Melody Maker 97

Dave Grohl waltzes us through his formative years.

1) B-52s; 'B-52s'
"This was the first thing to really grab me. Those guitars! Two strings! How cool! Those drums! Slap slap slap! Dead easy! The women looked like they were from out outer space and everything was linked in - the sleeves, the sound, the clothes, the iconography, the logo, everything. I think when your a kid, that's what you're after, a real unified feel to a band, and thats what the B-52s offered. Their songs were so easy to learn, they got me into playing really easily. This was definitely the first thing after Kiss or Rush that totally absorbed me like that."

"Once again, when your a kid, the first thing that you look for is this singular style, the feeling that this band have been beamed from some parallel universe. Devo were like that. Everyone in my year at school wanted to be in Devo, they were these aliens you really wanted to know, really wanted to be part of. Plus they were from Ohio, which is where I'm from, and it was really inspirational not only to have a band take New York by storm from Ohio, but also for them to be that far out, recreate themselves that much. Plus their songs were dead simple to learn. They kinda made me start playing drums."

"I was living in DC in the early eighties and got into the hardcore scene but nobody else blew me away as much as Bad Brains. I'll say it now, I have never ever, ever, ever, ever seen a band do anything even close to what Bad Brains used to do live. Seeing Bad Brains live was, without a doubt, always one of the most intense, powerful experiences you could ever have. They were just, oh God, words fail me, incredible. They were connected in a way I'd never seen before. They made me absolutely determined to become a musician, they basically changed my life, and changed the lives of everyone who saw them."
"Rage Against The Machine are about the only band who get near to them, but evern they aren't in the same league. Bad Brains are one of those bands that everyone who's ever heard them has come away with a real extreme reaction, either love or hate. I loved 'em. The fact that there were four black guys, coming on to a predominately white scene that they then just surpassed and destroyed with every thing they did, just staggerd you. The studio albums are great, but for me 'R.O.I.R', this unofficial bootleg, comes closest to capturing their live sound on tape. Awesome."

"I could list, like 50 fucking hardcore albums but I don't know if I wanna do that. If I have to name one that came after Bad Brains it'd be this one. This is the album where Scream went from being a hardcore band into being a rock band. They sounded like Aerosmith I loved that. They were also from Virginia. I had roots in Virginia...they lived near to me, but I wasn't sure where and I loved the fact that I could be walking past them every day without knowing it. I liked the fact that they had long hair, that they weren't straight edge, that they played this kinda hard-rock/hardcore thing. It made me realise there was a place for me making music, even though this was long before I joined any bands. Was I a straight-edger? Nah. I was getting fucked up all the time."

"Some LP's really coincide with certain changes in your life. Round about '85, my friend Bobby was the first person we knew to get a CD playerand the first CD he got was 'Houses Of The Holy'. This coincided nicely with the start of my love affair with marijuana. We ended up throwing on 'Houses Of The Holy', like every fucking Friday. We'd turn into the saddest musos in the world cos we'd never heard anything on CD before -'hey you can really hear his snare in this speaker!', 'hey you can hear John Bonham sniff in this speaker'. Jesus.'

"Who the fuck were they? Call yourself a journalist? Mission Of Burma were from Boston, totally amazing, powerful, loud, one of the later hardcore bands who just totally changed the template, like Rites Of Spring. I guess nowdays this'd be called emo-core; back then it was just an incredible thing to hear a hard core band playing this kind of music. Really inspirational."

"This is about '87, Amsterdam. I discovered the Melvins on record and at first I hated every minute of it, couldn't get it at all, didn't know if I had the record on at the right speed. Both speeds started to sound fine eventually, I fell in love with them. Alot of it's to do with the drums, a lot to do with the production, a lot to do with the fact I'd never heard music that slow before, never ealised that you didn't have to be fast to be powerful. And their arrangments were just incredible, mathamatic. Their arrangments were more like fucking trigonometry. An American classic."

"This is just the most beautiful record I've ever heard. It's so gentle and tender and totally totally mournful. Some records can bring back whole experiences to you; smells, sights, sounds, tastes. This one recalls the time I'd first moved to Olympia, Washington with Kurt, and it was the first place I'd ever been were it could just rain for like, two whole weeks. This LP really reminds me of my first few months there, getting used to things."

"A lot of Pixies purists would probably pick 'Surfer Rosa' cos it was produced by Steve Albini, and they still seemed to be having fun, but for me 'Trompe Le Monde' is just incredible. I love it for the way you can hear the band falling apart, getting scattered, shooting off in a million different directions. Because of that it's their most extreme LP: the noisiest, the quietest, the poppiest, the weirdest. Gil Norton said he hated working on it, but it's because of that LP that we used him on 'The Colour And The Shape'."

"It's weird, as soon as you mention Kyuss, those in the know just sigh in nostalgia, like you did just then. Fuck, what an amazing album. Four guys from the desert, mushroom-eating, toad-licking, psychopaths. This was just a terrifiying record, and again, beamed in from nowhere, just about the heaviest, druggiest record ever made. I fucking love this album, I take this everywhere I go."

"I just can't get enough of Atari Teenage Riot. Anyone looking for the new punk should look no further. This has just about the greatest lyrics I've heard in years, total attitude, total commitment, total insanity. If I was 13 I'd dream about a band like ATR. I think they're gonna be huge."

"Oh fuck! I haven't picked any Husker Du! Jeez, that's unforgivable. If I had to pick one LP, it'd be 'Zen Arcade'. This is a triple LP that they recorded in about 48 hours. They just took acid, stayed up for two days, and turned out this fucking incredible album. Once again, it's a hardcore band who've started writing pop songs, even folk songs, and this LP captures such an incredible recording moment,such a rush of genius, you get the feeling it could never be repeated again."