Let me start by saying – I love Dave Grohl. I love every band he’s ever been associated with – Scream, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures, and more. I love hearing him on podcasts (like Smartless) and I loved reading his stories in The Storyteller.
I read his 300+ page book in about five days all while working, homeschooling, running kids everywhere, getting myself to yoga three times, making three meals a day for four people, keeping up-to-date on the Bachelorette, and binge-watching Lost with my husband and kids. So, that should be a testament to the fact that his book, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, is worth the read.
It just wasn’t… the book I wanted. And, I feel like that might be the case for some other fans, too. Sure, it’s witty, it’s clever, it’s entertaining, it’s deep (at times,) but, it still wasn’t the book I wanted it to be.
Dave, I want more. I want better.
My Issues With The Storyteller
I do realize the amount of hate I’m going to get for this, but when a book is put out by a major publishing house, and I find typos throughout, it makes my blood boil. (I am also certain that you’ll find typos in this post, but I do not have a major publisher going through rounds of edits on my personal blog posts.) I am somewhat familiar with the commercial publishing process. Before any of the words on Dave Grohl’s pages saw final printing, they would have gone through a developmental edit, a copyedit, a line edit, and a final proofread. At least one round of each.
Now, to be quite precise, I found five typos. Four were in the same chapter (really within just four pages.) I get that this chapter was likely added after at least one round of editing and that is probably why that area has more issues than others, but still.
The Repetitive Phrases
Since this is a collection of stories placed in somewhat chronological order, I can get how and why certain phrases were repeated, but even so – it still irks me. “Let your freak flag fly” popped up no less than 5 times in one chapter, then never again. Cringe.
In another chapter, the phrase “Life was picking up speed” was pulled out and repeated, again and again. Honestly, it felt like the type of device that a teenager would use and feel really artistic about in a high school composition class.
Then again in another chapter, the same device was attempted but then stopped midway through the chapter with the phrase, “Inspired, yet again.”
I’m sorry, I just wasn’t feeling it. Let’s just say I wasn’t “Inspired, yet again.”
Erasing Parts of the Past
This book practically covered Dave’s conception through the present day. Yet, two major life events were oddly missing: his first marriage and any reference to the years of legal battles over Kurt Cobain’s estate and the Nirvana brand.
I’m the type who watches shows with IMDB pulled up on my phone, so don’t think I read books any differently. I was Googling every person, story, song, album, whatever, mentioned as I went along. In the book, Dave tells a story about being in Ireland in late 1994. The thing is, any quick Google search will tell you he was there on his honeymoon with his first wife. Why leave that out of the story entirely. He didn’t even mention his first wife at all.
And, I mean, come on. We all know about the legal battles between Dave and Courtney Love. They went on for years. Not a single mention? Maybe, legally he can’t mention this battle, I don’t know. But I’d have preferred a little side note just explaining his constraints to pretending these things never happened, ya know?
One Chapter, Two (Unrelated) Deaths
This one actually broke my heart. In the chapter “He’s Gone,” Dave discusses the deaths of both Kurt Cobain and his life-long best friend, Jimmy.
It’s clear to readers that the loss of Jimmy impacted him, personally, far greater than the loss of Cobain – though Cobain’s death probably had a far greater impact on his life at that time. He and Jimmy had been friends since they were about seven years old and had shared every part of life with each other. Dave was also older and more emotionally mature when he lost Jimmy.
It seemed to me that Jimmy deserved his own chapter, but it also felt like Dave was worried about backlash from Nirvana enthusiasts if he made it seem like he felt Jimmy’s loss more profoundly. It’s a tough situation to be in. It’s got to be strange and uncomfortable to feel like your grieving is being judged.
The Vague Details
There were a few spots in the narrative where there was noticeably vague wording or a lack of details. One topic treated this way was Kurt Cobain’s drug addiction and final weeks. The wording of the details related to this topic felt intentionally vague, and I’m guessing that was for a reason.
