I am here to put to bed whatever reservations you have about the multi instrumentalist from Nirvana and The Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl. The inspiration for this article came to me this week when I overheard a group of people at a club discussing how ‘rock stars today are annoying, untalented showoffs’. While I certainly agree that there are many celebrity musicians that behave like a spoilt child with sugar coursing through their veins, the reality is that there are still musicians out there that are trying to do their part for the music industry.
Following the suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994 and subsequently the disbandment of Nirvana, Dave Grohl was faced with the decision to either quit music or start up another band. You have to understand, Cobain was one of Grohl’s best friends so the decision to begin a new act without him would have been extremely challenging. Yet thankfully he did and as a result The Foo Fighters have gone from strength to strength. To be fair, I’m not saying that the man doesn’t have any flaws, but there are a few acts that Grohl has done that have gone somewhat overlooked. So here are just a few of the things that make Dave Grohl a living legend.
1. He doesn’t promote a drug fuelled Rock & Roll lifestyle
The sex, drugs and rock and roll cliche has been so overplayed that even if you live that life nowadays people will just shrug their shoulders and say ‘onya mate’. Honestly, people are hardly impressed by this lifestyle anymore. It was cool 30 years ago, but today it’s just a tired old fad. Dave Grohl has never hidden the fact that he was a drug user, but he put that behind him when he was a young man. In an interview with Andrew Denton, Grohl stated “I stopped doing drugs when I was about 20 years old, 20 or 21, maybe 20. It just made me feel weird. I don’t know how to better explain it. But I just – I didn’t feel like I needed it and I didn’t, you know.” In 2008, Grohl contributed to an anti- drug video for the BBC, saying “I have never done cocaine, ever in my life. I have never done heroin, I have never done speed.“ In a rock culture where it is so easy to get lost in the haze of drugs and alcohol abuse, Grohl has managed to stay away from the darker side of fame.
2. He hates live singing shows
Personally, this is my favourite trait about Grohl. Over the years, Dave has not been afraid to voice his disapproval of TV shows like the X Factor, The Voice or American Idol. Yet, it wasn’t until March this year that Dave got to fully express his feelings in an exceptional interview with NME. Claiming that live singing shows produce untalented and over-produced artists and that “everyone sounds like fucking Christina Aguilera,” Dave also commented on how these shows also do not help to encourage the sensitive nature of aspiring musicians. “I think people should feel encouraged to be themselves. That’s what bums me out about those shows where people are judged so harshly by fucking musicians that hardly even play an instrument on their own fucking albums. It makes me really mad.”
3. He’s a genuinely caring and all-round AWESOME father
Balancing a life as both a full-time musician and loving father is no easy task but somehow Dave manages to do so without neglecting either his career or his family. What’s refreshing to see with Dave is his ability to wear two hats simultaneously. One moment he’s a rock legend, the next he’s pulling away to talk cute to his child. He doesn’t care if people think that it’s lame and, to be honest, it actually makes him cooler.
4. He wrote to the Beaconsfield miners
Remember the Beaconsfield Mine collapse back in 2006? Well in the initial days of the collapse one of the trapped miners sent out a note asking for an iPod with The Foo Fighters album In Your Honor. Upon hearing the news Grohl wrote to the trapped miners saying “Though I’m halfway around the world right now, my heart is with you both, and I want you to know that when you come home, there’s two tickets to any Foos show, anywhere, and two cold beers waiting for yous. Deal?“ When the miners were freed one of them took up Grohl’s generous offer and met up with Grohl and the band at the Sydney Opera House in late 2006 for a beer before they performed. Grohl was so moved by the experience that he then went on to write Ballad for the Beaconsfield Miners, which appears on, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace.
5. He actively promotes marriage equality
Grohl’s activism for gay rights dates back to the early 1990′s when he and the rest of Nirvana performed a benefit to raise money to fight what was known as Oregon Ballot Measure 9, a ballot that would have stopped the Oregon government from promoting homosexual rights. The benefit was a success and drummed up lots of support within the community, eventually seeing the scrapping of measure 9. In addition to this, Dave has been seen sporting the white knot for whiteknot.org which symbolises that all people should have the ability to tie the knot. When he was asked about the knot he said “You know what that’s about? I believe in love and I believe in equality and I believe in marriage equality.”
The Foo Fighters also staged a guerrilla gig to drown out Westboro Baptist Church’s anti-homosexuality picketing in late 2011.
6. He does the world’s best collaborations
The number of performers that Grohl has played with is extensive and will make any music fan jealous. The list includes playing with his childhood hero Paul McCartney, Cage The Elephant, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and David Bowie. Yet his best role might just be as the devil in the song Beezleboss, in the 2006 movie, Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny.
7. He is as majestic as he is talented