Dave Grohl is myopic, and today's Grammy 'clarification' proves it - Reverb

The Dave Grohl apology: Backpedaling hits breakneck speeds!

Earlier today, music PR company Nasty Little Man issued a “clarification” note from Dave Grohl’s Grammy acceptance speech, a long-winded, self-serving bit of egomania that took over-explanation and backpedaling to new and dizzying speeds.

Why? Because Grohl’s acceptance speech riled many critics and fans with its implications that drums ‘n guitar music is the only real way to enlightenment, or that he was one of the few musicians keeping it real whilst bobbing in a sea of pixels and Auto-Tuned vocals.

“Rather than go to the best studio in the world down the street in Hollywood and rather than use all of the fanciest computers that money can buy, we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine…” he said during the Grammys. “To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do.”

Among various angry responses, an L.A. Weekly blog called the speech straight-up “bullshit,” generating nearly 350 comments in a little over four days.

Look, we’ve always loved the Muppet-faced Foo Fighters front man for his “don’t do drugs, kids!” enthusiasm and legit creative credentials (and we’re not just talking Nirvana here). But we couldn’t help but find today’s missive to be transparent image-tending — regardless of the fact that it tried to play itself off as tongue-in-cheek.

So, in Mr. Grohl’s honor, we’re proposing a number of further steps he could take to make nice with the electronic music world and restore the honor and integrity that the drummer of songs like “Milk It” deserves.

Dave Grohl + Skrillex
Grohl openly declares his love for the white-hot hair-disaster Skrillex in today’s “clarification” by writing, “I don’t know how to do what Skrillex does (though I fucking love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that’s badass.”

Dude, we have a few ideas how he does it, and most of them involve 1s and 0s. Why don’t you bust out your best Phil Collins/Rapture drum machine and help juice up some tracks from “Bangarang”? We have a feeling the dubstep goodness would only get dubbier if the beats were being triggered by someone with tree-trunk arms.

Dave Grohl + Josh Groban
Far be it from us to say that a killer singing voice is a prerequisite to great music. From Bob Dylan to Stephen Malkmus (and, ahem, Joanna Newsom) less-than-appealing voices often communicate more in their cracks, deficiencies and annoying high pitches than an opera star can in a lifetime. So when Grohl wrote, “Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell… I’m not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really fucking hard so that I don’t have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me,” well, we couldn’t help but think that a Groban collaboration was overdue.

We know Groban would be game for it, having shown his unexpectedly cool sense of humor on “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” So why not pit Grohl’s “authentic” voice against Groban’s lilting perfection and see who comes out on top? Then again, maybe that’s not such a good idea, since Grohl often sounds like a Scott Stapp imitator while singing live and benefits as much as anyone (if not more) from studio overdubs and multiple takes.

Dave Grohl + Kraftwerk
According to this morning’s “clarification,” Grohl loves all kinds of music (and he capitalizes ALL, so you know he’s not fucking around). “From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to Deadmau5… I love music… The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician’s personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and… human.”

Now that German electro-pioneers Kraftwerk have announced an April residency at MoMA, we encourage Grohl to stop in and guest on a few tracks to prove that love. Since, you know, the POINT of Kraftwerk was to take the human element out of music as a means of commenting on our increasingly meshed electronic milieu. Just think: Grohl singing through a vocoder on famous tracks from “Trans-Europe Express,” or lightly plinking tinny keyboard notes with his fingerless-gloved paws during “Autobahn.” The possibilities are endlessly boring.

When all is said and done after the coming robot revolution, maybe we’ll still have Grohl’s embalmed head to tell us which of the Madonna-bots looks best on the Super Bowl DCCVII halftime show. Until then, let’s all be thankful for the Interwebs, PR companies and the pulpit that Mr. Grohl enjoys. Otherwise, we’d be in danger of forming our own opinions about what he says and taking him at face value.

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John Wenzel is an A&E reporter and digital media editor for The Denver Post and the author of “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” (Speck Press/Fulcrum). Follow him @johntwenzel and @beardsandgum.

  • kendall

    man, that was good.

  • Musicmojo7

    I have read this blog and can’t find any spec of an actual “point”, other than that you hate Dave Grohl.  Did he bully you in 3rd grade or something?  Nothing wrong with someone defending Rock and Roll music, and reminding the auto-tune nation that good music involves real instruments, voices and passion..  of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

      Totally agreed.

  • http://twitter.com/ultramanj Jeremy Juliano

    John Wenzel, why don’t you stick to the facts and leave your opinions out of the article. I never took Grohl’s speech to be against electronic music but more as opinion that he thinks a lot of the artists sharing that stage aren’t musicians or even entertainers, they are simply product placement. I think Chris Brown and Rhianna proved his point more than his words actually.

