Dave Grohl: I feared I might be fired from Nirvana

Nirvana in 1991: Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic
Nirvana in 1991: Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic (Image credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns - Getty)

Dave Grohl has reflected on his time in Nirvana and revealed he did everything he could to make himself indispensable as he thought he might be fired.

The Foo Fighters leader makes the comments on Matt Wilkinson’s upcoming show on Apple Music, which will be broadcast tomorrow (July 4) at 3pm BST.

Grohl says: “When I joined Nirvana, I was their fifth drummer. They'd had a team of drummers before me and some of them were more in the band than others. So when I joined, I didn't know Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain at all. 

“When we first met and started playing, it was clear that it worked really well, and we sounded what most people know now to sound like Nirvana. But you just meet these people and then it wasn't long... it was almost exactly a year from the time I joined to the time Nevermind came out. Once it came out, it was like things happen so quickly. 

“The band got really big. But every band I'd been in before was with friends that I'd known for a really long time, so there's some security in that."

Grohl continues: “So when you join a band where you don't know anyone and you're just starting to get to know each other, and it sounds great when you play music, you're just starting to get to know each other, but there's not a deep personal connection – and then the band becomes really huge really quickly. 

“You're just so nervous that you're going to either get fired or it's going to stop. I didn't want to get fired basically. And so I was doing my best to keep this thing from going away. So there was this real insecurity that I had, ‘I’m not good enough. They're going to find somebody else.’"

In the interview, Grohl also looks back to Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut album which celebrates its 25th anniversary tomorrow – and says if he could go back, he’d dedicate the record to Cobain and Novoselic in the liner notes.

Grohl explains: “I mean, it should be a lot of people but I would dedicate it to Krist and Kurt. I can't say it's the most important event in my entire life, but it's safe to say that we wouldn't be here right now talking about this if it weren't for my time in Nirvana. 

"I had learned so many lessons from Kurt, I learned so many lessons from Krist. It was such an honour to be in that band and it was so devastating when it ended.”

Grohl and Foo Fighters have wrapped up work on the follow-up to 2017’s Concrete And Gold, with Grohl checking in back in March to say that it’s “unlike anything we’ve ever done.”

They’re due to head out on their rescheduled Van Tour later this year.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.