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metal talk
6th July 2012

dave grohl has published an exclusive in the form of an excerpt from the new book 'This Is A Call: The Life And Times Of Dave Grohl' by Paul Brannigan.

Brannigan, former editor of Kerrang!, describes the moment Dave Grohl broke down during an interview with him. The excerpt is reproduced in full below.

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"September 24, 2009 is a day I'll remember for the rest of my life. That was the day I made Dave Grohl cry.

"Grohl calls it our 'Oprah moment'. The Foo Fighters' frontman and I were in a suite at the Sunset Marquis, an upscale Los Angeles hotel favoured by rock stars, actors, Hollywood 'faces' and flint-eyed wannabes, conducting an interview for MOJO magazine. Three hours had flown by - Grohl is a fabulous raconteur with natural charm and boundless energy, and time spent in his company is always time well spent - but as we began to speak about the "tornado of insanity" which had enveloped his previous band Nirvana in the wake of the phenomenal success of their breakthrough 1991 album Nevermind, the singer's body language began to change. The bounce disappeared from his voice, his anecdotes were delivered haltingly and he began to sink deeper into the suite's soft furniture, until he was almost horizontal on a sofa. By the time our conversation moved on to the tragic suicide of his friend, Nirvana's iconic frontman Kurt Cobain, Grohl had his head in his hands and tears in his eyes. It was perhaps the most raw, painful and honest moment I've shared with an interviewee in 20 years as a writer.

"While piecing together my Dave Grohl biography This Is A Call I felt a certain amount of guilt including this story. Does anyone really need to know about the tears Grohl shed on that autumn afternoon? Possibly not. But my logic for including the anecdote was simple: I wanted to demonstrate that beyond the familiar cliches applied to modern rock's most convincing renaissance man and behind that gleaming, endearingly goofy smile, there exists a genuine, open-hearted, flesh-and-blood human being. Because Grohl's public persona is too often distilled down to one simple, reductive epithet: he is, by common consent, 'The Nicest Man in Rock', a rather meaningless title which has served to render him, in the eyes of the mainstream media at least, as uncomplicated and unthreatening, the 'yang' to Kurt Cobain's brooding, intense, outsider 'yin'. This two dimensional Everyman is, as one music critic once sniffed, 'a simple rock guy in a simple rock band.' But there's more to David Eric Grohl than meets the eye. Even if, up 'til now, Dave himself has been rather loathe to reveal all.

""I don't consider myself a loner," he once told me, "but it's just not important to me to be everyone's best friend. I would consider the two of us to be friends - this is the basis of our relationship, this working thing - but it would take a long time for you to really know me."

"In the eighteen months I spent writing This Is A Call, I thought about that sentence a lot. And in speaking to Dave and some of his best friends - childhood pals, old flames, scene 'players', trusted musical collaborators - during that time, the process of fleshing out the 'real' Dave Grohl has been fascinating. I hope I've done his story justice, because it is a remarkable, inspirational tale, a journey which has taken him from Washington DC's scuzziest rock clubs to the White House itself, punk rock's very own version of the American Dream. Towards the end of 2010 I bumped into Dave in the toilets of a downtown Los Angeles bar. "This isn't the time or place to discuss this," he said with a smile, "but how's the book going?" Nine months later, chatting to him backstage at the second of the Foo Fighters' two epic Milton Keynes Bowl shows, he posed that same question again. I had a PDF copy of the book on my phone that evening and I offered to email it to him there and then. 'That's okay,' he said. 'I trust you.'

"In truth, I don't know what Dave thinks of This Is A Call as I've not bumped into him since the book was published. But I know that he'll tell me one day, when the dust has settled. That story is as yet unwritten. But it'll have to go some to eclipse my memories of that autumn 2009 afternoon in West Hollywood."

Published by HarperCollins you can buy 'This Is A Call: The Life And Times Of Dave Grohl' from Amazon by clicking here.


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