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Dave Grohl Still Has Trouble Listening to Nirvana's Music

In a new interview with GQ, the Foo Fighters leader shares his thoughts on Kurt Cobain's legacy, the shame of having Trump as president, and the "punk rock" appeal of Lil Pump.
Photo by Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

Dave Grohl's public persona walks a fine line between "ultimate out-of-touch dad rocker" and "actually kind of hip," which makes his interviews pretty damn engaging. The Foo Fighters leader spoke to the British edition of GQ while in Brazil (shouts out to Latin America's enduring love of stadium rock) for a lengthy profile that covers ground both musical and not musical. Surprisingly, Grohl's tenure in Nirvana takes up a good portion of the interview, even though both writer Jonathan Heaf and Grohl admit that the topic is tiring. Still, Grohl does have new things to say about what listening to the band's music still does to him emotionally:


“I don’t put Nirvana records on, no. Although they are always on somewhere. I get in the car, they’re on. I go into a shop, they’re on. For me, it’s so personal. I remember everything about those records; I remember the shorts I was wearing when we recorded them or that it snowed that day. Still, I go back and find new meanings to Kurt’s lyrics. Not to seem revisionist, but there are times when it hits me. You go, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize he was feeling that way at the time.’”

The profile also contains input from Courtney Love, who dishes on the legal battles between herself and Grohl over ownership of Nirvana's music following Kurt Cobain's death in 1994. "We got into bizarre litigation and an apex of treacherous, predator attorneys, but that was over money and the way suicide affects family, which we are. I regret the acrimony [between myself and Dave] deeply. I feel like I missed out on some great years with him," Love says.

Naturally, as one does in this era, Grohl lets loose some casual disses towards Donald Trump, calling him a "massive jerk" and saying that he's probably travelled to more countries than the president, adding that "the one thing I understand that [Trump] doesn’t is that the world isn’t as big as you think it is. It is all in your neighborhood. India, Asia, Iceland aren’t other solar systems. I am ashamed of our president. I feel apologetic for it when I travel."

Another controversial cultural topic—Soundcloud/emo rap—gets an unexpectedly positive response from the at-times fogeyish Grohl, who even corrects Heaf when he mistakenly identifies Lil Pump as "the so-called 'Soundcloud rap star' who overdosed on Xanax and coke late last year." (That would be Lil Peep). "For my eldest daughter," says Grohl, "Lil Pump is punk rock. In 2018, music doesn’t—and shouldn’t—sound like it did when I was 14. I guess for me punk rock is about a state of independence and if that’s Lil Pump then so be it." Collab when?

Elsewhere, Grohl discusses his upcoming musical project ("a 25-minute piece of continuous music, an instrumental" that he'll play solo) and how he would never run for office ("I’m not doing an Oprah. I’m not going to go, ‘Well, you never know.’”). It's a very detailed and interesting profile, and you can read it here.

Phil is on Twitter.