Andrew James Lodge MD

There Goes my Hero – Dave Grohl

When Andrew Lodge first heard of Dave Grohl, it was related to his creation of a new band, the Foo Fighters, after Kurt Cobain’s death and the end of the band Nirvana. Grohl had been the drummer for Nirvana. What Andrew understood from what he had heard was that Dave Grohl formed his new band and essentially put together the first album single-handedly, playing all of the instruments and doing the vocals himself. Andrew James Lodge MD found this not only amazing, but it fascinated him that one person could have enough talent to pull off such a feat. So, when Andrew was browsing through a bookstore late in 2021 and came across The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music which is Dave Grohl’s autobiography- he had to read it. The book is a collection of stories from Dave’s collected experiences from childhood to the present and the title, in Andrew Lodge’s opinion, could just as well have been Tales of My Life, which is Music. It was a great read. The following are a few of my reflections on the book.

Andrew James Lodge MD prefaces this by stating that the Foo Fighters are one of his current favorite bands. While he has never seen them live, he has seen many videos of their live performances. The energy they put into their performances is inspiring and makes it clear that Grohl and his bandmates clearly love what they do. Dave Grohl grew up in Northern Virginia. He describes himself as somewhat of a non-conformist. From a very young age, he had a strong interest in music. He taught himself how to play the drums by listening to punk and rock albums and imitating the drummers he heard. This self-starting characteristic is one of the musician’s defining attributes. What also comes through loud and clear in the book is the influence of Grohl’s mother Virginia. His father left the family early in his life, and Grohl was essentially raised by Virginia who was a public-school teacher. She appears to have done an incredible job finding the balance between instilling strong values and giving him the latitude to explore his interests and passions and find his own path in life.

Throughout The Storyteller, Andrew Lodge was continually impressed with the importance of family in Grohl’s life. It was a cousin that introduced him to the world of punk rock, which in turn led to his amazing self-taught skills. He spent his high school years playing drums with several local bands until he got an amazing break – an audition with his favorite hometown band Scream. This was a turning point where Grohl was faced with a decision between pursuing a college education or a life as a musician. On top of this, he had to get this decision past his mother who was a teacher. Her faith in him, her allowing him the freedom to choose, and his commitment to music may have seemed relatively insignificant at the time, but they were pivotal in the development of an amazing rock talent that would have an impact over the next 30-40 years. Grohl ended up becoming the drummer for Scream, and his career was launched.

His role in Scream led to a call from the band Nirvana to fill their frequently vacated drummer position. Nirvana, as a huge driver behind the alternative and grunge rock scenes was a huge step up, and another remarkable steppingstone in Dave Grohl’s musical journey. He solidified the drummer role in Nirvana beginning in 1990 and contributed greatly to the success of a hugely popular band. Unfortunately, that ended abruptly with the death of Cobain in 1994 leaving the rest of the band to wonder what was next. Grohl was only 25 at the time and drifted for a while considering his next move. This period was marked by another critical decision – turning down the opportunity to be the drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, another legendary band. Even during his time with Nirvana, Grohl had been working on recording his own music. The next decision, to take these recordings to the next level, led to the launch of the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl actually did write and record the songs for the Foo Fighters eponymous first album by himself, doing the vocals and playing all the instruments. To this day, some of those songs are still among the Foo’s most popular. He then formed a band to support the album and the rest is history. What an accomplishment for a 25-year-old.

The rest of The Storyteller documents only some of what Andrew James Lodge MD thinks must be many more of the incredible stories of this wonderful musician. From encounters with fellow musicians such as Neil Young, Joan Jett, AC/DC, and Paul McCartney, to playing a gig at the White House, to his other musical explorations with and without the rest of the Foo Fighters, Grohl talks about each with a down-to-earth tone that is fun and refreshing. What sticks out to me is how intertwined with all these stories his life with his mother, wife, and children are. In addition, despite his fame and prosperity, it’s clear that Grohl both recognizes and is grateful for his good fortune. And he tries to give back to others he encounters in life.

Andrew Lodge would like close this post with one other bit of information that he has come across as a fan of Dave Grohl. A couple of years ago, he was made aware of a 10-year-old drumming prodigy from England who had been posting her covers of songs on social media and had challenged him to a drum-off. This ultimately led to a video of said drum-off between Grohl and the young girl that went viral, and eventually to the girl playing on-stage with the Foo Fighters. If one reads about and watches the videos of this story unfolding, it becomes clear that not only does Grohl take great joy in what he does but derives joy from interacting with others that share his passion, and in turn shares his with them. All of this is reflected in The Storyteller. Whether you’re a Foo Fighters fan or not, I highly recommend it as a great read.

By Andrew Lodge MD

Andrew James Lodge MD