Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl – The Dickinsonian
Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dave Grohl has released his first book, The storyteller: Tales of life and music in October 2021. The narrator is a memoir examining the highlights in Grohl’s life as his love of music blossomed, his time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, and the little moments that had a colossal impact on his own life.
The book begins with stories of Grohl’s youth and how he entered the Washington DC area punk rock scene, and with much support from his mother, eventually began playing drums at the ‘adolescence. He then began touring professionally with the band Scream, where he eventually found Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain just released from Nirvana’s debut album. Bleach. It then follows his three years in Nirvana until the death of Kurt Cobain, and how Grohl was able to cope with his loss through his music in projects that would ultimately lead to the creation of the Foo Fighters. This time also helped Grohl move past his “guy from Nirvana” phase and forge a musical identity, which even led him to perform at tribute concerts in front of two US presidents. Throughout, there are also stories about the time he spent growing his family with his wife and three daughters, and the organized chaos that leads a normal family life as a world famous rock star. .
There were a lot of stories told in the book, some hilarious, some inspiring. However, two stories from the book that really stood out to me as the most powerful were Grohl hearing about Cobain’s death and the father-daughter dance with daughters Harper and Violet. The “He’s Gone” chapter opened with Grohl learning that his bandmate, Kurt Cobain, had just died and how, during his first experience with death, that phone call had absolutely destroyed him, especially because he had just seen him before during their last concert together in Munich. However, Grohl got a call right after Cobain would, and the drug overdose didn’t kill him. Sadly, a month after this incident, Grohl received another call informing him that Cobain had committed suicide in his home. Grohl’s writing really helps put the reader in their place as there is a flurry of emotion before they find out that he is talking about Cobain’s overdose rather than his death. It creates much of the same feeling for the reader that Grohl had upon receiving the news and helps him understand how he may have cope after finally learning that Kurt was gone. The other story that really stood out to me was when the Foo Fighters were planning to tour Australia, the band’s favorite place to perform, but it ended up overlapping the father-daughter dance of the school of his daughters. The shows were too late to be canceled, and a dance for his two daughters at the time was something he absolutely couldn’t skip. Rather than missing a show and disappointing his fans or missing the dancing and disappointing his daughters, he took a fourteen hour flight from a show in Sydney to Los Angeles, to go to his daughters’ prom, and then do turn around and land in Australia after another fourteen hour flight just in time for his next show. This story really touched me because it exemplifies the love for her music and her family that is exemplified throughout the book.
I listened The narrator in audiobook form, read by the author, which is accompanied by an additional chapter titled “Entering Valhalla” where he recounts the meeting of several of his lifelong heroes at the Concert for George, a concert tribute to the former Beatle, George Harrison. I think that’s the best way to digest this book, because it makes the stories a lot more alive hearing Grohl speak about it himself with his own inflections. Ultimately, The narrator is an incredibly enjoyable roller coaster of a memoir, going between the ups and downs of Dave Grohl’s life, and showing how his love for his family, friends, inspirations and music transformed him into the legendary musician that he is today, while still keeping him from developing the ego that so many other celebrities have and letting him live his life like any normal person would.