Dave Grohl Clarifies Grammy Speech

Dave Grohl said some stuff during his Grammy acceptance speech that came across as anti-digital, anti-technology, anti-Skrillex that he thought he should clarify (of course, the whole juxtaposition of his “long live the rock!” speech at odds with his band’s performance with Deadmau5 later in the broadcast. The Grammys, ladies and gents!). Here’s Dave, via press release:

Oh, what a night we had last Sunday at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The glitz! The Glamour! SEACREST! Where do I begin?? Chillin’ with Lil’ Wayne…meeting Cyndi Lauper’s adorable mother…the complimentary blinking Coldplay bracelet…..much too much to recap. It’s really is still a bit of a blur. But, if there’s one thing that I remember VERY clearly, it was accepting the Grammy for Best Rock Performance…and then saying this:

“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].”

Not the Gettysburg Address, but hey……I’m a drummer, remember?

Well, me and my big mouth. Never has a 33 second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil’ ode to analog recording has. OK….maybe Kanye has me on this one, but….Imma let you finish….just wanted to clarify something…

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.

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.

And, unfortunately, some of these great advances have taken the focus off of the actual craft of performance. Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell…I’m not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really fucking hard so that I don’t have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that’s what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real.

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?)

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.

Now, I think I have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn.

Stay frosty.


I feel like Grohl is maybe overstating the backlash here, but then again, the second thing that autopopulated a Google search for Dave Grohl was “Dave Grohl grammy speech” so, I guess that says it all.

Comments (19)
  1. I still want to see what this guy’s “garage” looks like alongside the receipt for how much this so-called tape machine that Wasted Light was recorded on actually costs.

  2. After his speech, LMFAO started playing…. smh.

  3. I love electronic music too, but I think he’s just trying to say that there maybe isn’t enough mainstream recognition of your average rock n roll songwriter. It’s not really offensive though. Besides, let’s be honest, no electronic musician will every lyrically equate Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello or even earlier Dave Grohl. It’s not music made for songwriters, it’s music made for hyper-technical engineers, and they’re nowadays a bit over-recognized in comparison to the truly groundbreaking ones(Jamie Xx, Nicolas Jaar, Tim Hecker, etc.). But how bout Glen Campbell??? Hell yea! Kickin’ ass more than any young country singer out there!

    • Not to say that James Blake is on a lyrical level of those you’ve mentioned, but I’d say his emergence is a sign of more songwriter-focused electronic music. We may see a future legendary lyricist twisting knobs sometime soon.

      • “We may see a future legendary lyricist twisting knobs sometime soon.”

        Following the path bravely cleared by Wesley Willis, the electronic singer-songwriter age is upon us.

  4. I watched the grammies and heard his acceptance speech and it did not shock me, there wasn’t anything in his speech that would make me want to go and blog about it. People are so sensitive and his words were misconstrued. When he said the “Human Element”, what I understood was the human spirit that goes into making music be it Electronic or Rock and Roll. That is putting your mind, body, and soul into it. I don’t understand how his speech made a shitstorm of judgmental idiots go complain and blog about it but hey I guess it shows how much people’s intelligence is diminishing or they are just not poetic enough.

  5. I love that he still thinks of himself as a drummer even though he has been a songwriter and front man for the Foo Fighters for over 15 years. I am not the biggest fan of their music, but it is hard to hate Dave Grohl, he is just so passionate about the music he makes.

  6. What he said was pretty clear. Pitch Correction and getting 50 takes to achieve perfection and then processing the crap out of that perfect take sounds bad. If anyone misconstrued it, they have serious sensitivity issues. He said nothing of Electronic Music.

    It’s a shame he had to correct himself. I don’t even really like the Foo Fighters, and to be honest – I’d make any argument that a guy who runs his guitars through a huge chain of pedals and processors shouldn’t be talking about how one hides their mistakes through technology – even a distortion pedal alone could be argued as a way one manipulates sound to appear better than one is (distortion + reverb certainly masks intricate articulation errors)

    Anyways, what a brutal press release.

  7. I like Dave and what the Foo Fighter’s stand for. I wish their music these days was AS likable. But dang, that song they played is terrible, like a lot of their stuff lately. Remarkably un-catchy.

    • I don’t think the issue is that their new music isn’t catchy, I think it just isn’t as well written or as original. Their two singles from their new album sound very similar to each other and a lot of the latter day music.

  8. I don’t think he should have apologized. It was understood that he didn’t mean “people who make electronic music are bad”, he was just railing against the talentless canned 4-chord ‘music’ that’s all the rage. I’m actually surprised that the dum-dums who listen to that stuff actually understood the words he was saying.

    I just read that thing with the people saying “who is paul mccartney/who is bon iver/ bonnie bear”. I am really sad.

  9. but what was goblin recorded on?

  10. Although I understand what he is trying to say, I still want to point on something. He’s talking about loving all kinds of music including dancemusic. But Dancemusic/electronic music is made with computers/drumcomputers/autotune voices. Listen to a song of Skrillex or Deadmau5 on youtube, then you’ll hear that. He says that the ‘human element’ in these songs is being made by the artists.

    But what is the difference then between Skrillex/Deadmau5 and for instance Rihanna or Britney Spears? The albums of Rihanna are also made by a producer who puts drumbeats and autotune voices together in a computer. The producer is putting the ‘human element’ in the songs. What is the difference between artists as Skrillex/Deadmau5 and for instance the Rihanna with Coldplay song?

  11. in the end its all subjective, one person could love deadmau5 and hate the foo fighters or vice versa, either genre isn’t necessarily harder to make than the other one. if you like a song listen to it. if you don’t like a song then don’t listen to it, people are always gonna argue that this group is better than that group or that the music they listen to better than the music you listen to. in the end just listen to whatever you like, different strokes for different folks man.

  12. Grohl’s always been way too nice, he shoulda just played the bad guy rockstar card here and said ‘if you cant play an instrument or sing live you SUCK!!! viva rock!’ but he can’t do that because of the nice guy precedent he set eons ago. it’s why even though he was one of the VERY few good quality acts left on MTV in those lean early 2000s when rap rock was running rampant, he didn’t say ONE word against the Kid Rock and Fred Dursts. KURT woulda, any punkers woulda. And it took til ‘Starfuckers Inc’. for Manson and Reznor someone to finally speak up on that shit. You should go big or go home on this shit Dave, it’s OK to rip the fuck out of someone, even specifically…hey, remember “HI AXL!! HI AXL!!!” ?? those were good times…and they could be good again:)

  13. It’s the battle of ghost vs. machine.
    Every ten years or so, some rock n’ roller says the same thing.
    It’s so beautiful…
    All of it.

    Is rock n’ roll dead?

    No, of course not.

    Thousands of bands form and break up…..Daily.

    What separates the good ones from the pretenders?

    When I saw the White Stripes opening up for Sleater Kinney back in the day, I was only slightly impressed…..I thought the drummer sucked….

    …….I’ve looked people in the eye and said, “Nice set,” even though I thought their performance (and music) was unimpressive…”stock.”

    So much of what I hear can be described with one word.
    Just because you’re “indie” or “local” doesn’t mean the music is compelling.


    There are only a few true artists out there, I believe.

    Look at major motion pictures…..80% are total crap….

    Now, don’t get me wrong.

    It’s better to be in the ring, and stomped by the bull, then to be watching from the stands….

    All folks who present their creations on stage, no matter the art form, deserve credit for having the balls….

    I’m just saying…..I listen closely.

    Hope your day is going well.

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