Friday, March 4, 2022

The Storyteller, by Dave Grohl: Genuine, Affable Man Loves Music

The Storyteller is an episodic memoir about Dave Grohl's life, his fascination with music, and his rise to become one of the more recognizable rock stars of all time. Yes, his time in Nirvana and his relationship with Kurt Cobain is in there, but it's not the focus. Rather, the focus is just how much Dave Grohl loves music. My favorite parts of the book are when he is assuring us how gobstopped he is to meet his musical idols, from Iggy Pop to Little Richard to AC/DC, even after he himself has achieved no small measure of fame. It's immensely relatable! 

Here's the thing about this book: If you didn’t know much at all about Dave Grohl, you’d probably read his book as, at best corny and at worst just god-awfully sappy. But instead, because it is Dave Grohl, and because we know music is quite literally his life and that he just seems like an affable, genuine dude, it's pretty easy to love this book. After all, it’s extremely difficult to be cynical about the writer of a book who himself seems to be the antithesis of cynical.

And the man sure can a tell a story! Grohl tells us he definitely wrote this book himself (no ghostwriter!). He explains that when everything shut down in March 2020, he nearly lost his mind because he missed the connections with people. And so he needed something to occupy his time while he couldn't play music. And I believe it! Some of the writing here is just so goofy and earnest, it couldn't have been written by anyone else but Grohl. Here, let me show you:

"I walk through this crazy life of a musician like a little boy in a museum surrounded by the exhibits I've spent a lifetime studying. And when I finally come face-to-face with someone who has inspired me along the way, I am thankful. I am grateful. And take none of it for granted. I am a firm believer in the shared humanity of music...I believe that people are inspired by people. That is why I feel the need to connect with my fans when they approach me. I'm a fan too."

I’ve seen Foo Fighters live twice, and both times they absolutely rocked the joint (the joint, in both cases, was the venerable Wrigley Field). One of those times was during the now-infamous “throne” tour in 2015 — Grohl was confined to a ridiculous throne he designed himself while on pain meds after he broke his leg falling off a stage in Sweden. Still rocked. He talks about this Wrigley show in the Conclusion of this book, and discusses how playing a show at a stadium across the street from where he saw his first ever show (Naked Raygun at Cubbie Bear in 1982) had brought his illustrious career full circle. 

I like Foo Fighters' music well enough, but I would never try to make an argument that they're in the top-tier of rock bands. Still, they're just a really good time. And that's the draw to see them live — or, as my friends are probably tired of hearing me say, I wish I loved anything as much as Dave Grohl loves playing music.

I greatly, greatly enjoyed this book. I mean, there's no way I wouldn't. And it's not just me: Literally every reader I've talked to who's read this has loved it too. You will not be disappointed! Remember: It's times like these we learn to live again.  

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