Mick Wall: Foo Fighters: Learning To Fly

No more Mr Nice Guy? Wall extricates man from myth.

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“Everyone wanted it, but Dave really wanted it.” Glen E Friedman’s recollection of Grohl’s, if not quite naked then certainly lightly clad, ambition back in 1990 – while shopping Scream demos to the labels – is one that permeates this narrative.

Essentially the Dave Grohl show from day one, Wall charts the Foos’ story within the context of the multi-talented all-rounder’s early drive and life-shaking Nirvana experience.

Wall’s chatty and poetic prose is enhanced by a gratifying stridency and insightful analysis that fleshes out the human behind the soubriquet ‘nicest man in rock’.

The bulk of interviews are provided by Nirvana/Foo Fighters PR Anton Brookes (his forbearance and perception evident), which is a wise move, and the set piece in the first chapter – a dramatic deconstruction of Grohl’s speech to the Reading Festival crowd in 2012 – is masterful. “Fairy tales for idiots” this ain’t.

Tim Batcup

Tim Batcup is a writer for Classic Rock magazine and Prog magazine. He's also the owner of Cover To Cover, Swansea's only independent bookshop, and a director of Storyopolis, a free children’s literacy project based at the Volcano Theatre, Swansea. He likes music, books and Crass.