Dave Grohl’s acceptance speech during the Grammy Awards telecast made a lot of people mad. Taking to the podium to give thanks for the Foo Fighters’ Best Rock Album win for Wasting Light, Grohl said: “To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do . . . It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”
A lot of people took that as a dig at computer-based music — which constitutes, what, 90 percent of popular, forward-thinking music these days? It was weirdly tone-deaf thing for Grohl to say, reminiscent of how people back in the day used to complain that rap didn’t require musical talent or, further back, rock was just a bunch of noise. Also, the thinking went, if Grohl felt this way, why did he perform later on in the show with Deadmau5?
It took a little while, but Grohl, who is truly and honestly one of the good guys in rock, apparently came to realize that he’d ended up looking vaguely hypocritical and clearly curmudgeonly. So today he released a statement explaining what he really meant with his speech. Here are the most salient excerpts, along with our accompanying interpretations of the points he’s trying to make:
In related news, SPIN parsed what all the dance music at the Grammys really meant… or didn’t.
“I love music. I love ALL kinds of music. From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to Deadmau5…..I love music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn’t matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician’s personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and…..human.”
What Grohl means here is best summed up with a syllogism: Dave Grohl likes all kinds of music. Electronic music is a kind of music. Therefore, Dave Grohl likes electronic music and all the people who actively consume it have no ideological reason not to totally feel okay about the Foo Fighters. Which is true. Through there’s probably not a ton of overlap in the Venn diagram that contains people who care about Foo Fighters and those who would actively disdain the band as a result of a perceived slight on its part against electronic music. Still, Grohl and EDM: Water under the bridge.
“That’s exactly what I was referring to. The “human element.” That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like PEOPLE. Somewhere along the line those things became “bad” things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily “fixed.” The end result? I my humble opinion…..a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.”
Translation: Grohl is sticking to his guns. Though using subjective, highly arguable terms like “personality”, “perfect”, and “the human element”, means those guns are tiny little peashooters that couldn’t pierce wet paper. Point taken, though.
“I don’t know how to do what Skrillex does (though I fucking love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that’s badass. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the “craft” is equally as important, I’m sure. I mean…..if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right? (See what I did there?)
Dave Grohl is not Skrillex. He thinks Skrillex is talented. We can all agree on this.
So, don’t give me two Crown Royals and then ask me to make a speech at your wedding, because I might just bust into the advantages of recording to 2 inch tape.
Seriously, don’t. Why? As Grohl himself said, “Crown gives you the shits.” Why risk it? Especially at your wedding.
Now, I think I have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn.
I.e. I am aware that I may have come off as a crusty old codger.
No clue what this means.
Grohl signs the letter, “Davemau5.”
Presumably he then went back to that garage studio he mentions in every interview, which is actually kinda funky looking — and where he keeps cans of SPAM! Answer for that, Dave Grohl!
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