Dave also makes a passing mention of not having been in contact with his father in his last year of life. I get that it’s a personal topic and he doesn’t owe us anything, but it left me curious. It was clear that they had a strained relationship, but, earlier in the book we hear about them interacting and speaking, then all of a sudden they’re not even in touch and we get no info. Bummer. (But, again, I know he doesn’t owe it to us.)
Have You Met Huma?
Another reason why I think, maybe, this book didn’t hit for me was because I was simultaneously listening to Both/And: A Life in Many Words by Huma Abedin. When I say “simultaneously,” I mean – listening to Huma while I did dishes, drove in the car, and folded laundry, reading Dave for about an hour after the kids and husband went to bed.
(In case you don’t know, Huma Abedin is the ex-wife of disgraced former New York senator Anthony Weiner and close advisor to Hilary Clinton.)
The thing is, Huma GAVE us what we wanted:
- Why did Hilary stay with Bill after his cheating scandal in the ’90s? Huma told us.
- Why did she stay with her own husband after he was repeatedly caught sexting with other women? Huma told us.
- How did Hilary react to losing to Trump in 2016? Huma told us.
- Did she blame herself and her husband’s emails for Hilary’s loss in 2016? Huma told us.
- Did she take her son to visit her husband in jail? Huma told us.
She practically told us the size and shape of the poo she was taking at the exact moment she first saw her husband’s indecent selfies (along with the rest of the world.)
The fact that Huma went there and gave us readers exactly the details we wanted, made Dave’s omissions all the more noticeable.
Give Us What We Want, Dave!
In conclusion, (yes I’m starting my closing as if this is my major middle school research paper – which, BTW I actually wrote on Princess Diana’s death… how not a single soul tried to direct me to investigative journalism, I’ll never know. Honestly, my middle school self would have dropped dead at the idea that I’d ever write anything about Dave Grohl that anyone else’s eyes would ever see.) Dave Grohl should have written three separate books.
Below, I will lay out what it is we all (or at least what I) want from him:
The Storyteller: Tales of MUSIC
Yes, he absolutely should have written this book. I love it. but it should have stuck to what it claims to be, tales about times Dave got to meet incredibly influential musicians and celebrities and the epic adventures that ensued in his life as a musician. We want to hear all of those stories. And, he tells them so well.
I’m sure he could fill volumes and anthologies with even more stories just like the ones he shared. But, leave the family stuff for your next book…
A Parenting Book
I petition that Dave write a parenting book. I’m looking for more stories that explore being a son as well as stories that explore being a father. I’d love to hear more about his relationship with his parents (I know, I can read his mom’s book) and his relationship with his daughters.
I’d like to know more about how his father influenced his own fathering. If he understands his father more or less now that he is also a father.
I have so many questions I want answered, particularly pertaining to raising and shepherding two young female artists in the music industry (his daughters). I’d love to know how the #metoo movement has affected how he’s raising his daughters in the world today.
I’d love to know his opinions on women’s struggles in the entertainment and music industry. Like Taylor Swift rerecording her masters so she has ownership over them, Britney Spears’ conservatorship, and if, now, as a father of daughters in the music industry, he’d judge Courtney Love differently now.
I’d love to hear how he’d compare his own childhood to his kids’ childhoods. If he fears raising kids in LA, and how he’s raising his kids to be global citizens.
There is definitely enough here for an entire book, and there is definitely enough interest and information to write it. Please, Dave, please?
The Nirvana Book
I know this is a pipe dream, but a girl can dream, right? We want more than one or two chapters that mention your time in Nirvana. We want a book about all of it. ALL OF IT! Every single detail about how you joined the band. Every single detail about your time in the band. Every single detail about the aftermath.
Haven’t we waited long enough? As I said, I know this is a dream and I’m sure, legally (and probably emotionally) he can’t… but wouldn’t you just die if he did?!? I know I would.
Have you read The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl yet? Clearly, I’d love to discuss! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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