real thrill.
So, kick up the volume, transport yourself to the seventies and let The Edgar Winter Group bring you ‘Frankenstein’ in all its glory. Who knows, maybe you’ll start two of the best bands in modern rock history too.