You know who really sucks? Dave Grohl, that’s who…

Dave Grohl is guilty of ‘betraying one’s punk rock roots.’ A high crime in my book.

So what, you say? There are a million shitty bands that aren’t worth paying attention to. And life is too short to waste your breath on something one deems not worthy, correct? Well, you’d be right about that, but Dave Grohl was in Nirvana! And Nirvana was my favorite band. Ever. Of all time. As such Dave spent years in close proximity to my favorite artist.

Like a Vietnam vet, “He was there, man!”

 Consider reading the first installment of a new fictional piece I am writing Kurt Cobain Lives In 1994 Kurt Cobain faked his own suicide. 22 years later he’s ending his self-imposed exile.

A quick caveat before you finish reading this piece. I am less anti-Dave Grohl than I am pro-Kurt Cobain. If you are interested in Nirvana, consider reading this other piece concerning my favorite band here. Or perhaps this one, Kurt Cobain was NOT a retard fucker, here

And while I have chosen to ignore the Foo Fighters whenever possible, Dave has done a pretty great job this past year of making that difficult. Between Nirvana’s induction into the Rock & Roll hall of fame, the release of Dave’s “Sound City” documentary and the bloated HBO series “Sonic Highways” that accompanies the new Foo Fighters record, he’s fucking everywhere.

I’m a generous dude though. I’ll freely admit it’s not Dave’s fault he’s a toolbox. He’s just a person with, I assume, good intentions, going through life doing the best he can. That said, even though I know the following statement is untrue, it’s my gut reality and the one that is spilling forth into this article; Dave Grohl’s career post Nirvana besmirches Kurt Cobain’s legacy. I can’t help but think that Kurt would have nothing to do with Dave were he alive.

Of course, Kurt took care of what Kurt thinks a long time ago and despite it being a futile exercise to imagine otherwise, I’m still pretty confident he would think the Foo Fighters suck and that Dave should stick to drumming.

Hey! It’s my article and I can write what I want.

In order to understand my emotional logic you need to understand the moral compass I’m working with, and it’s the same one put forward by Kurt Cobain.

Punk rock is music to rebel by. Punk is an impassioned cry against the status quo, against the mainstream dumbed down, un-nuanced perspective on all things as propagated by “the man.” Personally, it’s also a rejection of homophobia and chauvinism and corporate greed.

That may be an idealistic and juvenile conception of punk, but that was how Kurt saw it too. Ironically that definition also posed the central philosophical difficulty Kurt Cobain had with his fame, popularity and wealth. Those things placed him in direct opposition to his punk rock ideals. The thing – punk rock – that had sustained him, that nurtured him and gave him strength, he had suddenly somehow become the antithesis of.

Growing up Kurt felt like an outsider. He felt shamed and abused by the popular kids, the townies and the jocks for being different. He glommed onto punk rock for a sense of validation. And he got it. Punk was his salvation, the one true thing in his life. I grew up that way too. Punk was the validation of my – admittedly juvenile – perception of the world. Dave Grohl pays lip service to that sentiment in his HBO series. He describes a transformative trip as a young teenager to Chicago where he saw a Naked Raygun show. It’s his first hardcore show and a revelation of democratic music making for him, his first exposure to punk’s D.I.Y. ethos.

For a young person, such as myself, armed with the pre-assembled tenets (of punk), people, ideas and things were easily classifiable. If you liked punk or hip-hop, you were cool. If you liked sports or Motley Crüe, you were uncool. I wanted nothing to do with uncool. Life – what to think, how to act – was tied up neatly. I could classify all things quickly and move on with my day.

With age, however comes an appreciation for nuance, an ability to view things with a degree of perspective, empathy even. You realize not everything can be simply black or white. Still, in regard to this issue, to my ears arrested in adolescence as they might be, Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters sound like corporate bro rockers. In short, they suck.

I feel justified in using my teenage logic in this case. If I can’t apply it here, to a lament for my favorite band, then where can I apply it?

I have never followed the Foo Fighters with any zeal, but the singles from pretty much every album through the years (and they’ve been going for a lot of years) have consistently reached me. I just never thought much of them one-way or the other. I didn’t find them disdainful. I even liked one or two along the way, found them hum-along-able on the radio. I figured everyone has to make a living, even the former drummer for Nirvana.

But then this past year you just couldn’t shake Dave Grohl. He was freaking everywhere. As such, it was only recently that I decided he’s liable for the ‘betrayal of one’s punk rock roots’ on multiple levels.

