Dave Grohl has opened up about how he coped with the death of Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain, saying that “hearing music hurt”.
“There were moments that I had to decide whether I was going to put in my book or not. If it was relevant to the story, of course, I would. There were some that were a bit too painful and I felt a bit too revealing,” he said.
He continued: “After Kurt died, I really couldn’t even turn on the radio, and I put the instruments away, even hearing music hurt… And it was that way for a few months.”
“I was still in Seattle and I just felt I gotta get out. I gotta go somewhere where I could just disappear and sort through my life and try to figure out what to do next.”
“The Ring of Kerry [in Ireland] was the most remote place I could find, so I flew over, I was winding around these country roads – so beautiful – and I was finding peace.”
“And I come upon this hitchhiker, and I was considering picking him up, and I saw that he had a Kurt Cobain t-shirt. And to me, that meant you can’t outrun this thing, so it’s time for me to push through and find some sort of continuation.”
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“So I flew home and I immediately started recording those Foo Fighter songs.”
“But I still didn’t know what they were for because I wasn’t in a band, and I was recording home stuff by myself, with the intention of just giving cassettes out for my friends.”
“But I had to do it to survive, to get on with life. And I’m glad I did.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Grohl was asked to explain “what it was like being inside of the band that became this emblem of a generation.”
“It was just like any other band – it really was. We went into the studio, we had 12 days to record, we practised in a barn and wrote songs, we wanted to be as tight as we could,” he replied.
“And no one was paying attention to us from the record company, they were just like, ‘Yeah, just put those guys into a studio…’
“And then, when we got on the road, we were in a van, so it was very much like any band I’ve ever been in… until ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video when came out on television.”
He continued: “Once that happened, the club that held 300 people was now spilling out into the alleyway with 500-600 people. The place that held 600 people now there was a riot to get in, there was like a thousand people out front.”
“So we would pull up to these places and be like, ‘Oh my god, what is going on?’ We would load our stuff in, play the show, there would be near riot, we’d put things back in the van and get out of there.”
“The only time we really noticed things were changing was when we got out of the van. Within the van, life was fine.”
“By the time we came back home, we had a gold record, but we didn’t even know what that meant! It just got crazier and crazier.”
“And you just had to hold on for your dear life, and if you felt overwhelmed, you just get back into the van.”
“That being said, I was a drummer of the band, I was practically unrecognisable.”
“Kurt was the one that was carrying all of this on his shoulders. The way he dealt with it was much more complicated than what I went through for sure.”
For more on this topic, check out the Classic Rock Observer.