‘Storyteller’ reveals regular guy Grohl (Book Review)

Dave Grohl by Stephen Eckert Flickr 1

I’ll be honest – I was not a huge Nirvana fan back when they first hit it big.  I only learned of Dave Grohl when he started The Foo Fighters and, even then, I wasn’t a “fan.” 

Then, the pandemic hit.  Like so many, I was working from home, saw more daytime TV, and stayed up to watch more late night TV.  Dave Grohl was everywhere: on Kelly Clarkson, Good Morning America,  Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and SNL.  

I was intrigued – and then I read his  autobiography, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music. I truly fell in love with him.  

Grohl, I learned, is a dedicated family person.  He checks in with his mom often, even when on tour.  He made a commitment to his daughters that he’d make it to all the important events like Daddy Daughter Dances, even if he had to travel across the world twice in three days.  

He loves his friends like family, including Kurt Cobain. Taylor Hawkins, the Foo Fighters’ late drummer, appears even more often in the book. As Dave writes, he and Taylor were more like brothers.

What also stands out from this book is how Grohl never felt as though he fit in. Even around kids with which he grew up, Grohl recalls, he felt an “otherness” and wondered what was wrong with him.  Reading Grohl share about his isolation triggered such empathy for those around me.

I realized how many must feel the same: that they aren’t “normal,” whether because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, skin color their interest (or lack of it) in certain sports/hobbies. For example, how hard is it for kids and people who have no interest in sports, in a country that is obsessed with sports?  

Luckily for Grohl, he had a supportive parent who allowed him to be himself: his mother. Her only expectations of him were that he be good at whatever he chose to do.  She didn’t even define what “being good” meant, but left that up to him to figure out. 

Not everyone has that kind of supportive person available to them, and I find myself trying to remember this more often. I listen more carefully and try to really hear what people are saying.  I try not to push my expectations on to others, but to accept them for who they are.  This especially applies to my kids.  I’m sure any of you who are parents can relate to this challenge!  

Dave Grohl shows us in this book that he’s just like us, the “weird guy” next door.  That he had difficult times but kept focusing on what he loves.  And even more touching, he never stops appreciating those around him. This is best illustrated by Grohl’s comments in the book, about “why people mean so much to me.”

“People inspire people, and over the years they have all become part of my DNA,” he writes. “I still walk through this life like a little boy in a museum, surrounded by the exhibits I’ve spent a lifetime studying, and when I finally come face-to-face with something or someone that has inspired me along the way, I am thankful.  I am grateful.”

(cover photo by Stephen Eckert, Flickr)

cathy chavez head shot 1
Author Cathy Chavez is a lifelong reader, longtime book club member, and administrator with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ medical degree program. You can reach her at [email protected]

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