Forget the genius workings of Foo Fighters. Ignore collaborations with the likes of Paul McCartney and David Bowie. To me, Dave Grohl will always be a drummer first, a multi-talented musician and all-round ‘nice guy’ second.
His early percussive poundings with D.C Hardcore band Scream preceded his rise to rock n roll fame with legendary Seattle band, Nirvana. When I bought Nirvana’s Incesticide album at the tenderly naïve age of twelve, the impact on me shaped my musical tastes, values and ideas to this day.
I now am an avid follower of Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures, two simply amazing bands in which Grohl has played an integral part. It is mesmerizing to watch him let loose on his drums, pure self-expression. A whirlwind of hair, muscles, tattoos and sweat, he has no inhibitions, playing every song as if it’s his last. To know of his multi-instrumental talents only serves to prove how much of a musical drummer he is.
Undoubtedly one of the most powerful contemporary sticksmen, he displays perfect metronome timing and on many Them Crooked Vultures live clips, sandbags can be seen stationed around his drums and cymbal stands, one presumes, to keep them from either jumping forwards or taking off.
Band mate and personal friend Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal) has described Grohl as a master of the drums and I couldn’t agree more. He may not be the most technical player – though he can throw in a drum fill that will baffle me for weeks – his power, balance, delivery and a brilliant musical ear ensures he serves every song perfectly.
Grohl’s colourful career has seen him play various roles within a band. Certainly though, what was once a shy and quiet 21 year-old with Kurt Cobain and company, is not the same man who led his band through an energetic set in front of 86,000 fans at Wembley stadium. He has grown, matured, into an enigmatic, commanding musician, seemingly braver and more daring to play that more technical drumbeat, rhythm or fill. Visibly, he’s enjoying himself just as much as he ever did.
Through listening to Dave for the best part of ten years, I’d like to think I could recognise his playing on any given track – not that I’ve tested this, maybe I should!
Without a doubt, Dave Grohl is my foremost inspirational drummer; I will never tire of listening to him.