Dave Grohl shares why he will always be a drummer first

While Dave Grohl’s most official title may be ‘the nicest guy in rock and roll’ one shouldn’t forget he is also one of the best drummers to have picked up the sticks. Honing his talents in punk bands before being asked to join Nirvana amid the recording of their seminal 1991 record Nevermind, Grohl would continue to sit behind a kit whenever he got the chance.

After the sad demise of Nirvana following Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Grohl would create his own group, Foo Fighters, where he would act as the band’s main musical director and lead singer. What most people don’t know, is that Grohl was also the band’s drummer on their debut album, only eventually recruiting the late, great Taylor Hawkins a few years down the line. Not to mention the stellar work he provided for Queens of the Stone Age. What that all means is that if Grohl offers up some advice on drumming, you best take it.

As well as being an all-around talented musician, able to pick up almost any instrument and get something close to a tune out of it, Grohl is also an all-around nice guy. The kind of man who will happily kick through an amp, smash a bottle of JD and yet still find time to play with the kids in the room.

It means he, far from the rest of the industry’s macho-competitive nature, has always been more than happy to heap praise on his counterparts and provide handy tips for those looking to cultivate their craft. For any would-be rock drummers, a piece of advice that will take you far is the unique drumming technique Grohl would practice in order to hone his skills.

Speaking with Amanpour and Company, Grohl remembered picking up his instruments and how he honed them: “First of all, I’d take singer off that list because I’m basically just running around screaming for three hours, so we can take that off. The guitar was my first instrument, and there’s nothing like sitting around with a guitar in your lap all day long. But drumming – I feel like I’m dancing when I’m drumming.”

It’s a rhythmic instrument, so there are plenty of legs in Grohl’s argument, and he continued: “I don’t have to think, I can just do it, and whatever is in my heart winds up in my hands. There’s not a lot of thought, which is probably why I prefer it. I really loved the physicality of drumming, and I do have this some sort of internal rhythm that I’ve had my entire life.”

“When I was a kid, I used to do this little exercise or challenge with myself. Whenever we would drive to Ohio from Virginia to visit my grandparents, we would go through these long tunnels in Pennsylvania through the mountains. There would be a song on the radio, and I would listen to it,” he continued.

“Then, we would go into the tunnel, lose the radio, and I would try to hold the beat like this [clicking fingrs], and when we exit the tunnel I would see if I’m still on the beat, and I was still on the beat. I think drumming is one of these things I’ll do at the drop of the hat, at the opening of the envelope – if I see drums, I’m gonna play those drums.”

Listen to Grohl’s isolated drums for Nirvana’s song ‘In Bloom’ below.

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