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The Storyteller: Foo Fighters’ David Grohl shares his life as a rock superstar | Books | Entertainment


There’s a wide-eyed charm to even his rare flirtations with the misbehaviours more typical of his profession. In 2000, when he was arrested on a drink-driving charge, he was piloting a scooter. This is one of many anecdotes wryly, and occasionally movingly, related by Grohl in this thoroughly entertaining memoir.

He navigates the reader from his childhood in suburban Virginia where he was raised by his single mum, also Virginia, through Nirvana’s short, turbulent reign and on to playing at the White House for two American presidents, George W Bush and Barack Obama. His tone remains unwavering: good-natured, self-deprecating and eternally positive. He reads as if he’s bouncing on the spot. It’s impossible not to be won over by him.

There are darker, troubled elements to his story. Notably, the shocking suicide of his Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain, an event that “struck somewhere deep within me”, which he’s clearly still processing, and the physical and emotional absence of his father James. Grohl’s parents divorced when he was seven and his mother was left to raise him and his older sister Lisa on her teacher’s salary. On both subjects, he’s honest and unflinching.

With the flair of a natural raconteur, Grohl broadly makes the job of a rock superstar out to be tremendous fun. He tells one terrific story of arranging a post-Grammys dinner. Grohl and wife Jordyn planned to host Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy in a quiet corner of their favourite LA restaurant. But McCartney bumped into hard-rockers AC/DC in his hotel and invited them along. Soon enough, Grohl had added to the guest list the 10-strong Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans. On the night, the New Orleans musicians paraded down the street and into the restaurant in full dress uniform, playing a thunderous march, and a raucous dinner for 20 ensued.

“Reality —seemed so far away after such a magical evening,” Grohl concludes.

But his idea of rock star excess is to interrupt an Australian tour to fly back to LA for a single day to chaperone his young daughters to their Daddy-Daughter school dance.

“I held back tears as I saw my little ones having the night of their lives,” he writes. Sometimes, the good guys do win.

  • The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, David Grohl, Simon & Schuster, £20



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