Having played a pivotal role in two of modern rock’s most influential acts, Dave Grohl has experienced trials, tribulations and learning curves that most of us probably won’t ever encounter.

In a recent interview with GQ, the living legend opened up about what being in Nirvana as a young adult taught him, pondering on what sort of feeling he gets listening to the band now.

Reminiscing on the early 90s phenomenon, he said that hearing the band’s music now takes him back to being 21, and that being in the band showed him “how little I really knew.”

“Nirvana, for me, was a personal revolution, I was 21. You remember being 21? You think you know it all. But you don’t. I thought I knew everything. And being in Nirvana showed me how little I really knew.

He continued to share that being in the band wasn’t all smooth sailing, noting that the “lows” experienced taught him “how to survive”, especially after Kurt’s passing.

“They were some of the greatest highs of my life, but also, of course, one of the biggest lows. Those experiences became a footing or a foundation on how to survive. For years I couldn’t even listen to any music, let alone a Nirvana song. When Kurt died, every time the radio came on, it broke my heart.

Grohl also noted that he listens to Nirvana not by putting on their records, but because they’re “always on somewhere”, adding that each time he hears Kurt’s lyrics, he discovers new meaning.

“I don’t put Nirvana records on, no. Although they are always on somewhere. I get in the car, they’re on. I go into a shop, they’re on. For me, it’s so personal. I remember everything about those records; I remember the shorts I was wearing when we recorded them or that it snowed that day.

“Still, I go back and find new meanings to Kurt’s lyrics. Not to seem revisionist, but there are times when it hits me. You go, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize he was feeling that way at the time.’

Play