I was a teenager when Nirvana broke into the mainstream with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” back in 1991. With an impressionable mind, I happily joined the legions of plaid-shirt/painter-pants-wearing kids claiming to be depressed and bucking the status quo.
It was an amazing time: the music industry was turned on its head, kids began expressing existentialist ideas, and we finally had a voice to call our own after being force fed our Baby Boomer parents’ idols since birth. In addition to a voice, we also had a sound, a genre, and a subculture. It was a counter-culture movement not seen since the Vietnam anti-war era of the ‘60s, and it was ours.
At the forefront of this “alternative” scene was Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, along with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic. There’s no doubt that Cobain was the hero of the day and it was tragic when he took his own life in 1994, but in doing so he secured his place in’s pantheon of greats. His death also catapulted Nirvana’s legacy into the stratosphere, and now nobody can say anything bad about the band or Cobain. Well, I’m here to try.
Yes, Nirvana was huge prior to 1994. And thanks to Cobain’s death they became legend and bigger than ever after 1994. I don’t think, however, that their success would have continued if Cobain had kept on keeping on. More like they would have slipped into our memories like Guns N’ Roses has.
While Cobain wrote some great songs (and they still hold up today), Nirvana’s true talent sat behind the kit – Dave Grohl. Besides appearing to be a truly genuine guy, there are many ways that Dave Grohl eclipses Kurt Cobain – here are five.
5. Grohl Is A Multi-Instrumentalist
How many instruments a band member plays does not gauge his talent, but it is a barometer to how musical he is. I have no doubt that Cobain played more than just the guitar, but when a band’s drummer is a better guitarist than its lead guitarist, it’s likely that you don’t play drums very well. And when said drummer moves on to front his own band as vocalist and lead guitarist, well…
Calling Kurt Cobain a great guitarist is like praising mediocrity. I can barely play guitar and can hear the powerchord simplicity of Cobain’s playing. Cobain was, at best, a great melody maker.
Dave Grohl plays drums, guitar, bass, and piano. That alone doesn’t equate to being more talented than Cobain, but Grohl plays these instruments (at least two of them better than his late bandmate) well enough to record a full album.
4. Grohl Would Have Made It Without Nirvana
After Cobain’s death, Grohl went on to record a Foo Fighters’ demo. He played all the instruments, and shopped the demo around the old-fashioned way — through cassette trading. With his identity hidden, Grohl attracted major label attention.
I feel that Cobain, on the other hand, was in the right band, at the right place, in the right time. In other words, dumb luck.
Since the success of the Foo Fighters, Grohl has gone on to start or be a part of a number of other projects and to perform with a number of legends.
So, we have three more reasons why Dave Grohl eclipses Kurt Cobain after the jump…