Dave Grohl discussed Foo Fighters’ early days in a recent Louder Than Sound interview. He discussed making Foo Fighters’ first album tape, and why it still doesn’t feel ‘natural’ to be fronting a band compared to drumming with Kurt Cobain at the helm in Nirvana.
The reaction to the tape was swift. “I’d get calls from Virgin, RCA, MCA, Columbia or Capitol or whatever.” In the end Grohl signed with Capitol after being courted by President Gary Gersh who, as an A&R man with Geffen, had signed Nirvana.
Recording all the instruments in the studio was one thing, but even the talented Grohl couldn’t play them all live. For that he would need a band. After securing bass player Nate Mendell and drummer William Goldsmith from the recently defunct Sunny Day Real Estate he gave a tape to guitarist Pat Smear, a man who had also played with Nirvana.
“He said, ‘God, this stuff is really poppy!’” squeals Grohl in his best Smear impersonation. “I’m like: ‘Really?’ He goes: ‘I love it.’ ‘Wow, thanks. We’re looking for a guitar player.’ He’s like: ‘I’ll do it.’ I’m like: ‘You will?’ No shit, because he’s like the coolest fucking guy in the world. That guy was in The Germs. He was great in Nirvana, and I thought he’s way out of this league; this is just a stupid demo.”
With a band assembled they began rehearsing. But the role of frontman was a new and uncomfortable one for Grohl: “Standing up and singing a song with a guitar with shredding volume did not feel natural. It still doesn’t.”
He also found the experience of performing his own material in distinct contrast to that of playing with Nirvana: “It’s a different feeling when you’re singing words you’ve written and playing songs you’ve written. It’s so much more personal.”
Watch Alternative Nation’s new video below on Layne Staley vs. Kurt Cobain.