Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dave Grohl: This is a Call

The first "Buzz Cut" I remember seeing on MTV was Smells Like Teen Spirit. At the time I was at loss. I couldn't decide if it was the dumbest thing I'd ever seen or pure genius. I decided to reserve my judgment until I listened to it more. I didn't have to wait long. The new "Buzz Cut" slot was a heavy rotation promotional position. I think I saw the video about 30 times that weekend. I decided that the music had a raw visceral power and a catchy melody despite its sometimes inscrutable lyrics, and by the time Nirvana's next video, In Bloom, came out there was no disputing the band's tongue in cheek sense of humor.

Someone recently gave me a copy of This is a Call: The life and times of Dave Grohl. The book itself tends to meander a bit (I could almost see talking about Metallica a little as a demonstration of the potential for cross over hits, but Warrior Soul? Really!?), but it seems pretty thorough. There are tons of interviews with a lot of different people.

I've learned a few things though. I hadn't realized before that Dave grew up near DC. He actually played music in the same circle of people as the Dischord Records crew. I knew that he played drums for a band called Scream, but I hadn't heard of Scream anywhere else before and didn't know they were affiliated with Dischord. In fact, he even turned down an offer from Ian MacKaye to play drums for what was to become Fugazi!

Also, after Dave's first tour with Nirvana he lived with Kurt next door to Martin apartments. Martin apartments was somewhat of the hub of the Olympia music/art scene where "[e]veryone was in a bad, everyone crafted, everyone had a fanzine, everyone was everyone else's biggest fans... even when they were not." Among the residents of the sixteen to twenty apartments next door, were Calvin Johnson of K Records and Slim Moon of Kill Rock Stars. Slim Moon on the Olympia scene at the time:
"To people from other parts of the country, people in Olympia might have seemed a little naive. But they were Peter Pans who were pushing each other to do shit. People pushed each other to excel, to make art, to be in bands, to put on shows, whatever, to do their own thing and not just be consumers."
This ties in nicely with my theory of consumerism: that creativity is the antithesis to consumption. Consumption like an addiction takes a bigger and bigger dose to get the same effect and leaves you less satisfied. Conversely, practicing creative endeavours makes you more competent and helps you feel more satisfied.

Is there more to say about the book? There's always more to say, but I haven't finished reading it yet. Hopefully, there won't be any more horrible detours like Warrior Soul.

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