His live performances are a good example. I’ve had the misfortune of watching several clips on youtube of him playing to packed arenas. He just won’t shut up! He’s an anecdote-telling, mother-loving-happy-birthday-singing, anti-bully-advocating ringmaster between one overwrought, sanctimonious song and the next. In contrast, Kurt didn’t talk between songs. It was all about the music for him. Anything beyond a “thank you,” or, “this is a new one,” was rare. It’s abundantly clear that Dave likes to hear himself scream, “Let’s Rock!” with a Tourette’s-esque frequency.

My cardinal rule in regards to musical evaluation is dependent on where the music originates in a human being. Is it “true” to the person who is channeling it? Actually that’s true for most art. If a person is speaking their truth, whatever that might be – and however it is that that person chooses to speak it – then I can respect it. Maybe not like it or enjoy it, but respect it. With this tenet as my guide, Dave’s soul is full of fermented cheese and the overwhelming desire to “RAWK BRO!”

Then there’s the HBO show, “Sonic Highways.” What a mess. They start with the premise that America has quite a few locally grown musical traditions. Fair enough. I’d even go so far as to say documenting those local traditions is a good thing, because as with all things local, they are no doubt doomed to extinction by the rapacious appetite of internet culture. I love the history part of the show. I love that younger people – if they happen to watch the show on their parent’s “HBO-GO” account – will get to hear about music they might not otherwise be aware of.

Dave and the producers, also do a serviceable job of highlighting some legitimately under-appreciated scenes and musicians, the blues players in Chicago or the Go Go music scene in DC for example. Of course there are myriad bands, players and scenes that get missed, but that feels built in to the endeavor. Somebody will always be unhappy in that respect. That’s not to say I don’t quibble with some of the decisions made in the editorial department, it’s just in comparison to the series’ other issues, it wouldn’t be my primary beef.

The problem is that Dave and the Foos inject themselves into it in such a cheesy way. They juxtapose themselves in relation to these noble musical traditions – via the studio they record in that week – and it stinks of hubris. The first quarter of the show is spent framing Dave and the rest of the band in fashion-shoot-esque scenarios. Say staring balefully at their reflections in subway car glass or walking in adverse weather set to a melancholy Foo soundtrack. It gets worse from there, with the majority of the episode dedicated to the band writing and recording a song influenced by the given place they are profiling. At which point Dave gloms onto some stand-alone phrase uttered by one of the musicians profiled in the episode and makes it a lyric for the song they cut that week.

For example one of the blues players profiled in the Chicago episode, Buddy Guy says in the course of his interview that he went “looking for a dime and found a quarter,” regarding his search for a life as a musician in Chicago. Sure enough by the end of the episode Dave is shrieking the phrase over and over again in the Chicago “influenced” song, “Something from Nothing.”

That song by the way, being the first from the album to be debuted, is epic in its bloated musical indulgence. It’s a massive undertaking of over-ornamentation and mega-power-rocking.

And to claim the song is “influenced” by what the band “experienced” in their week in a famed Chicago studio? What a bunch of hooey! That song has got about as much to do with Chicago as I do because I’ve eaten a deep-dish pizza. Every song I’ve heard – and I admit I haven’t heard all of them – strikes me as an overwrought exercise in paint-by-numbers song writing.

Music should come from organic – not forced – inspiration. Not if you want it to have any gravitas or truth to it. The show’s concept is a flawed exercise, saccharine out of the gate.

Kurt is spinning in his grave, the poor guy. He’s lamenting what he has wroth upon us. Can you imagine him writing a song influenced by New Orleans? No, you can’t, because he’d rather blow his head off first. Which is, in the end, why you are here if you’ve made it this far. If it hasn’t bled through to you yet, then I’ll spell it out; my true beef isn’t with Dave Grohl. Yeah, he sucks and he’s a cheese ball, but then most people suck and are cheese balls. I don’t like to go negative, but Dave can take it I’m sure – plus he’ll never read it.

The true premise of this article is that the wrong member of Nirvana died. I’m resentful that we have to listen to the Foo Fighters instead of Nirvana.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Dave Grohl is a cheese dick and should really hang it up. Surely you have enough dough to retire at this point, don’t you, Dave?

That other Nirvana piece is here. Thanks for reading.

