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Music

Who Dave Grohl called "the greatest rock drummer of all time"

Just mentioning the name Dave Grohl piques interest in almost every fan of rock music. A genuine phenomenon, the Ohio native is arguably the last true rockstar and has lived a life of as monumental proportions as the heroes he grew up loving such as The Beatles, Rush, and Queen. 

Enchanted by music, he developed quickly, and by the time his late teenage years rolled around, he had found himself fully at home behind a drum kit. After considering joining metallers GWAR, aged just 17, Grohl auditioned for Washington, D.C. hardcore legends Scream to fill in the vacancy left by former drummer Kent Stax. 

To secure the job, Grohl lied about his age, claiming he was a little older than he was. Surprised, Scream asked him to join, leading him to drop out of high school whilst still in his junior year. He once said of his reasons to do so: “I was 17 and extremely anxious to see the world, so I did it.”

What a decision it was. It became the start of a journey that he is still on now, and it has taken him to heights that would have seemed incomprehensible to the child listening to the magic of the John Lennon and Paul McCartney songwriting partnership, and his dreams of becoming a professional musician were only in their infancy.

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As the drummer of grunge heroes Nirvana, Grohl became his generation’s drumming hero, and afterwards, he took his craft to the next level by masterminding the alt-rock of Foo Fighters, as well as giving Josh Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age their best moments on Songs for the Deaf, and performing with legends such as Tom Petty to Queen.

Even though Grohl is undoubtedly a master songwriter, it is his drumming that is his real forte. His entering the fold instilled Nirvana with the power they needed to conquer the charts and the world, and has delivered many awe-inspiring drumming moments over the years from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ to Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘No One Knows’ and even Them Crooked Vultures’ ‘New Fang’. 

Delivering an Asgardian thunder from behind the drum kit, on countless occasions, Grohl has been compared to the late rhythmic maestro of Led Zeppelin, John Bonham. With their parallels stretching far beyond just the beard and long hair, it is their dexterity and power that establishes them as separate sides of the same coin, and this is a school of thought that has been credited to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and an interview he gave where he compared the styles of both.

Fittingly, Grohl has consistently named Bonham as his favourite drummer of all time, and on numerous occasions has even labelled him as the greatest rock drummer in history. 

“John Bonham is the greatest rock drummer of all time,” wrote Grohl for a piece in Mojo. “Bonham played directly from the heart. His drumming was by no means perfect, but when he hit a groove it was so deep it was like a heartbeat. He had this manic sense of cacophony, but he also had the ultimate feel. he could swing, he could get on top, or he could pull back.”He concluded: “Led Zeppelin, and John Bonham’s drumming especially, opened up my ears.” 

Opening up Dave Grohl’s ears is just another reason why John Bonham is widely hailed as the greatest rock drummer of all time, and without his stellar work on cuts such as ‘Moby Dick’, we’d be without two of modern rock’s most iconic bands.

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