Dave Grohl Was “Afraid” to Write About Kurt Cobain

In 1991, the grunge band Nirvana released its legendary album Nevermind. Today, some 30 years later, many, including those connected to the band, are celebrating the milestone with new items for sale, a big show in Seattle, and more.

Simultaneously, former Nirvana member Dave Grohl has been undertaking a large media tour for his latest book and for a recent Foo Fighters release, the band’s 2021 album, Medicine at Midnight.

With the convergence of these two, Grohl has had to face the death of his friend, the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, doing so most candidly in an interview last month with The Washington Post.

In the interview, the Nirvana drummer turned Foo Fighters frontman, talked with the outlet via video chat during the promotional tour for his new memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, and talked about something he rarely does: Cobain’s passing.

Cobain, who died at the height of Nirvana’s success in the mid-‘90s, has become a mythical figure, much like John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix. As such, Grohl, who played in the iconic grunge band for about four years, knew he would have to write about Cobain in his life-spanning memoir.

When asked about it by The Washington Post, Grohl says, “The chapter in which I write about Kurt passing—you know, that was the last piece I wrote. Because I was kind of afraid to write it, you know? I was like, ‘Oh God, how am I going to say this? How am I going to do this? How can I put this into words?

“And I decided to talk about grief and mourning and loss and the process of healing. And how that’s different with each person that you lose. And how that’s determined. Is it determined by time? Or is it determined by the depth of the relationship?

“So, when I started writing the book, I wasn’t sure—there was a part of me that hoped I had enough to write. And I kept writing and kept writing and kept writing. I finally got to 300 pages and I don’t even know if I’d mentioned the Foo Fighters yet.”

He adds: “But obviously, my time in Nirvana and the stuff about Kurt was very important to the story and some of it was a pleasure to write and some of it was really difficult. But I think we put it all together well.”

When asked about what it feels like to play drums to Nirvana songs now, Grohl thought a moment and said, “Well, it’s different now. 25 years ago, yes it was difficult to just sit down at the drums and play, much less play a Nirvana song.

“But over the years, [former Nirvana bassist] Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear and I have gotten together a few times and, you know, I think over time it becomes more of a celebration of that music. It’s almost like you’re paying tribute to it or honoring it.

“[But] you always feel like there’s something missing if you sit down and play those songs. You know that someone is missing.”

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