43 comments

  1. hgr8h8fe

    Who cares what you think. You are an idiot that doesnt know anything about music. Regardless of how many bad opinions there were about Foo Fighters 15 years ago, they have proven to be genuine. Even the band QUEEN thinks so. Today’s industry robots are a joke. Today’s music sucks balls. Bands I thought I hated 15 years ago, I don’t anymore. Not after the likes of Taylor Swift and other faggoty acts. No thanks. But I will take Foo Fighters ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Dave is part of a long legacy of REAL rockers.

    • futurepilgrim

      Love your passion! Sing it loud and proud sister. Thanks for the comment. However, you really ought to be more careful with the homophobic language. Chances are you don’t mean anything by it but even so, it doesn’t suit you.

    • Dylan

      What I hate the most about poeple who will disagree with you is their main arguement; “Music this generation sucks”. I want to reach through my computer screen and choke whoever typed those words whenever I see them. If you think the only music coming out these days is whatever they play on your shitty local radio stations, you need to reconsider your life. When you dig deep enough, you’ll fidn that this generation is putting out some of the best music at the most consistent rates. But people are too blinded by 40 year old corporate rockers that can’t even appreciate music for themselves unless it’s in their form. Sorry for the rant, but I 100% agree with you and I’m glad to meet someone else with my same opnion.

      • futurepilgrim

        Thanks for commenting Dylan. Too true – there’s tons of great stuff out there. I’d say the problem is there’s too much and I have to accept I’ll never get to it all. I went to see the Replacements in LA the other night and saw the singer for one of my favorite young bands in the audience – the Orwells. Nobody noticed them! These guys are barely out of high school yet they are tearing it up with the best of them! There is hope for the future.

    • Anonymous

      hgr8h8fe: well… it’s a blog or a column, and people usually write stuff in them about what’s on their mind. duh! just like your response is what you think. if you don’t want to read it don’t read it. obviously you must have cared some because you read it & responded. hah!

    • Matt Martin

      This is a stupid opinion.

      To be fair, though I haven’t listened to it in years, the first “Foo” album was pretty decent so far as I recall. Having Cobain around was basically having standards for Dave.

  2. Pingback: So Punk It Hurts | Futurepilgrim's Blog
  3. Borto Lockertine

    The line in that foo fighters song ” There goes my hero ” to me , is Dave’s testament to his real life hero and savior , Kurt Cobain. From Obscurity to Eternity it is. I always thought of Foo Fighters music too campy. Kinda like a modern day ” Boston”

    • futurepilgrim

      Good way to put it. Although I saw an interview where Grohl said the song is not about Cobain, but ordinary dudes, like firefighters and the like. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Anonymous

    I completely agree… Foo Fighters suck. They’ve always sucked and they always will suck. They are a pop music band, nothing more.

  5. Pingback: Kurt Cobain Lives | Futurepilgrim's Blog
  6. Anonymous

    I like both but Dave Grohl is a far better musician than Kurt. Nirvana was at their peak and Kurts formula would get old and their music would get worse. If Dave Grohl died after died after releasing Everlong you would be making an article praising him instead.

  7. yeahyeah

    I agree with most of your comments, very detailed, very emotional, very emotive.

    However, your comment of “the wrong member of Nirvana died” is immoral. It is like you are trying to choose who should no longer be on this planet. You have shared some very interesting points but that particular one just ain’t good.

  8. Pingback: Kurt Cobain Lives – the end | Futurepilgrim's Blog
  9. Anonymous

    Foo Fighters are good. Dave Grohl is cool. You are stuck in punk mentality, everything popular is wrong and bad.

    • futurepilgrim

      Thanks for the comment – you rock! You are right that I am totally stuck in punk mentality! You are wrong about me thinking that everything popular is wrong and bad though – I love a lot of popular stuff. I’m rocking out right now as I write this, listening to Ty Segall – he’s mad popular! I LOVE popular shit – just not Dave Grohl!

  10. Sno

    Great article. Something I noticed reluctantly reading Grohl’s biography: What becomes apparent from a deeper study in his musical career, is he’s always been very good at surrounding himself by the right people and he has good business intuition. Long before Foo Fighters, he was lucky to be offered a spot in Nirvana just before they exploded. Kurt killed himself at a relatively high point in Nirvana’s career. Using his Nirvana money, Grohl put together a demo of standard rock and roll songs that are the musical equivalent of what a Budweiser and a hamburger from Friday’s is to the culinary world. As Kurt’s popularity exploded after his death (yes, after), the public was starved for anything Nirvana. Krist Novoselic disappeared. But Dave offered the new generation of Nirvana fans (the ones Kurt directly addressed in “In Bloom”) a reliable rock and roll experience without too much intellectual work. Right away, he started attaching big names to his project (Lemmy, Tom Petty, etc.) eventually developing a reputation as rock’s favorite collaborator.

