Nirvana: Dave Grohl talks about their origins, the music and the myths

NME 2002

"When Nirvana became popular it was just funny. To me, it seemed hilarious. How come it didn't happen to The Smithereens? Why didn't it happen to Husker Du? Why didn't it happen to fucking Jane's Addiction, who were fucking huge, what's the difference? Weird."
  "When it comes to music it's a question of your ambition or your intention or motivation. None of us were primed to be rock stars. We grew up listening to independent bands within our own city and digging punk rock and digging what they called college rock at the time, in the early/mid-80s, so there wasn't any room for egos or rock stars. It was just a fucking bar scene. And a local independent record label. It just didn't make sense, none of that stuff made sense. So when you wind up in a situation where we are now, it's laughable in so many ways."

When you look at the tracklisting for the greatest hits, what do you see?
"Well when I see song titles or hear them on the radio they bring me back to the particular place it was recorded, or that time in my life. Just as music spurs memories in everyone, you're emotionally connected to it, so I'm emotionally invested into all of those songs, I look at the tracklisting and think, 'Oh, that's interesting, that's a nice sequence, oh god I remember which drums I used on that, oh that's the day that we had to take that flight that almost fucking crashed on the way to San Francisco, that was at the studio down the street from my house...' Just ridiculous shit."

Is the legend of Nirvana justified in your eyes?
"The legend? Naaah. Growing up, believing in music that was made by your friends and your mates at the pub, it was hard to buy into some sort of... iconic idolatry."

Do you sometimes think, 'We were great!'?
"Well, yeah! I mean, I listen to the music and think we were a pretty cool band. But fuck, do I think that it's worth any of the... legendary status that people seem to believe in? No. It's just a band. It's funny how things play out that way. It's always the ones that die young we remember for some reason. And I've come to the conclusion that the reason why a lot of musicians' early demises hold such interest is because it leaves people with too many questions. You're just left with some sort of question mark. And it lasts forever."