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Dave Grohl: ‘For a while I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to play music again’

Foo Fighters legend Dave Grohl has opened up about the "trauma" following the end of Nirvana that left him wondering if he "ever wanted to play music again"
Dave Grohl is a very nice man. Credit: Danny Clinch

Rock legend Dave Grohl has opened up about the “dysfunctional” workings of Nirvana and the band’s traumatic end after just four years. 

In an exclusive interview with the Big Issue’s Jane Graham, Grohl penned his Letter To My Younger Self and spoke about struggling at school as a teenager, his close relationship with his mother and meeting Paul McCartney. 

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The Foo Fighters frontman described the relationship he had with his Nirvana bandmates Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. He said while musically the trio was a “match made in heaven” there were sometimes awkward moments. 

“Of course we loved each other. We were friends. But, you know, there was a dysfunction in Nirvana that a band like Foo Fighters doesn’t have,” he said.

“You also have to realise, from the time I joined Nirvana to the time it was over was only about four years. It wasn’t a long period of time. Was I close to Kurt, as I am to Taylor Hawkins? No.” 

Grohl said he grew closer with Novoselic in the aftermath of Cobain’s death but as young men it could be difficult to communicate without the help of their instruments. 

“When I see Krist now, I hug him like family. But back then we were young, the world was just so strange,” he added.

“But that emotional dysfunction in Nirvana was relieved when we put on instruments. If the music hadn’t worked, we wouldn’t have been there together. 

“I truly believe that there’s some people you can only communicate with musically. And sometimes that’s an even greater, deeper communication. There are people that I might feel a little awkward talking to but once we strap on instruments, it’s like they’re the love of my life.” 

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Paul McCartney Performs In Concert At Safeco Field SEATTLE, WA - JULY 19: Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl (R) perform live at Safeco Field on July 19, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Suzi Pratt/Getty Images)

Grohl added there was a “particular trauma” to the end of Nirvana that left him wondering if he “ever wanted to play music again”. 

“There was a particular trauma after the end of Nirvana that lasted for a while, but, you know, I think that love of music I had when I was a child eclipsed everything and I realised that music was going to be the thing that would write me out of that depression,” he explained. 

“For a while there I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to play music again. But it came back. And thankfully, just as I had hoped, it healed me.

“To me music has always been about life. It was the thing I most loved about life, more than anything else. After Nirvana I needed it to keep me alive. and it’s the reason why I never stopped.” 

Read more from Dave Grohl in this week’s Big Issue, available through our online shop. You can also sign up for a subscription, buy a digital copy through the Big Issue app or pick it up in your local supermarket