The upcoming biography This Is A Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl reveals the drummer, already fed up of tensions within the band, decided he’d had enough after overhearing Cobain talking about him on a plane.
The book by Paul Brannigan, to be released on September 29, explains that by 1993, Nirvana had more or less split into two alienated camps with Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic in one, Cobain and wife Courtney Love in the other.
According to the author, the “sickness at the heart of Nirvana” became too much for Grohl to bear during a flight with the band from Seattle to Los Angeles.
In the book, Grohl says: “Kurt was kinda f—ed up. And I heard him talking about how s—-y a drummer I was.”
At the flight’s end, Grohl learned from Novoselic that Cobain wanted him to “play more like” Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters, who’d briefly occupied Nirvana’s throne prior to Grohl. This was the last straw for Grohl, who called Nirvana’s tour manager Alex McLeod and told him he wanted “out” of the band.
I just want to f—ing play music. I don’t want to have to deal with any of this craziness.
Fortunately, MacLeod calmed the drummer down and Grohl decided to stay and carry on in a professional manner. Brannigan adds that he doubts word of the incident ever reached Cobain.
The author, a former editor of Kerrang!, says his “gut instinct” is that Nirvana would still be around if Cobain hadn’t taken his life in 1994, but that Grohl probably wouldn’t be a part of it.
“Dave was very aware that Nirvana was Kurt and Krist’s band, and that as lifelong friends, they shared a bond which went beyond music,” he says. “At some point I feel that Dave would have parted company with the pair.”
To mark the 20th anniversary of ‘Nevermind’, the band’s seminal 1991 album, NME is organising a listening party at 1pm (GMT), which you can take part in using the Twitter hashtag #Nevermindlive. We’ll retweet the best comments over at @NMEMagazine.