Dave Grohl Praises Meg White’s Drumming In New Interview
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dave Grohl talked about his new Sound City documentary and praised Meg White’s drumming abiltiies.
On being a drummer and the happy medium between digital and analog: “You use either of those things to capture yourself. Not to manipulate it, not to change it, not to get away from the artist or the person that you are. It’s a sensitive subject for any drummer, because the drummers that have changed the world have all had really definite personality, and that personality comes from all of their imperfections. You listen to John Bonham, and his feel was not metronomic, but it was legendary. Keith Moon played like he was on fire. He was a wild drummer. He was sloppy and he was fuckin’ frenetic and manic, but that’s the Who. Stewart Copeland, his tempo would fuckin’ blast off like the space shuttle, but that’s the Police. Nowadays, I think it could be hard for a kid to find a favorite drummer, because a lot of that personality is being robbed from these musicians for the sake of perfection, and it’s kind of a drag. It’s nice to hear drummers like Meg White – one of my favorite fucking drummers of all time. Like, nobody fuckin’ plays the drums like that. Or the guy from the Black Keys. Watch that guy play the drums – it’s crazy. The dude from Vampire Weekend. Like, if any of those people went to the Berklee School of Music they’d never be accepted, because they’re not considered technically proficient. But their music’s totally changed the world.”
On why musicians don’t take risks like they used to: “That’s a long conversation. Part of the intention of the Sound City movie is to show that music is something that’s very human and there’s no right or wrong. When you’re watching the performances, you see these legends in a really vulnerable place. You see Paul McCartney asking advice from Butch Vig. You see Stevie Nicks saying, “No, no, stop, I fucked up.” These are things that you might not imagine because you’re used to the icon, and you’re used to the album being so perfect or pristine. Modern production has made it so that music almost seems inhuman. And I think that it’s not something to aspire to. Like, you should aspire to the opposite of that. How can I get more real? How can I get more fucked up? How can I get more emotion out of my voice? How can I get my voice to crack? How can the tempo speed up to bring some tension to the music? Rather than, how do I play perfectly on the beat or how do I sing perfectly in tune? Every musician should focus on the craft and really be as good as they can be, but the goal, I don’t think, is perfection. So if you listen to a song like “Helter Skelter” and give it to the guy that produces Ke$ha records and say, “Hey, do you think this is a hit?” What the fuck do you think that guy would say? “Um, it’s out of tune, it’s out of time, the lyrics aren’t catching me.” I think the reason why that song is so amazing is because of how it makes you feel. It has a vibe, and it has a vibe because it’s fuckin’ people.”
On how he ended up at Sound City: “I don’t remember. I think that Nirvana had signed with the David Geffen Company and they gave us . . . maybe $100,000 to make, or $60,000 to make a record. And rather than just send us a check to Seattle, they decided they wanted us to come to L.A. so they could keep an eye on us. We couldn’t afford one of the fancy places downtown, so we found out about this place that had an old Neve board. None of us had ever been there before.”