Hey there first-wave punkers—want a three-minute-and-30-second reminder that time really does fly, especially after you’ve crested 40? Same goes for you, Gen Xers, particularly if you can remember seeing Nirvana at the Town Pump, New York Theatre, and Drew Burns-era Commodore Ballroom.
Yesterday, Dave Grohl stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote his latest project, a documentary called What Drives Us. The film takes a look at what some of the biggest bands and musicians in the world lovingly subjected themselves to before becoming mega-famous. And by that, we’re talking endless hours on the road cramming into a tour van to play tiny clubs to four people in the middle of nowhere. Which is to say Idaho. Or Thunder Bay.
The winners for their sacrifices? That would be everyone whoever got to see acts like Metallica, No Doubt, St. Vincent, and, um, Nirvana up-close-and-personal when they were still young and beautiful and living in an Econoline for weeks on end. Those interviewed for the film, which streams on Amazon Prime on April 30, include legends that only start with Lars Ulrich, Flea, the Edge, and X’s Exene Cervenka.
Making a case that the more things change the more the song remains the same, the film also includes extended sequences with new acts Radkey and the insanely fucking great Starcrawler.
And it’s X that brings things full circle today. Man, one day you’re front row at the Masque in Los Angeles, hopped up on locker room deodorizer and losing your shit to the songs—hello “Nausea”!—that will go on to form the indispensable Los Angeles. Or you’re jammed into the tiny Crocodile on 2nd Avenue in Seattle with two cans of warm Schlitz wearing combat shorts and a plaid shirt waiting for Nirvana to rip into “Floyd the Barber”.
The next you’re on a COVID-19 couch with a Sleepytime Tea watching ex-Nirvana Drummer, current Foo Fighter, and all-round-decent-dude Dave Grohl on national TV playing “Nausea” for everyone who was ever brave enough to load into a tour van.
And the truly crazy thing? That would be the fact that his 15-year-old daughter Violet is the one doing the singing. And, more importantly, fucking nailing it in a way that must have made Exene proud. Not to mention her bandmates for the night: Nirvana’s Krist Novaselic on bass, Slayer alumni Dave Lombardo on drums, ace producer Greg Kurstin on keys, and her dad on guitar.
It's enough to make you want to get into the van the second this whole COVID-19 bullshit is over. And here's the thing--do it, because got knows you're not getting any younger.