Dave Grohl – The Anti-Nirvana ‘Godlike Genius’ Hits Glastonbury


Image: YouTube/Mark Bellingham

In 2011 Foo Fighters big cheese Dave Grohl nabbed the ridiculous-sounding Shockwaves NME Godlike Genius Award. Since then, I can’t help think it’s all gone to his head. On Saturday night, when Foo Fighters headlined Glastonbury’s legendary Pyramid Stage, Grohl walked out alone. He addressed the crowd like a classic WWF (pre-lawsuit) wrestler cutting a promo. His stadium rock-bred smirk every bit the anti-Nirvana.

“I’m about two years late tonight,” he says. Not “we’re.” “I.” Dave “mother fucking” Grohl. That’s who. In the house… Y’all. And I know he chews gum for his vocals, but it added even more of a Tennessee car salesman, Southern preacher twang to his frequent power speeches.

It reminded me of the time he had security kick a fan out of a 2011 Foo Fighters show at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm. “You don’t fucking fight at MY show, asshole,” he said. “Get the fuck out of MY show. Get the fuck out of MY show right now. You don’t come to MY show and fight. You come to MY show and fucking dance, you asshole.” It’s strange. Taylor Hawkins is one of the best drummers in the world. Nate Mendel’s played bass since 1995. Chris Shiflett’s played lead since 1999. And Pat Smear was in Nirvana. Albeit briefly. So why does Grohl talk like they’re his backing band?

I know he gives them each a dance-monkey-dance solo during the set, with their own cringey intros, but that doesn’t take away from moments like these. Still, if you’re a fan of Foo Fighters’ current brand of crowd-pleasing mainstream rock, the band delivers the goods live. Although Grohl’s shouty voice does sound pretty wrestler-like these days as well. And I can’t help but think that, like Grohl, the music’s a million miles away from the urgency, excitement and danger of the band’s origins.


Image: YouTube/Mark Bellingham

Then, of course, there was the time Grohl fell off stage in Sweden in 2015, broke his leg and did the following U.S. tour in a ridiculous, guitar neck-encrusted throne he designed himself. It looked like the rock version of the Iron Throne. Or something out of Spinal Tap. In that moment, Grohl became the exact kind of self-indulgent rock star Nirvana’s stripped back, more personal ’90s sound was reacting to. Axl Rose asking to borrow said throne when he injured himself is all the proof you need, really.

Look, I’m not disillusioned. Dave Grohl’s 48. He’s rich. He’s successful. He’s one of the biggest rock stars on the planet. Shit, I didn’t used to like blue cheese and camembert but now I love the stuff. We grow. We change. And of course, the striking opposite of Grohl’s larger-than-life rock god existence is the quieter, more plaid and shoulder patch path taken by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. Whereas Grohl looks like an older, chubbier version of his former self, Novoselic looks like his high school geography teacher. I imagine.


Image: YouTube/Mark Bellingham

During the Glastonbury show Grohl kept shouting at the crowd in-between song lines as well. Yelling things like, “Let me hear you!” “Come on!” and “sing it with me!” He sounded like “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan calling out the Undertaker. And to me, it felt like he was killing the songs. Fans will say he was working the crowd, sure. He’s not the cool, brooding frontman, commanding the audience’s attention with sheer intensity. He’s the running up and down the aisles like Bono, pointing at people while his backing band cranks out a ten minute “Monkey Wrench” interlude frontman.

After the gig, the BBC airs a short interview with Dave Grohl. Caught up in his pre-show excitement, Grohl talks about seeing the stage, and how he plans to “light that motherfucker up,” like some kind of kickass cowboy. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. He seems nice. But he doesn’t seem cool. On stage. At Glastonbury. With his puffy hair. Constantly pointing. Yelling. And swearing. And the more he swears, thrashes around and talks between songs, the blander and less offensive Foo Fighters seem, as they straddle the middle of the road on top of the world.

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Fourpure – Juicebox Citrus IPA

Look, it’s great, but to be perfectly honest, I was expecting something juicier. More tropical. More off the wall. I’ve been digging fruity, citrus-packed IPAs lately, and Fourpure Brewing Co.’s lush-looking Juicebox was a long time coming – a mate instagrammed a photo of one last year and since then I’ve been on the hunt. Finally, I found it, a season later, at Utobeer in Borough Market. Needless to say, anticipation was high.

Unlike other tropical IPAs the fruitiness is understated – a massive surprise when you take in the juiciness of the can art. The subtle suggestion of tropical fruit seems to be limited to lingering whispers of grapefruit, which is quite a letdown, really. Still, like I say, it’s a good beer. Fourpure is a great brewery. I was just looking for something special. Magical. I’ll still buy it again, though – unless it’s sat next to a Tropigamma or a Not Guilty OJ IPA.

Chris Cornell – Euphoria Mourning RIP Dude

I didn’t get around to posting this in time but I still think it’s worth an “edit” rather than a “trash.” Maybe…

I’ve never been the biggest Soundgarden fan, really. And I always found Audioslave’s combination of styles too weird to get into; Rage Against the Machine’s stripped down rap-rock meets Chris Cornell’s larger-than-life, wailing-crooner crescendos. But I do love Cornell’s first solo album, Euphoria Morning. I listened to it non-stop for months when it came out. My wife (then girlfriend) loves it too. It means something special to us.

I saw Chris Cornell live once, in South Africa, and I saw Soundgarden at Hyde Park. And man, the dude could sing! I still can’t believe the news. Such a bright, iconic, world-conquering light snuffed out in such a sad, lonely, quiet seeming blink of an eye. The “voice of a generation” indeed.

PS, this Rock am Ring 2017 Prophets of Rage Chris Cornell tribute, featuring Serj Tankian on vocals, is pretty special as well. Nothing but love. Nothing but respect.