Dave Grohl had to endure the pain of Kurt Cobain’s death not once but twice.
In his new memoir, “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music,” the rocker recounts how he got a call — after Cobain overdosed at a Rome hotel on March 3, 1994 — saying that his Nirvana bandmate had died.
“My knees gave out and I dropped the phone as I fell to my bedroom floor, covering my face with my hands as I began to cry,” writes Grohl, 52, in his book, which was released on Tuesday.
“He was gone. The shy young man who had offered me an apple upon our first introduction at the Seattle airport was gone. My quiet, introverted roommate who I’d shared a tiny little apartment with in Olympia was gone. The loving father who played with his beautiful baby daughter backstage every night before each show was gone. I was overcome with a more profound sadness than I had ever imagined.”
That profound sadness, though, was soon met with tremendous relief when Grohl got another call saying that Cobain was actually still alive — and that he was going to make it.
“In the course of five minutes I had gone from the darkest day of my entire life to feeling born again,” he writes. “From that day forward, I built my walls higher.”
But in a cruel twist, Grohl would have to go through that trauma all over again just a month later, when news of Cobain’s suicide came early the morning of April 8 (although police concluded that he actually died on April 5 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head).
“This time it was for real. He was gone,” he writes. “There was no second phone call to right the wrong. To turn the tragedy around. It was final.”
Losing Cobain twice in 30-something days, Grohl struggled to grieve properly.
“It was stuck somewhere deep within me, blocked by the trauma from a month before when I had been left in a state of conflicted emotional confusion,” he writes.
“ ‘Empathy!’ Kurt wrote in his suicide note, and there were times where I would beg my heart to feel the pain he must have felt. Ask for it to break. I would try to wring the tears from my eyes as I cursed those f—king walls I had built so high, because they kept me from the feelings I desperately needed to feel.”
Today, though, Grohl can feel all of the pain of the first time that he got the call. “To this day I am often overcome with that same profound sadness that sent me to the floor the first time I was told Kurt had died,” he writes.
The Foo Fighters frontman also shares memories of everything from living with Cobain in their Olympia, Wash., one-bedroom apartment that looked like “Whitney Houston’s bathroom turned upside down,” to discovering that his roommate was using heroin in January 1991: “I had never known anyone who used heroin before and knew very little about it, so I was shocked.”
Interestingly, there is not a single mention of Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, in the 384-page book.
And now — 30 years after Nirvana’s classic “Nevermind” came out, on Sept. 24, 1991 — “not a day goes by” when the drummer doesn’t think of Cobain.
“But it’s when I sit down at a drum set that I feel Kurt the most,” he writes. “It’s not often that I play the songs that we played together, but when I sit on that stool, I can still picture him in front of me, wrestling with his guitar as he screamed his lungs raw into the microphone.”
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