In honor of the anniversary of Nevermind, we wanted to commend the great drummer and musician Dave Grohl by telling his story. Written down in history as one of the greatest albums, Nevermind still touches on topics people can relate to. Especially on the subjects of Cobain's experiences and feelings expressed in the lyrics.
The Story of Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl is not just known as a drummer. He has a lot of success behind him as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and filmmaker. Going from being the last drummer of Nirvana to the lead singer of Foo Fighters and directing music videos and documentaries.
Born David Eric Grohl on January 14, 1969 to parents Virginia Jean, a teacher, and James Harper Grohl, a news writer and assistant to the politician Sen. Robert Taft Jr. He also has a sister three years older than him named Lisa. When Grohl was seven years old, his parents divorced and he eventually grew up with his mother in Springfield, Virginia.
At 12, he took lessons to learn how to play the guitar but got tired of it and taught himself how to play instead. He got introduced to punk rock by going to several concerts with his sister and cousin at age 13 and fell in love with the music.
During his high school years, he played with several local bands as a guitarist. It wasn’t until one of the bands changed their lineup and he chose to be the drummer of that band. Again, he taught himself how to play the drums. He never took a single lesson, instead he learned it by listening to other rock and punk rock music and was heavily influenced by John Bonham.
Between 1986 and 1990, he was the drummer of the punk band Scream. They recorded two studio albums and toured together. The band broke up in the middle of their tour in 1990 and Grohl was left lost on what his next step would be. That was up until he called his friend Buzz Osbourne, the vocalist and guitarist of the rock band Melvin, to ask for advice. Osbourne told Grohl that Nirvana was looking for a drummer and that he should audition for them. It didn’t take long after that for him to become the official drummer of Nirvana.
In the video below you can see the band Scream perform live in 1988 with Dave Grohl on drums.
As the band had already recorded demos for their upcoming album, Grohl joined the members traveling to bigger labels to get a deal signed, which they eventually did with DGC Records. After they got signed they went to their music studio Sound City Studios in Los Angeles to record the tracks for their album Nevermind which became a worldwide success. The album was also Grohl's first feature as a drummer for the band. Since its release 30 years ago the album is still one of the most loved and listened to albums since its release in September 1991. It brought alternative grunge rock to the mainstream audience and sold over 30 million copies internationally.
During the work with Nirvana, Grohl also released material of his own under the alias Late!. This let him contribute more to the songwriting for Nirvana’s material to their following projects.
With only four years as an active member in the band, Grohl and the members achieved many things together. They released their third album, In Utero, in 1993 and won an American Grammy Award in 1996 for their performance in “MTV Unplugged in New York”.
In the video below you’ll see a compilation of Dave Grohl drumming with Nirvana at the Paramount.
After the passing of Kurt Cobain, Grohl was then again lost in what his next step would be. The following months, he recorded a demo with only him playing all the instruments. In the meantime, he also took other jobs as a drummer for other bands. He passed his demo aground to different labels, but no one was really that interested. He eventually decided to enroll band members of his own and release the demo as the debut album of the Foo Fighters. The first album released as a band was called “The Colour and the Shape” which came out in 1997.
Since their debut, the band has gotten great success with many hits such as “Everlong”, “The Pretender”, and “Best of You”. They have won several awards such as 12 American Grammy Awards, 5 Brit Awards, and many more. As the band has been active for almost three decades they keep showing great success in what they do, both together as a band and individually.
Aside from working on his bands and own projects, he contributed a lot to other bands and artists. He's performed together on stage with David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Tenacious D, and many more.
He even recorded tracks for Buzz Osborne, Mike Watt, Tommy Iommi, and others. He’s also produced EPs and tracks for bands such as Ghost from Sweden.
Excluding the music, he has also worked on TV shows as a guest and host on Saturday Night Live and Chelsea Lately interviewing people such as Elton John.
In 2014 he produced a documentary about their album Sonic Highways, and a documentary about the music studio Sound City, which is the studio Nirvana recorded Nevermind. Many of the Foo Fighters music videos was also directed by Grohl such as “My Hero” and “The Sky is a Neighbourhood”.
He has released biography books about his life with Nirvana and Foo Fighters, including personal memories and stories about his life as well.
During the 2020 pandemic, he decided that he wanted to share personal stories that no one knew and heard of. So he freely shared them as posts on his social media page DavesTrueStories. After he did that it was the natural way for him to instead write an entire book about it and publish it with the title “The Storyteller” which was released in 2021.
As Dave Grohl has shared a large catalog of music and stories for us, he continues to create more and inspire us, making him one of the greatest musicians ever.