Published On July 13, 2013 | By Brett Buchanan | Featured, Foo Fighters, Grunge Report, Nirvana

Foo Fighters frontman/former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl gave advice to young musicians in a new 90 minute interview on Off Camera:

“Just play live. Honestly, if you’re good at what you do people will recognize that. I really believe it, I really believe that going out playing good songs live as a great live band will make you successful. I really think it will, it doesn’t matter if you’re at the shithole down the street or your on the side stage at Bonaroo or you’re headlining Lollapalooza. If you’re a great band with great songs people will notice it. That’s it, that’s all it is, it’s that simple. Fuck product placement and fuckin labels and A&R people and all that bullshit, it doesn’t fuckin matter, I swear to God, it doesn’t matter. If you back that up with the idea that just playing those great songs in your great live band is enough award for you, then you’re fuckin set. But you’ve got to be bad ass, you’ve just got to be really good. It’s the other things that make up for your musical inability.”

“I know lots of musicians that went down to SXSW and said ‘well that’s easy for you to say.’ I was like man I was in the same fuckin position you are in 24 years ago. That was it, I worked at a fuckin furniture warehouse and I wanted people to like my music so I played out as much as I could. Honestly, like I said if you’re passionate and driven and focused at what you do, if you’re really fucking good at it people will take notice. That’s basically it, I don’t understand the industry, I don’t understand where music is headed, I don’t really understand technology. I just know that when you walk into a club and you see a band that blows you away you are going to follow that band, you’re going to either buy their CD or you’re going find them online or you’re going see them the next time they come to play. That’s what it takes, you don’t have to stand in line at the song contest on TV to become a fuckin popular musician. To stand in front of some judge that doesn’t even play a fuckin instrument on their own god damn record tell you ‘no you’re not good enough.’ Fuck that, go blow people away in their face. I honestly believe it’s that simple.”

Off Camera Episode 7 with Dave Grohl from Off Camera on Vimeo.


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About The Author

Bio: Brett hosted the BWR podcast from 2004 to 2009, and then opened GrungeReport.net in May 2009. The site changed its name to AlternativeNation.net in June 2013. Brett also owns Concertfy.com. Reach out to Brett at; brett (at) alternativenation.net
  • http://tothemothership.com Will

    Been in the trenches in Seattle for 12+ years. There’s something to be said about gaining fans from a good live experience but there is NO label scouting for talent anymore in the department of real rock music. It’s rare when a label develops quality artists and honestly, people don’t know what to like these days. There’s also a trillion bands out there fighting for the too spot in every city. I appreciate Mr. Grohl’s comments but it’s just not the same these days. We need someone with a big voice to lift up the little guy and show him to the world. Labels use to do that, it’s just not a common thing any more.

  • 6025

    I don’t know how well this would work in this day and age but quite a few punk bands started their own record labels back in the day and some of them managed to gain large followings over the years.

  • Boom

    Book thinks that people in general are much lazier nowadays then they were in music days gone by. All days. Young punks don’t have the drive and the desire, feel they’re entitled. Money has spoiled us all and they all smoke too much of the reefer.

    Everything blew up so big and got so big so fast it just exploded, left everything with nowhere to go. Makes sense I you think about it like Boom does.

    The fucking Russians probably have something to do with it too.

  • Boom

    Edit above, my name is Boom. Not Book. I’m so stupid.
    Oh ya, like that snake Ilya Kovalchuk. Not good. No trusting

    • Magic Mike Mazzarone

      Fuck Ilya Traitorchuk

      • GwynnKatie

        Oh Wow! There you are!
        Are you healing/feeling better Mike?
        Just curious.


  • CL

    It’s true to a certain extent, especially if you’re able to persuade your fans to be a presence online as well, but as already pointed out by posters before me, it just doesn’t happen the same way it used to. There’s good and bad to both, but for start-up bands, it’s definitely not great. On one hand, with a decent investment and some hard work, a band can release their own album these days at a very modest cost and be sold in the same digital stores as the biggest bands in the world, but labels don’t just provide (loaned) money for studios and distribution, they also provide PR. Big dollar campaigns. It’s hard to compete with that. If you’re lucky, your song hits YouTube and builds a buzz, but that’s a rarity. And these days, as a responsible adult, there just is no quitting your job to tour and focus on music full time, you’d be broke, in debt and homeless in about two months time. For new bands and artists, some things have gotten easier thanks to the digital revolution, but everything else got harder.