    Grohl seems like a cool guy to hang with. He’s seen a lot of the business. Or, as one writer put it, he’s the living physical embodiment of a Hard Rock Café. What’s so weird to me is that, as one of the “original” Nirvana fans who bought Nevermind the year it came out, I *want* to like his music. But I just can’t. There’s been some gems over the years (Crooked Vultures, Queens, or Probot), but the focus has always been on corporate bro rock. Lyrically and musically, it gets the job done, but just barely.

    I’m equally fascinated with him as I am disappointed with the Foo’s music. I don’t blame the guy for wanting to make a living doing what it takes to pack arenas, and I do think that deep down, he is true to himself and following his heart. But to me, it seems his musical legacy won’t be so much for the music he actually made, but for where, when, and with whom he made it.

  11. Dz nutz

    Youre an embarradment dude. Theres nothing more petty than a jealous whiner. The fact that daves shits have more musical talent than you could ever dream of having is no reason to go into a jealous fit of rage. You sound like kurts ex lover (over rated btw and not a fantastic musician, unlike dave. Kurt would kick you in the balls for your stupidity

  12. Karissa (@karissammm)

    I get it, man. I truly do. But I think you’re kind of looking at Dave in the wrong way. He isn’t Kurt Cobain. He doesn’t think like him, talk like him, or write music like him. So just because something isn’t “punk rock” or Kurt Cobain Approved doesn’t make it invalid, or meaningless or “corporate” as you say so many times. What’s corporate about someone owning their own record label and writing their own songs? That sounds pretty punk rock to me. Just because someone has a lot of fans doesn’t invalidate their music(Nirvana is much more famous than the foo fighters). The Foo Fighters don’t make music like Nirvana, but just because that happened doesn’t make Dave Grohl a dick. Dave is a musician, but Kurt was an ARTIST. Two very different things. Don’t get to caught up in the ridiculous unrealistic constructs of “punk rock”(because one could argue the second Nirvana hit the mainstream they became “corporate bro rawk” too as you say) and don’t compare Dave to Kurt, it’s an apple and an orange. But I respect your opinion, I understand why you see it that way. But please don’t say the wrong member of Nirvana died. Kurt was a fucked up junkie, as talented as he was. The biggest mistake every Nirvana fan makes is getting caught in the allure and the legend of Kurt Cobain, I promise you that if he didn’t kill himself in his prime you’d most likely be talking about him the same way you are with Dave.

    • futurepilgrim

      Love it! Thanks for commenting. I agree with many of your points. In many respects this is an apples to oranges comparison and it is pointless to speculate “what if.” Really appreciate your comment.

  13. Oz

    Everything you wrote in this article couldn’t be more on-point than it already is. I have never seen anyone come off so disingenuous and self-absorbed than Grohl during the performance you mentioned. Seriously, what the fahk was all that?! That was hardly a performance! If he wanted to talk to an audience he should hold a conference or something; you have a band and you’re performing, that’s what you’re there to do. It’s what people paid money to see you do. Opinions or comments if at all, should be given at the beginning or the end of the damn set. Watching and hearing him ramble off about “rock and roll” this and “rock and roll” that, really left me wondering what his real agenda was or is. I left the footage of that event wondering: “is he trying to push some kind of narrative or subtext to make him seem like the last great rock and roll band? Or is he simply a man, caught in a self-created echo chamber that’s managed to catch on to the mainstream, further cementing some hidden delusion? Personally, I don’t find his multi-instrumentality that impressive because what he creates with it isn’t persuasive to my ears; it sounds recycled and very tepid. There’s hardly anything produced by Foo Fighters that sounds heavy or stirs something in me. Everlong was trash and the lasluster video that accompanies it only amplifies the platitude of the entire message of the track (if there even is one).
    I don’t like Grohl as a musician. He’s just not that interesting. Not going to comment on him as a person or a father because I just don’t know him personally. Yet what he bring musically isn’t thought-provoking. What’s worse, he doesn’t really seem to have anything to say. I would agree that his drumming is and should be the only thing he should stick to. Few and far are the multi talented that actually leave you speechless and Dave just isn’t one of them. As for Kurt, he was deep. He had that “thing” you don’t come across often. But what that is is usually born from pain and struggle. Of loss and real tragedy. It shows and fie on anyone who doesn’t agree with that fact. Thank you for the article, I thought I was the only one who saw through this guy’s facade. Cheers.

