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An Open Letter to Dave Grohl

Dear Mr. Nirvana’s Drummer,

How’s it going? I like your beard, it really gives off that “I don’t care what your dad thinks about my facial hair” vibe. Nice job, way to keep the spirit of rock alive. In an age where most kids these days probably think that Motorhead is some sort of deviant sex act involving fellatio and a car engine, it’s nice to know that there are some people out there who still know that rock and roll is about guts, glory, and delivering the musical equivalent of a punch to the face from a steroid-abusing Austrian with nothing to lose except his last shred of sanity.

This is what an ideal rock song makes you feel like.

There’s plenty of evidence to remind listeners that you once embodied these virtues. As the drummer for Nirvana, you played a key role in giving that band the intense sound that kicked mainstream radio in the balls and made fun of it in front of its crush. After Kurt Cobain achieved the most punk rock death imaginable, you carried on with the Foo Fighters; sure, the sound wasn’t as furious and aggressive as your previous band, but tunes like “This Is a Call” and “Breakout” combined catchy melodies with a fun, we-don’t-take-this-shit-too-seriously approach that allowed you to carve you distinct niche in the alt-rock scene.

For some time there, you stood as a symbol of pure rock ‘n roll, a frontman whose no-bullshit attitude defined everything we love about this genre of music.

Then something changed. I don’t know exactly when it happened; some might say it occurred around the time you worked in some more balladesque material into your albums, but to be fair, even tracks like “Everlong” and “Next Year” had enough charm and energy to earn our respect. We accepted that you weren’t Kurt, and more importantly, we admired you for not trying to be.

Personally, I think the moment I realized you lost your way was during the embarrassingly self-congratulatory Live Earth concerts, in which hot music acts wasted resources and energy to tell us something we already knew. Listen, my favorite band of all time, Smashing Pumpkins, even participated, and while Billy Corgan was in fine form, awkwardly alienating his audience as he always has, you, Dave Grohl, may have committed the most cringe-worthy act of the entire shameful spectacle, when, prior to performing your reasonably decent song “Times Like These,” you recited the chorus lyrics in a moment of pseudo-profundity so lame it would make Bono humiliated.

And he thinks this is what adults look like.

From then on, it was all downhill from there. Your music became more and more formulaic, dropping the fun energy that you brought to the table in favor of a cheap, lowest-common-denominator imitation of earnest soulfulness that is more reminiscent of Chris Daughtry than of The Ramones.

Oh, like another bearded disappointment, George Lucas, you gave me hope, releasing an album with Them Crooked Vultures; while by no means world-shaking, it was a solid piece of rock music that proved you still had it in you to give fans some good-old-fashioned, balls-to-the-wall badassery.

Plus, Josh Homme was involved. Therefore it was automatically awesome.

Then your latest album, Wasting Light, was announced. All the news seemed to be worth being excited about. You were opting to record the release in your home studio. Butch Vig, the legendary producer behind Nevermind and Siamese Dream, was at the helm. Maybe you’d found your way again.

But, no, you have not. The first single, “Rope,” isn’t bafflingly awful, but it’s not exactly on par with classic Foo Fighters. Oh well, at least it was a real rock song, not some lame Nickelback imitation like “Best of You.”

Oh, then I heard the next single. “Walk.”

What. The. Fuck. Happened?

I just…I…my mind, it burns…I can’t even think about that song without feeling like a depressed parent whose brilliant young child suddenly became a heroin addict who wrote shitty, abominable music.

I made the Chris Daughtry comparison before because THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS BULLSHIT SOUNDS LIKE. It sounds like some cocaine-abusing L.A. producer named Brad “Bizness” Lorenzo asked some nerd to design a computer program that would write the most soulless, desperate-to-sound-sensitive mainstream radio rock tune the world has ever seen.

You, the man behind “Big Me” and “Money Wrench,” not only wrote this piece of musical terrorism, but also thought it was good enough to make the album? As a single? Dude, who the fuck cut off your balls? Courtney Love? Simon Cowell? Did you catch some rare Shittiness Disease off of Chad Kroeger?

There are some great bands out there today—Silversun Pickups, The Arcade Fire, The Gaslight Anthem—but very few that are creating old-school, furious rock music. I depend on you to be the one who’ll deliver the goods in that arena.

Instead, you’ve just become the music industry’s monkey wrench.

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