  • unglued

    Dave have a great experiance through Nirvana and FF. That is the reason. He prove himself.

  • Search and destroy

    Dave is right in a way, bands do need to play strong live and gain fans through shows, etc. but things have changed quite abit since Dave was first starting out, people don’t just go to check out local bands out live anymore like they used too. It seems as though everyone would rather just check out the online sites. Granted people will still come out to shows, but I don’t think it’s like it would’ve been in the 80′s and 90′s where people would go by word of mouth and check out the bands shows. Now it’s just like “yeah man ill go check out bandcamp or YouTube clips”

  • Pennywise the Clown

    It is harder now, but at the same time many people do feel like they have to be successful NOW.

  • Search and destroy

    Penny wise, that’s so true. Hell you see bands that have played like two shows, but think since they have fancy band pics like in a field or some shit and a few garage band recorded tracks that they should be living like Mötley Crüe

  • LOUD

    He said that if you are *really fucking good* people will take notice. He is right. I think that is key; truth be told, most bands are not really fucking good, they just think they are. If you truly are, you will capture people & you will gain popularity. It will be organic.

  • GoodNPlenTy

    Maybe, but live some bands sound bad that in the studio can sound awesome! He is just giving general advice about getting off your ass, lazy bones. That’s what he really means and if your real good and have some $$$ you can then be heard but still have years to maybe build a following in the genre he’s talking about.

  • Boom

    Also call me crazy but in the late ’80′s… Music was still evolving, hard rock or grunge or whatever the fuck you call it, alternative was brand new. It was exciting music, exciting times for all. Go to the club listen to bands, tell your people.
    Music itself has gotten to a point that its run its course. Everything’s been done, everything’s been written down and sung.

    Music basicly sucks, there is still some good bands but not many.

  • Todd

    Yeah that’s great and all except that the general consumer hates rock and doesn’t go see live music unless it’s EDM or Country.

  • Todd

    And Nirvana wouldn’t have even gotten a record deal today, not polished enough or mainstream radio ready. Bands like Soundgarden and Guns N Roses would’ve been dropped. Pearl Jam would’ve been lucky to get a second chance after Andy Wood died.

  • http://www.loafpincher.com jokrrsmoket

    Truth is rock is almost possible to get in too now. Live is only local and then its word of mouth. Then hoping YouTube and other social networking sites will do it. You need outstanding PR to really have a slim chance.

    Best bet is rap electronic country genres.

    R.I.P. Rock…… :(

  • Brett Buchanan

    Nirvana would still make it today. Soundgarden though are an example of a band that might not have been given a chance to grow since it took them 2 or 3 albums to write radio hits.

  • Todd

    Brett, you’re crazy if you think Nirvana would make it in today’s musical landscape on their own. If they took Bleach to a big record label, they would probably laugh and ask how much radio play they have received. Remember, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, MLB, ect opened up the Seattle music scene to big labels well before Nirvana signed with Geffen.

  • Todd

    Nirvana was also TERRIBLE live (which goes against what Dave’s whole point). If they went to showcase for label people… again, they probably laugh and say thanks, but no thanks.

  • Todd

    And one other point… Dave should put his money where his mouth is and start a label. And not just for his side projects and Josh Homme, but for up and coming rock bands that may sound nothing like the Foo’s. I’m confident he’d have a great ear for talent and plenty of money.

  • RockStillHasApuLs3

    Todd some good points and I have also thought that Dave and other musicians should start a label togehter for new ROCK and other bands that have no where to go’. SAY a website where fans can vote and pros can decide who gets a contract to try and make a career.

    Sounds like that show but I really mean a chance for bands to be heard and even helped by these people who want to save the endangered genre.

    Nirvana and the other bands mentioned might have made it but the question would be how big they would get to be.

  • Conrad Uno

    All you need to make a record is a microphone and some magnetic tape, that’s it! And maybe, just maybe, some bad reverb.

  • GenXLady

    I always hear and read that there isn’t much money for bands to make in the music industry anymore. At least not like in the past due to technology. What about all of the big wigs at the tops of labels? If they aren’t developing bands, how do they make their big bucks these days?

  • Stovsov

    Brett why don’t you make a part of the site to show case unknown bands that send you alternative music that you like?

  • Craig