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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: "The Dave Grohl Story" by Jeff Apter

"The Dave Grohl Story" by Jeff Apter traces the life and career of the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer from his childhood through 2005. The book is filled with details of Grohl's professional and private life as a rock star , but these details, even the more obscure ones, are not the book's strength. The real power of the story comes from Grohl's early experiences as a fledgling musician coming of age in the DC hardcore scene and beyond. From the first gigs as a suburban punk in Northern Virginia to early indie tours of Europe and the downward spiral of the band Scream that led Grohl to Nirvana, Apter tells a compelling and relatable story.

The bulk of the book deals with this pre-world famous Dave Grohl. The author uses the experiences of others and Grohl's own statements to give the reader a sense of Grohl's character and personality that informs the musicians better known escapades and challenges later in life. Grohl's tendency to avoid delivering bad news and his habit of going against the grain establish patterns repeated throughout the story. Apter does an excellent job of illustrtaing these. The author also expertly conveys Grohl's passion for music.

The book moves at an excellent pace and is an easy read throughout the first two thirds or so but bogs down late and the more laudatory tone of this latter portion contrasts uncomfortably with the more academic and engrossing earlier chapters. It falls especially short in the comparisons that Apter draws to other contemporary groups. These are unnecessary and come across more as a fan talking down  other bands to elevate his own favorite.

Aside from this one criticism, which relates to the smaller portion of the work, this is a very good book for Grohl fans, rock music enthusiasts, and fans of of well-written biographies. I recommend it.

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