"I never realised how funky Dave was!": Watch a jazz professor at elite music school Juilliard try to play Dave Grohl's drum parts on Nirvana classic In Bloom without having ever heard the song

(Image credit: Drumeo YouTube | KMazur/WireImage)

Earlier this year we reported on Megadeth drummer Dirk Verbeuren being challenged by the good people at Drumeo to play the drum parts on The Killers indie-rock anthem Mr Brightside having never previously heard the song. Spoiler alert: he killed it. 

Recently the same team threw down a similar challenge to jazz drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., the Small Ensemble Director at elite American musical school Juilliard, with the Prof. being asked to recreate how he imagines Dave Grohl's drum parts sound on Nirvana classic In Bloom, from 1991's Nevermind album.

And just as Dirk Verbeuren had never previously heard that ubiquitous Killers anthem, Ulysses Owens Jr. is equally in the dark as to how any song on Nevermind sounds, though he stresses that he's heard the band name, which is a start, we guess.

Being a frighteningly talented individual, the drummer does a sterling job of approximating Grohl's drum pattern on the song, while confessing that, really, he's not much of a hard rock fan, although he "loves" Incubus.

Introduced to the original recording, Owens Jr. expresses his admiration for Dave Grohl's drumming. "The way Dave is playing it is really like a funk tune," he says. "He's just wide open with it. So, I think, that was hip to, like, to hear a guy who was really playing some funk shit, but with a rock tinge. Dave is funky man, I never realised how funky he was."

His comments are interesting because they echo Dave Grohl's own comments on his playing on Nevermind.

"If you listen to Nevermind, the Nirvana record, I pulled so much stuff from The Gap Band and Cameo and [Chic’s] Tony Thompson on every one of those songs," he admitted to Pharrell Williams during his Paramount+ series From Cradle to Stage. "Nobody makes the connection."

Nobody until just now...

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.