Dave Grohl: "I was afraid that Nirvana would fire me"

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty)

Dave Grohl has opened up about his time behind the drum kit in Nirvana, stating that he was afraid of joining the long list of ex-Nirvana drummers through being fired. Grohl revealed his fear of being rejected from the band during an interview with Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson, which will airs 4 July at 3pm BST.

He told Wilkinson, “When I joined Nirvana I was their fifth drummer, right? They'd had a team of drummers before me and some of them were more in the band than others. So when I joined, I didn't know Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain at all."

"When we first met and started playing, it was clear that it worked really well, and we sounded what most people know now to sound like Nirvana. But you just meet these people and then it wasn't long... it was almost exactly a year from the time I joined to the time Nevermind came out. Once it came out, it was like, things happen so quickly. 

You're just so nervous that you're going to either get fired or it's going to stop. I didn't want to get fired basically. And so I was doing my best to keep this thing from going away. So there was this real insecurity that I had, ‘I’m not good enough. They're going to find somebody else."

Grohl also talks about Foo Fighters’ debut album (released 25 years ago on 4 July), noting the pressures of transitioning from the drum stool to the front of the stage. 

“Coming out and standing, I mean, I'd been sitting on a drum stool for so long that, 'Oh my God. Now I have to stand in front of people.' And, 'How does my body move? What do I say in between songs?'. These are the things that go through your head, and if you're not feeling it or you don't have that connection or confidence, it can be fucking terrifying. And, I mean, it was for eight years or 10 years or so. It took a long time for me."

He adds that if he were able to go back, he would dedicate the album to his Nirvana bandmates.

“I mean, it should be a lot of people but I would dedicate it to Krist and Kurt. I can't say it's the most important event in my entire life, but it's safe to say that we wouldn't be here right now talking about this if it weren't for my time in Nirvana. 

"I had learned so many lessons from Kurt, I learned so many lessons from Krist. It was such an honour to be in that band and it was so devastating when it ended.”

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.