I was just thinking about Dave Grohl. Here’s a guy who was in the biggest band of the 90s (er, I’m talking about Nirvana) but didn’t command much attention for himself. He was certainly a respected drummer but, after Cobain killed himself, I think a lot of people — myself included — wouldn’t have been surprised had Grohl simply fallen into the dustbin of history (much the same way his band mate Krist Novoselic did.) But Grohl did not. He’s had a long and storied career and I think one could argue he’s one of the last of the real rock stars left.
And I think had Cobain not killed himself and Nirvana continued, Grohl would not have flourished the way he has. Unlike the reticent rock star that Cobain was, Grohl seems fully at ease in the world of the commercial music industry. He happily embraces the role of celebrity and plays with musicians from across the musical spectrum. But I don’t think he could openly acknowledge this side of himself while in the decidely anti-corporate, punk-elitist Nirvana. In some ways, Cobain’s death allowed Grohl to step out of the shadows and embrace his own persona. You could say he actually benefitted from Cobain’s self-immolation.
Which brings up an interesting question: Where exactly was Grohl the day Cobain “committed suicide”?