Kurt Cobain will forever be remembered as the lead singer of Nirvana, but the late rock star was reportedly aware that he wasn’t the only one in his three-man band that had a rock ‘n’ roll voice. In the new book Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain, former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg revealed that Cobain once told him that drummer Dave Grohl could sing — and he even seemed a little jealous about it, according to an excerpt posted by The Washington Post.
The book, which was released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Cobain’s death by suicide, is one of the only books written by someone in the late Nirvana star’s inner circle, so this is the first time this revelation has come out.
In his book, Goldberg revealed that as Nirvana’s popularity began to grow after the success of their albums Nevermind and In Utero, Grohl began singing harmony vocals in concert. The talent of the future Foo Fighters frontman did not go unnoticed by Cobain, who was struggling with drug addiction at the time. Goldberg even suggested that Cobain found Grohl’s harmonies a bit unsettling.
“I hear Dave doing harmonies every night and he is a much better singer than you might think,” Cobain once told Goldberg. The author added that while Kurt sometimes had a paternal side to him when it came to Grohl and fellow bandmate Krist Novoselic, this exchange had a different tone to it.
“Kurt’s tone had a touch of envy to it, as if he were looking over his shoulder in more ways than one.”
After Kurt Cobain’s death on April 5, 1994, Dave Grohl, who had been writing his own music behind the scenes, formed what started out as the one-man band Foo Fighters later that year. Grohl sang and played almost every instrument on the self-titled debut album, which was released in 1995.
But in a 2018 interview on CBS Sunday Morning, posted on the website of rock magazine Kerrang, Dave Grohl revealed that he had little confidence as a singer and songwriter when he first started out.
“I didn’t like my voice, I didn’t think I was a songwriter, and I was in a band with one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. I didn’t really want to rock the boat… So I just kind of kept it to myself.”
Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters went on to chart a series of radio hits, including “Learn to Fly,” “Big Me,” and “Everlong.” The band has also won 12 Grammy Awards, most recently in 2018 for Best Rock Song for the Song “Run.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.