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Ringo Starr and Dave Grohl talk Nirvana, drum technique & losing band mates

Written by on October 30, 2019

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ABC Audio; ABC/Randy HolmesRingo Starr and Foo Fighters frotnman/Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl interview each other for the latest installment of Rolling Stone‘s ongoing “Musicians on Musicians” series. 

During the far-reaching conversation — “Two drummers, they’ll blah their a**es off forever,” the Beatles legend cracks — Starr and Grohl talk about various topics, including how neither of them ever actually practices playing drums, and what Ringo thought of Nirvana when he first heard them.

“Absolutely great, and the man himself [Kurt Cobain] had so much emotion,” Starr says. “That’s what I loved. I’m an emotional guy. No one can doubt Nirvana, ever.”

Of course, both Starr and Grohl share the unfortunate history of playing in bands led by singers who tragically died young. Speaking about Nirvana and Cobain led Starr to recall how he learned about John Lennon‘s death.

“I was getting a phone call from my step kids in L.A. saying, ‘Something’s happened to John,'” Starr remembers. “And then they called and said, ‘John’s dead.’ And I didn’t know what to do. And I still well up [with tears] that some bastard shot him.”

Speaking about his experience with loss, Grohl shares how he felt on the few occasions he’s played Nirvana songs since Cobain’s death.

“It’s a funny feeling, because it feels like you’re back together with your friends from the band, but there’s just something missing,” Grohl explains.

But, he continues, “It was such a trip for just the three of us to be playing again; it fits,” referring to bassist Krist Novoselic and guitarist Pat Smear.

Dave adds, “It’s so easy. A couple of downbeats, and it sounds like Nirvana when Krist and I play together. Nobody else makes that sound.” Interestingly, a couple times that Grohl played with his Nirvana band mates were also with Paul McCartney.

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