As I was watching Mudhoney the other night, I kept thinking how when Nirvana was looking for a drummer as they made their move to DGC, they used the Melvins’ Dale Crover and Mudhoney’s Dan Peters on a couple of recordings. Crover did not want to leave the Melvins, while Peters was willing to commit to full-time Nirvana work. It appeared this brilliant drummer was going to be the guy until for some reason Curt went with another brilliant drummer, Dave Grohl.
As Dan Peters made his signature muscular and creative moves for Mudhoney, I kept thinking that if Nirvana had just stayed with the ‘bird in the hand’ who by all accounts is a decent guy and a fine musical anchor, then we would not have had the July 4th RFK stadium with our local star coming out on his self designed guitar throne (thankfully when he designed it, he apparently knew how to put ‘ instead of “ for the measurements on the napkin).
And while Dave Grohl is a perfectly good guy, aside from his band’s photo policy apparently, there is one thing that has long bothered me as it was passed around on Facebook with the support and plaudits that are not really deserved the more I thought about it. While I agree with Dave Grohl in having little use for American Idol and only watched one season just to make I sure I knew what I was avoiding; I think that Grohl makes a rather ridiculous point here. Allow me to list his quote below with my comments in red.
“When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice, then they think, ‘Oh, OK, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight fucking hours with 800 people at a convention center and… then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not fuckin’ good enough.’ Can you imagine?” he implores. Yes, it is called critiquing a performance, something that has gone on since the beginning of performance and kind of like you are doing with a TV show here. “It’s destroying the next generation of musicians! Exactly how? There is no evidence of this. There has been this style of performance in a competitive form for many years throughout the world. Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy and old fucking drum set and get in their garage and just suck. I’m ok with this and encourage it as well. Additionally, based on the club scene, I see no evidence that this is going away any time soon. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll fucking start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Oh, so that is how it works. Just like that! Just as there are thousands of people in line who dream of becoming Carrie Underwood, every garage band goes on to become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana. Just a bunch of guys that had some shitty old instruments and they got together and started playing some noisy-ass shit, and they became the biggest band in the world. Of course that did happen while you were on another coast, until you headed west with Scream and got the Nirvana gig because you were talented (after sucking in your garage band) and connected with the right people at the right time. That can happen again! Of course it can, do you really think American Idol has prevented this? You don’t need a fucking computer or the internet or The Voice or American Idol.” - Dave Grohl Nor do you ‘need’ Dave Grohl’s dimestore advice on how to become rich, famous, critically acclaimed or however else you want to describe Nirvana.
Yeah, I know his point is just to play an instrument and have fun and see what happens. That is done all the time and should have been the extent of his advice. Why should he rip on all the positive experiences and fun times other people have expressing themselves in another manner that he does not like. When I go to see someone in the clubs, I see bands that have come straight from their garage one night, someone from Berklee the next night, and someone who won a battle of the bands contest at some point in their life on the following night. All of these bands have been featured on this blog and music fans of all ages have seen all this and much much more. DC bands and the musical world does not need DC ROCK LIVE. But if you want to write for me, or start your own blog, or go to journalism school and work for a big time publication, or win some creative writing contest, then go for it. There will be more gained through this diversity than with one formula.