Murray Engleheart
Dave Grohl
Publisher Title Transcript
The Drum Media #61 Nevermind… It's Nirvana Yes

"I remember one night when we played in Chicago on the last tour that we'd done." Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl began in a matter-of-fact tone. "I'd had the same drum set for four years and it started getting really, really f**ked up. And it got to the point where it didn't sound good anymore. I kept on saying to the tour manager, I need a new drum set really badly. And the tour manager would say, how long can you hold out? And I said well I can wait for the rest of the tour but I just want something that's going to sound good. Finally a bag of mine got stolen in Detroit and I was really pissed off. So the next day I said this is it, this is the last night I'll play on this drum kit, I'm not going to take it anymore. And Kurt (Cobain, vocals and guitar) and I sat there for ten minutes in front of 1000 people just destroying the drum set and handing it to them. So everybody walked out of there with a little souvenir."

It wasn't the first such incident and chances are it won't be the last. During the band's performance at the Reading Festival in the UK Kurt was moved to dive into the drum kit and sprained his arm. The problem was the band had several more weeks of engagements to fulfil.

AH, Nirvana. The band once blindly branded as some sort of knee jerk consequence of Mudhoney are now as their first album, Bleach indicated to those with real ears, very much on their own raw, ragged, brutally emotive turf. And for the most part everything amped as much as humanely possible. Exhibit A is the album, Nevermind.

THE shot of the tiny child underwater on the cover came from a television special Dave and Kurt saw on giving birth underwater which was full of versions, of ltttle ones floating past the cameras.

THERE are connections obviously between what drives Mudhoney and Nirvana: the beer to fuel the noise equation holds strong for both bands. And In fact, Mudhoney recently opened up for Nirvana in Seattle and made the hair of the headlining trio stand on end. But as one writer once observed Nirvana are more likely to belt a heckler than their kindred spirits.

DAVE was in London when we spoke. The band had only had one day off between an American tour and English dates and jetlag was an enormous burden. So was the fact that he reckoned it cost him 100 pounds to get his washing done. Surprisingly though it wasn't that he didn't bring in his rush that caused the odd raised eyebrow.

"IT'S weird. In my bag there's things that I'd forgotten. So when I went to the laundry to pick up my clothes this woman asked me what these little beards are all about because my friend gave me these little beards for Halloween. And I got a David Cassidy 5" by 10" promotional picture that I forgot about and I had some glow in-the dark band aids that I forgot about."

"We just wanted to make sure that we never play with some massive cock rock band, all over America. That would just ruin it."

NEVERMIND which includes material written before the band's Bleach album was even recorded has firmed up a territory that is attracting an increasing number of fans on a major scale. So much so that the band have been offered support spots for Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row.

"IT'S kind of amusing that all these bands want us to open up for them but there's absolutely no f**king way we'd ever do it. People tell us, Oh, you guys are number nine on the Billboard charts in America. And wow, we don't jump around and laugh and jump for joy. We just sort of say, Oh. But when someone says, yeah, Rush want you to tour with them we burst out laughing and roll on the floor."

"BUT actually you know what? Someone asked us if we would open for Guns n' Roses in New Zealand and I think we're going to play one show with Guns n' Roses in New Zealand at some festival or something. We just wanted to make sure like OK that we never play with some massive cock rock band all over America. That would just ruin it. So when someone said you have a chance to play one show with Guns n' Roses in New Zealand in front of 40,000 people we thought oh that might be kind of fun."

THAT show can't have been too much surprlse. Both bands are to be in this part of the world at the same time early next year and besides Axl went backstage to see the band when they played in Los Angeles.

DAVE didn't see the second Clash Of The Titans tour with Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and fellow local lads, Alice In Chains. I mentioned, with Alice In Chains' genre jumping in mind, that maybe if there was a third Clash tour Nirvana could join the caravan. Dave was not comfortable with the notion. They want to avoid the heavy metal market as much as possible.

"WE'D rather be Nirvana than Virvana the heavy metal band. We did a thing for MTV. There's a show called Headbanger's Ball and we were sort of hesitant. We weren't sure if we wanted to do it. And Kurt and Chris (Novoselic, bass) ended up going and doing an interview on the show and it turned out okay" I mentioned to Dave that the night we spoke AC/DC were doing the last of their Sydney shows and he bubbled with enthusiasm though he had never seen the band.

"WHEN I was in the fifth grade, I guess I was ten years old my best friend and I went to see the movie, Let There Be Rock. And I had never been to a rock concert or seen a rock movie and that f**king movie changed my life man. They had a PA system in the theatre that was the same size as the PA system in the local Colleseum. It was the first time I'd ever had the feeling of getting up and playing air guitar and killing my teacher, smashing the chairs in the theatre, whatever. Total adrenalin. It was so loud that you couldn't even understand what they were saying when they interviewed the members of the band. It was so loud it was just like RRRRRRRR."

GOING RRRRRRRR is a mode of operation very dear to the hearts of Nirvana. It's what their ears do after a show. "The only time you think about going deaf is when you try and go to sleep at night and you can't go to sleep because your ears are ringing so loud. That's when you start thinking about the singer of Soul Asylum having to put a fibreglass thing around the drum set so he won't hear the cymbals or something like that."

"MY problem is for my ride cymbal a lot time I don't hit it like a ping. I just like to crash and wash on the side of it. So my right ear sometimes when I stand up or if I'm just walking around my right ear will just go Frrrrrrr and it'll just totally go out and I'll be deaf for a minute in one ear and then it'll come back in."

CYMBALS can create a white noise if you hit them hard enough I said rubbing my hands together.

"YEAH but that's sort of beautiful thought."

© Murray Engleheart, 1991