Dave Grohl Reveals Disco Drumming Influence on Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Album
There's a lot of love right now for the Foo Fighters upcoming Hail Satin Record Store Day vinyl covers release paying tribute to the brothers Gibb with the band taking on the humorous nod The Dee Gees as an ode to the Bee Gees. But this disco love isn't something new for Dave Grohl, who recently revealed in a chat with Pharrell Williams that his drumming on Nirvana's Nevermind album was heavily inspired by drummers from the disco and early '80s funk era.
The clip started making the rounds on Twitter and looks to have come from a chat for Grohl's From Cradle to Stage series on which Pharrell appeared as one of the guests.
At the top of the clip, Grohl and Pharrell are discussing drumming with Grohl stating that he "wanted to be a drumline kid" but admitted his inability to read music kept him from it.
While Pharrell still marvels at his playing, Grohl then offers the secret behind his playing on Nirvana's Nevermind album. "Stop saying I'm a good drummer cause I'm the most basic fucking drummer," says Grohl. "If you look at Nevermind, the Nirvana record, I pulled so much stuff from The Gap Band, Cameo and [Chic's] Tony Thompson on every one of those songs. All that [pats legs to drum beat], that's old disco. That's all it is."
The clip then cues up Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and The Gap Band's "Early in the Morning" (check out both songs below) to show the similarity in the beats and the way that Grohl attacks the drum.
The priceless part of the interview nugget is Pharrell's reaction with an appropriate "Wowwwwww" and a "mind-blown" gesture. Grohl says rarely do people catch the connection, but he had the opportunity once to thank Tony Thompson for the inspiration with the legendary drummer acknowledging that he was aware of the connection.
"Early in the Morning" was one of The Gap Band's bigger hits, hitting No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982. The song appeared on their Gap Band IV album.
As for Thompson, the hard hitting drummer manned the kit for several different acts including Chic and the '80s rock outfit The Power Station. He also notably handled drums for Led Zeppelin's reunion at Live Aid in 1985. His other credits include Sister Sledge, Diana Ross and playing live with David Bowie.