Dave Grohl went from being an unknown punk rock drummer to being one of the biggest rock stars in the world in a matter of months when Nirvana broke through, and it's not hard to imagine how that might have taken a toll on all those involved.
Grohl tells NPR in a recent conversation that up until Nevermind became one of the biggest-selling albums of the '90s, he was just trying to "survive playing music, hoping that he would one day be able to afford an apartment.
Nirvana wasn't making commercially viable music when he joined the band in 1990. One could argue that the band never made commercially viable music — and that's why it was so commercially successful.
In any case Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain and even the band's early record label was taken by surprise by what Grohl describes at the "frightening speed" at which Nirvana rocketed to international acclaim.
"It was within a month or two that we went from being relatively unknown to being number one on the charts and a name that everyone recognized," Grohl recalled. "So at that age, at 21 or 22 years old, that's a lot to process."
But for whatever reason, Grohl had a healthy strategy to manage the stress and the whirlwind; he would go home.
"And if I ever felt overwhelmed, I would just go back to Virginia," he said. "I'd go back to the house where I grew up and I would go hang out with my friends from high school and stay in my neighborhood until I felt grounded again. And then I would go back to Nirvana."
Going home wasn't an option for Cobain, however. He spent most of his life in Seattle, and was wary at how people changed around him when he became famous. While Grohl reveled in his ability to disappear, he notes that Cobain had no such option.
"I surely was not at the forefront of in the spotlight; Kurt was," Grohl continued. "...I felt pretty anonymous in that band. I was lucky, that I could avoid a lot of the dark corners or the pitfalls — but at the same time, reap a lot of the benefits of that."
Those benefits included, getting that apartment and buying his first car: a 1963 Ford Falcon Futura.
More than 25 years later, Grohl is a frontman himself and dealing with it pretty successfully. Foo Fighters just released their 10th studio album, Medicine at Midnight and have been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Photo: Getty Images