Dave Grohl Reveals How Iconic Grunge Singer Intimidated Him: ‘He Was Staring At Me’

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Dave Grohl discussed meeting former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan for the first time in a new MOJO article. Lanegan and Grohl played together in Queens of the Stone Age.

“When I moved up to Seattle to join Nirvana, I lived with Krist Novoselic in his Tacoma apartment. Krist is six foot eight, living with his wife in his tiny attic space, and after three weeks they asked me very politely: ‘Do you wanna live with Kurt [Cobain] in Olympia…?’

After a few weeks, Kurt said, ‘Let’s go up to Seattle for the night, a band is playing and we can stay at my friend Dylan’s house.’

I woke up the next morning on this couch, and there was someone sitting in a chair, smoking and staring at me.

I said, ‘Hey.’

And he said, ‘Who the fuck are you?’

I said, ‘I’m Kurt’s new drummer, Dave.’

And he said, ‘Oh.’ It was Mark Lanegan.

I didn’t know anything about the Screaming Trees, I didn’t know anything about his music at all, but we all talked for awhile. He’s a great guy – intimidating, some would say, but it was a nice way to get to know him.

The record collection we had in Kurt’s tiny apartment was a Devo record, a Divine single, The Winding Sheet – and I still listen to that album on a monthly basis. That cold, hard, rainy winter that I spent in Olympia just as I joined Nirvana couldn’t have been complemented any better. His voice, the arrangements, the songs, his lyrics…It’s such a beautiful record. I hold it to the same standard as Tom Waits or Nick Cave. Mark Lanegan is one of America’s greatest music heroes. Unsung, for sure. But he’s still prolific and still makes great records. That album changed the way that I listened to music. He’s one of the greats.

Nirvana’s arrangement of ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ comes from The Winding Sheet. There’s another song on there that Kurt and Krist play on, with Mark Pickerel on drums, ‘Down in the Dark.’ Hearing Kurt’s backup vocals on that, it was so different from Bleach, it made me wonder what was coming next for the three of us. It was exciting to imagine the possibilities of what we could come up with together.”

  • nomad

    Lanegan certainly seems like an intimidating character. Great singer, too.