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Martin James: Dave Grohl: Times Like His

Comprehensive look at the life and activities of Grohl.

As a referential tome on the world of Grohl, Times Like His is very successful. Journalist/author/historian James reflects his academic day job (Professor of Music Industries at Southampton Solent) in diligent, comprehensive exploration.

No stone, no pre-Nirvana or non-Foos project is left uninvestigated, as he takes us from Freak Baby via Scream, Probot, QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures… all linked, with interviews and reviews from the different releases, in a digestible chronology.

Ultimately, however, it boils down to an efficient cut’n’paste job – the vast majority of material is second-hand. Reasonable but rather dry tendencies (e.g. pedantic analysis of the sound of every album, and its reception), a few too many exclamation marks and laboured, un-revelatory reminders of what a hard-worker Dave is don’t exactly help its artistic value.

It’s a decent book – a useful research tool and overview of the scenes Grohl drew from. But a work of sparkly, emotionally invested-in prose? Not quite.

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.