Yesterday I finished Dave Grohl’s book The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music. It was one of the best books I’ve read this year, right there at the top, alongside T.J. Klune’s books The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door, and Max Seeck’s Kauna. I think any fan of rock music – not just Foo Fighters or Dave Grohl and his numerous other music projects – would enjoy the book what with all the encounters and the tale of punk rocker Dave growing up to be a world-renowned musician.
That said and out of the way, I did not love the book simply because it is a memoir written by my all time favorite musician; I loved it because it tasted like life. Somehow Dave Grohl managed to make his nearly fabled life sound just like an ordinary life, like my life or your life, just any life. His job just happens to be a rock musician who’s been rocking the fucking world for decades, but that aside, it’s a life, and one I could relate to in surprisingly many ways.
Fake it till you make it
This is one of my life mottos. I’m not a world-class musician, not a world-class anything, but as a trainer and consultant I have often felt like Dave wrote in the book on many occasioons. How did I get here? What am I doing here? Ok, I’ve got this. Because I fake it till I make it. And make he did, and so do I, in my own world of Microsoft consultation. Life is about challenges and living up to them.
Anger vs. frustration
Somewhere in the very first pages of the book Dave talks about his daughter Violet and how she was extremely verbally talented, and from a very young age could wield words like a way older person. Not only was I like that, and my son was like that, but I was especially amused by the story of Violet having a breakdown in the kitchen and telling her dad: “I’m not angry, I’m frustrated!” Dave noted that he still doesn’t know the difference, but apparently Violet does. Go Violet! I know too, and can’t even count how many times I’ve said that exact sentence to people claiming I’m angry when really I’m just fucking frustrated!
Oh, that coffee consumption! Goes a bit with fake it till you make it, as it is supposedly a remedy for too little sleep and too much to do while being awake. Thus you drink pots and pots of coffee just to make it (through the day awake). I too used to drink shitloads of coffee, go around like a Duracell Bunny on steroids, until I had the AN surgery. After that I started getting vertigo from caffeine. Slowly, but surely I pushed my caffeine limits, but never returned quite to the same levels as before. Just a cappucino or three a day, plus some 😀 Oh, and don’t miss on the Fresh Pots video!
Making a short story long
Sometimes while reading the book I felt a kinship of sorts as the style of writing felt so familiar, kinda like my own. Each chapter was constructed in a similar way as I construct my blog posts: around a theme, starting with an event and going from there. I am a storyteller, I come from a family of storytellers, and I found a fellow storyteller in Grohl. Another person able to write a short story about rescheduling a show to fly from Australia to LA to attend his kids’ Daddy-Daughter Dance and back to Perth, Australia witihn the same 36 hours. I mean, you can list events and give details, but that’s not a story. And I think that’s what most biographies lack. They’re not stories, they’re recitals of a life.
Not taking oneself too seriously
“Anything for a laugh,” writes Dave in the chapter Down Under DUI, about whizzing through the fest goers in a silly little scooter with Taylor Hawkins. I could totally do that, allow myself to be the laughstock, even revel in it. I learned somewhere along the way that it’s not good to take oneself too seriously. Life is way too short for that! Take the adventure when it’s available and go for it! Even if it sometimes ends in a DUI sentence or a broken elbow.
Using the word fuck
One of the things I love about rock concerts is that there’s people (on the stage) who actually use the word fuck more than I do (when not angry or, krhm, frustrated). Dave Grohl definitely is one of those, though I promise this book is not full of the word; I think it was used there only a few times in places that rather needed it.
Those young talents ❤
The book begins with Dave talking about his daughters Violet and Harper. Violet is an extremely talented singer who actually once told his dad that he’s not even the best singer in the house (not in the book, actually, but in one of the Youtube videos I ended up searching and playing before I got further in the book) – and they’re right too! My god, they have a fabulous voice! Just check out them performing a cover of Adele’s When We Were Young or this collaboration of dad and daughter as they sing Nausea! Harper, several years younger, on the other hand decided on drums and has tried her hand in concert already too, see eg. the rehearsal of We Will Rock You cover in Notes & Words (with Violet singing) in 2018.
These two young talents lead me to other videos of daughters of famous rock stars and by god I expect to hear more of also Toni Cornell and Olivia Vedder. Just listen to Toni Cornell singing about Far Away Places, or Olivia Vedder singing My Father’s Daughter. I mean, their dads rocked our world, now it’s their turn and they totally rock!
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