    For you to make snide and catty comments in a story reporting Grohl’s clarification is unprofessional and pointless to readers who, A: want to know what Dave said and B: have no idea who you are and care less about your opinion. If you want weigh in on something maybe it is time to head over to the review section.

    • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

      Did I misstate any facts? And yes, a lot of pop music is terrible product placement.

  • Musicmojo7

    I just read the L.A. Weekly blog you referenced and the “nearly 350 comments it generated in a little over four days”…

    The fact that you reference this in your blog, further diminishes your credibility because you failed to mention that overwhelmingly the 350 people commenting were calling
    the LA Weekly blog writer a moron, and siding with Dave Grohl. 

    • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

       Where did I write that they were all angry responses?

      • Musicmojo7

        It was implied..  “Among various angry responses, an L.A. Weekly blog called the speech straight-up “bullshit,” generating nearly 350 comments in a little over four days.”

  • Ian O

    Sorry John, I also don’t see your point.
    You – and many others – missed the fact that Foo Fighters collaborated with deadmau5 on the show.
    His speech was clearly against auto-tune, not against non-rock genres.

    How does the clarification prove he is myopic? The title was never addressed.

    • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

      His speech was clearly against Auto-Tune, yes. But what you (and these other commenters) are failing to see is that I’m criticizing his have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too backpedaling, not his original statement.

      • Sean

        If that was your intent, I think you missed the mark.  Your critique spun away from that point pretty badly.  You say he backpedaled, and then you state that he felt he needed to backpedal because fans and critics were incensed by his speech. You then spiral into a missive about how Mr. Grohl needs to work with one of the three examples that you’ve selected from those he listed in his clarification, in order to rehab his image.  You close by insinuating that Dave Grohl shouldn’t be telling us what to think of his statement (certainly that is something that should be reserved for the likes of John Wenzel) even though people clarify their statements all the time.  The clarification was because many people did not take the speech as a critique of Auto-Tune, they took it as a critique of all electronic music, thus a clarification was an appropriate step.

        • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

          Well, again: I’m not criticzing what he originally said. I’m pointing out that 99.9 percent of other awards acceptance speeches aren’t followed by a highly public “Don’t be mad at me!” clarification stuffed with high school poetry-quality platitudes that essentially back away from the original statement for fear of offense or misinterpretation.

      • Ian O

        For the record, I am not a fan of Foo Fighters, nor am I pissed off.
        I just don’t understand the article, title, or your reply.

        Grohl isn’t backpedaling. He made his statement clearly the first time.

        I think you are getting reactions to this article because it is a strange thing to not see Grohl as a genuine human and a genuine musician. He’s not an exceptional musician (though he has been nominated for 25 Grammys and won 11), but at least he is the real deal.

        • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

          I beg to differ. If he had made his statement clearly the first time, why the need to “clarify” it? (His words, not mine). And I agree: compared to the majority of people making Grammy-winning music, he is the real deal. But he’s not unique in that, and it didn’t insulate him from his near-sightedness on the national stage (i.e. myopia) that led him to pen the sort of drivel he released this morning. Had he looked a little further down the line he would have let this die instead of feeding it.

          • Ian O

            I appreciate this response.
            I agree that the clarification was not well-written. It should have read “I like both electronic and acoustic music. I don’t like Auto-Tune and I am proud not to use it.”

            Because he now represents the only band on that level that didn’t use Auto-Tune or Pro Tools to win a Grammy, I respectfully suggest that he was not being near-sighted. He wants future musicians to play real instruments, be able to play a song the whole way through, be able to sing the words – and most importantly – to be ok with the fact that it isn’t perfect. He wants real music to exist in the future.
            Doesn’t seem like myopia to me.

          • http://www.heyreverb.com/ John Wenzel

            Well, obviously my piece was a humorous outgrowth from his kernel of truth, but again, I thought the clarification was myopic, not the original statement. Either way, thanks for reading and the spirited debate!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jenny-Penny/100002296812606 Jenny Penny

    Why is he apologizing Skrillex is terrible.

  • http://twitter.com/MRealChillSteel Milten Steel

    I got the idea that Dave was saying that what he and the Foo Fighters do, and Rock in general, still matters.  It still pays off  to pick up an instrument and play it.  Computers are often more accessible, and I’m not saying making electronic computer music isn’t hard, but it may seem easier to young artists these days.  Dave was just reminding us that what he does is important too.  If it wasn’t, then all we would get is computer music.  And that would suck for those of us who agree with Mr. Grohl.