Memoir tells of turbulent past

March 28, 2012
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This is a Call: the life and times of Dave Grohl, by Paul Brannigan (HarperCollins, RRP $40):

Back in 1990, when Dave Grohl joined a little-known band as the new drummer, few people would have expected the band was about to explode into the global phenomenon that was Nirvana.

Grohl is a bloke who has seems to have experienced every extreme life can offer: highs and lows from selling more than 40 million albums to seeing a close friend commit suicide.

When Kurt Cobain took his own life, I’m sure most expected that his band mates would wander off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.

After all, if we’re to believe half of what had been written about the band, Cobain was a musical genius like no other.

But Grohl wasn’t ready to quit the music business, as the rise and rise of the Foo Fighters proves.

Music journalist Paul Brannigan had the good fortune of getting the opportunity to write this memoir, and his observations show a man who is focused, driven, talented and passionate: a man who joins/ starts supergroups and comes across as a genuine nice guy.

He has known Grohl for 15 years, and that professional friendship gives the book credibility.

This is a Call traces the history of punk rock in the United States, following a young Grohl as he started out in his earliest bands before joining Nirvana.

From there, it’s a roller-coaster ride of excitement, drama and tragedy and Grohl’s music career goes from Nirvana, to Cobain’s death, to the Foo Fighters as a headline act at stadiums.

The author also gives a decent write-up to Grohl’s band mates, which makes for interesting reading.

There are plenty of anecdotes and juicy gossip, but this also is a fascinating look at the evolution of American punk and a man who seems to be well liked by everyone he deals with.

Even if you are not a huge fan of the Foos (but seriously, what’s not to like?), I recommend this book as a great read. Although, once you pick it up you won’t want to put it down.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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