    • futurepilgrim

      Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated. At the end of the day the poor sap (Grohl) is a person so I kind of feel bad saying what I do about him in this post (Plus the post itself is getting kind of old), but I’m glad it resonated with you. He has had some pretty sad “Let’s RAWK” outbursts. Mostly I’m just bummed Kurt killed himself. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

  14. Goober

    While I don’t doubt that Dave Grohl is a talented musician, I think he is extremely overrated. Foo Fighters are generic and unoriginal in practically everything they do. I often liken them to a slightly edgier Nickelback. Saying Dave’s voice is annoying would be an understatement. I’m positive he has his own chapter in Guantanamo Bay’s guide, “How to Torture Terrorists with Bad Music.” I really wouldn’t care as much if it wasn’t for his smugness; he seems completely smitten with himself; traits many of his fans seem to share. The type of fans that become super incredulous and defensive when they find out you don’t like “their band.” Honestly, for a couple years I thought guys only pretended to like Foo Fighters to help get them laid. Anyway, nice piece; was a good read.

    • futurepilgrim

      Hey Goober! Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated. I agree that smugness is one of the highest crimes I can think of (short of baby killing or something similar) – I agree he looks smug, I also agree his voice is annoying – but I’ve also read he’s a down to earth person in one on one interactions. Who knows? Thanks again for the read and the comment. Actually writing this post has given me a lot more empathy towards the guy. This post generates so much traffic, that I find it strange to think about how would it make me feel to have all these people googling “Dave Grohl sucks” about me. That would blow! Anyway. Not my problem. and I guess that’s the price one pays for fame.

      • Goober

        Don’t feel bad. Your criticisms are constructive and not nearly as harsh as mine. I’m sure Dave is a great guy, but that doesn’t mean you have to like him or the music he makes. After having his music forced down our throats for over a decade it’s not surprising that some of us are vomiting. Your post might be inflammatory to many, but for others it’s insightful and refreshing.

  15. Anonymous

    was never a Nirvana fan and I’m definitely not a FF fan. they’ve essentially written the same boring crap over and over again. I cannot stand Dave Grohl screaming. And he does it a LOT.

  16. Michael Gibney

    Don’t listen to these cheesy Grohl worshippers, they’re all sheep. Grohl IS a sell out, cheese ball arena shlock rocker. It’s corporate bullshit and it’s not authentic. He’s fake. Your article was for Kurt and about real artistry and passion, which Cobain had and knew Grohl didn’t. Grohl is a beer guzzling cheesy Jock douchebag. You told it like it was. Bravo! We need more truth.

  17. Aubrey Smithwick

    Thank you! Finally someone who hates them as much as I do. My husband discovered how much I dislike them a few days back and keeps chasing me around the house playing “everlong”. I hate that song … it’s so generic radio produced for heavy rotation boring … Dave should stop writing songs and fade out so we can all forget about him and move on. If I had to choose I would gladly listen to Jaden Smith before listening to Foo Fighters and he is terrible.

  18. Anonymous

    I love Dave. But yeah I agree with some of the things you put on here. I love Nirvana. Like the Foos as well. But yeah Foos are no Nirvana. But then again theyre not trying to be. But Dave only went on to create the Foos because he didnt want to leave music and wanted to make a living doing that so he did what he had to do to stay in the game. Shit, Id do the same too ! Theyre not too bad. Id rather listen to Foos than have to stand a second listening to the likes of freaking Kanye or Taylor Swift or mother fucking Katy Perry. Barf ! So long live the Foos and I hope to see them in concert this Fall. But love your article. Express what you feel !

  19. buzz

    Glad to hear someone else besides me doesn’t like the Foo Fighters. They are nothing special and the over-rated Dave Grohl has a really irritating voice. I’d rather listen to Nickelback… at least they don’t pretend to be something they are not. The parody glam metal band Steel Panther are better musicians and far more interesting to listen to than Foo Fighters despite being vulgar cartoonish put-on caricatures of the bands from that era.

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