Dave Grohl Reveals If “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Was A Ripoff


Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” have the same arrangement according to Dave Grohl. Grohl performed with Rick Astley over the weekend, and reflected on his Foo Fighters bandmate quitting.

He told Guardian, “Nothing changed my life like Smells Like Teen Spirit. Let me tell you something, the day Foo Fighters learned how to play Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley, I realised that the arrangement is exactly the same! Kurt [Cobain] had a beautiful grasp of songwriting in its simplicity and depth.”

“We spoke to each other in the rehearsal room at volume 10 as we were playing. I knew when the verse was coming because I could see Kurt’s foot getting close to turning off the distortion pedal. We would watch each other’s body language and the song built into this crescendo, then exploded.”

Dave Grohl recently reacted to a guitar being thrown onstage near him in a video. Grohl said he liked “Lithium” and “In Bloom” more than “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

“I didn’t think it was the anthem. It would be as moving if it were Kurt and a guitar. We were very protective about our music. We wouldn’t pick up instruments and start singing for no reason. We wouldn’t go play shows that meant nothing to us. Every time we played it was blood and guts. To hear that song on the radio is one thing but to stand in front of us as we did it in the room? Fuckin’ A. It was more than sound. You could actually feel it. Wow.”

Dave Grohl took a brutal shot at American Idol recently. Rick Astley told Kyle Meredith last year, ““It just all went nuts. Dave Grohl came over and said hello, gave me a hug, said hello, and then a half hour later he’s inviting me onto the stage,” he explains. “I never met them, I have no why idea why he’d invite me onstage. I didn’t know what it was all about. And then he just kind of whispered and said, ‘We’re doing your tune, but we’re gonna do it like Teen Spirit,’ and that was it. And off we went.”

He continues, “It wasn’t like they asked me first or our managers got in touch, there was none of that. It was just, ‘Hey, there’s that guy, I wonder if he wants to do that,’ and we did. All credit to them, because they didn’t know I wasn’t gonna go out there and fall apart and be drunk or whatever.”

“It’s been great to me,” he says of the RickRoll meme, “so I can’t really have any negative thoughts about it.”