The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

These are not the memoirs of a jaded rock star. Yes, there are moments of name-dropping and excess and misguided decisions but this book is more than just an older man looking back at his life with a view to making more money from dedicated fans who want a naughty peek behind the curtain into the heady heights of stardom. In fact, it is very different to what I expected to read and I will go some way to explain why.

First of all, the voice of the book. There is no doubt in my mind that this is most assuredly the voice of Dave Grohl, leading us through his stories, sharing his experiences and yes, extolling his wisdom, which I’m not sure he’d like as a descriptor, but it is true nonetheless. This is no ghost written cobbling together of loosely told anecdotes: Grohl is present in every page, to the point where it was almost like a conversation overheard or a chance encounter with a garrulous stranger as opposed to carefully constructed autobiography. It was a very refreshing read on many levels.

Second of all, the humour. It made me laugh out loud, especially his description of the Oscars, because of his candour and honesty. Also, there are moments throughout where his ebullience comes through with asides and comparisons that just made me chuckle.

But honesty has to be present in the hard times too and Grohl is not backward in sharing his thoughts on the loss of Kurt Cobain as well as close friends less popularly known but still as instrumental in shaping him into the person reflected in these pages. There’s no gushing here but there is a sense of heartfelt loss and mourning and an unashamed expression of love and appreciation for all the people who matter to him, living and passed away.

He also offers us a window into his life as rock star dad and his commitment to both lives enjoined in that title, their juxtaposition seemingly at odds with each other. What comes across is his determination to merge both as important parts of who he is, learning from the role models that he has had in his life, both good and bad, about how to do and not do things.

It’s a wonder, really, that he is such a well-rounded individual with humility and groundedness. But this book is the proof.

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