As you might know, Dave Grohl is a good at a lot of stuff.
With Nirvana, he proved himself one of the best rock drummers in the world. Then, he became one of rock's best frontmen with the Foo Fighters.
Just this week, he's shown he can direct a movie ("Sound City") and give a compelling keynote address, which he did today at SXSW in Austin.
Grohl starts at the very beginning -- being born in Warren, Ohio -- and takes us through the stages of his musical development, from the song that changed his life (Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" on a K-Tel record), to playing drums on pillows "until there was sweat dripping down the Rush posters on my walls" to his cousin Tracy turning him onto punk rock on a family visit to Chicago.
The most tweeted moment came during his discussion of Nirvana's success and how guilt can eat a person up. He urged people to free themselves from the tyranny of other people's opinions in this priceless rant that includes a jab at Pitchfork (which gave his last, Grammy-nominated album a 6.4 out of 10):
"F--- guilty pleasure. How bout just pleasure? he said. "I can truthfully say out loud that 'Gangnam Style' is one of my favorite f---ing songs of the past decade. It is. Is it any better or worse than the latest Atoms for Peace album? Hmmm. If only we had a celebrity panel of judges to determine that for us. What would J-Lo do? Paging Pitchfork. Come in, come in. Pitchfork. We need you to determine the value of a song. [long pause] Who f---ing cares? Who's to say what's a good voice and what's not a good voice ... 'The Voice'? Imagine Bob Dylan standing there singing 'Blowing in the Wind' in front of Christina Aguilera. [mimicking her voice] 'Mmm, I think you sound a little nasally and sharp.' It's your voice, cherish it, respect it, nurture it, challenge it, stretch it, scream it until it's f---ing gone, because everyone's blessed with at least that. And who knows how long it's going to last."
The somber ending there refers to Cobain, of whom he said, "When Kurt died, I was lost, I was numb. The music that I had devoted my life to had now betrayed me. I had no voice."
For a while, he cast music aside, but at some point, it came bursting out of him in the form of that first Foo Fighters album. And now the Foos carry the torch for the straight-up rock band.
There's a lot to savor in this speech, including the last part about turning his young daughters on to the Beatles. They're just 3 and 6, but somehow he dared to leave them in a room together for a half-hour with a turntable and his new copy of the complete Beatles vinyl box set.
OK, so maybe he's not the smartest guy in the world.
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