Speaking to Apple Music‘s Matt Wilkinson to mark Foo Fighters’ 25th anniversary, Grohl said that writing ‘This Is A Call’ – the band’s first major single – allowed him to go through an “awakening” after Cobain took his life in April 1994.
“Most of the songs on that first record had been around for a while. There were a couple that were newer,” Grohl said of the band’s 1995 self-titled debut.
“‘This Is A Call’ is probably the one song that… it had a different feel. It was a bit more uplifting than the other stuff that I’d written before. And especially coming after Kurt’s death, ‘This Is A Call’, it was like a renewal or a reawakening where I actually found joy in playing and writing. So it’s strange because when you’re in that moment and you’re in a period of loss or grief or mourning, it’s like you pick up an instrument and that just spills out.
“And it serves this like an exorcism where it feels good because you’re purging a lot of these feelings, but then it’s also a bummer. Every time I pick up a pen or a guitar and I’d start writing something, it was just depressing. And after a while, I’m like, “Oh God. Is that all I got?” And then ‘This Is A Call’, something like that really…it just felt okay. Even a song like Good Grief. I think that one might’ve come later. That one was maybe after Kurt had passed away. I’m sure it was, at least the lyrics were. But that was meant to represent the joy of sadness in a way, just feeling good about feeling bad.”
Grohl also opened up on the immediate aftermath of Cobain’s death, recalling how he travelled to the UK to take a break from music.
“After Kurt passed away, there was a period of everyone just hiding from the world and our whole world was turned upside down,” he explained.
“So there was grief, there was mourning. We all rallied together. I remember hanging out with Krist Novoselic and the two of us making sure that we were okay. And then I did a little bit of traveling. I remember going… I took a trip to the UK. I don’t know, I just did a lot of driving around and thinking. And eventually, I started getting calls from people to ask if I wanted to play drums with them or join another band, and I just didn’t see that happening at the time.
“And I’d always come home from tours and recorded songs by myself, but that feeling was gone. I didn’t really want to write or even listen to music, much less join a band and play in one. So it was strange, when your life is just pulled out from under you like that. I don’t think anyone really thought much about what came next.”
Grohl added: “You were stuck in that moment. So eventually, I just pulled myself off the couch and thought, ‘Okay, I’ve always loved playing music and I’ve always loved writing and recording songs for myself. So I feel like I need to do that just for myself.'”
It comes ahead of the 25th anniversary of the band’s debut album tomorrow (July 4).
The band were recently forced to rearrange their upcoming North American tour to mark the occasion — dubbed ‘The Van Tour’ and a number of their upcoming European tour and festival dates to 2021.