Dave Grohl on the surprise hit of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
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  • Post published:24/09/2021
  • Post last modified:24/09/2021
(Credit: Howard Dey

Dave Grohl on the surprise hit of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

    Following the 30-year anniversary of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl has spoken out about the success of the era-defining hit that came as a surprise to the band. 

    While chatting with NME, the current Foo Fighters frontman explained: “I remember writing ‘Teen Spirit’ in our rehearsal space, and I liked the riff that Kurt [Cobain] came up with because it’s percussive.”

    Later recalling about its inception: “Those muted, stabbing strums in between the chords really leant to the pattern of the drum riff.”

    Understandably, a major influence on the track came from the band that David Bowie described as one of the two most influential of the eighties in the form of The Pixies. 

    According to Grohl, the band had been listening to the Pixies record Bossa Nova and it had a huge impact. “We were listening to a lot of Pixies… we were just having fun,” he says. 

    Adding: “Of course, no-one had any psychic foresight to imagine that [‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’] would go on to do what it did. We just fuckin’ rocked it in a little rehearsal space that was like a barn.”

    From the band’s point of view, the single was just another track, as he explains: “I think everyone was more focused on songs like ‘In Bloom’ or ‘Lithium’ or ‘Breed’; nobody really paid too much attention to ‘Teen Spirit’ while we were recording it. We just thought it was another cool song for the record.”

    As it happens, the song went on to be one of the most influential of the era, and you can read all about our take on where it took music by clicking here.


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