Popular Rock Band Smashes Drumset to Splinters on Stage! Justifable?

Vistalite Black

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Far Out Magazine has had some great drum articles recently (including Neil Peart's Genius Isolated Drum Tracks). Today brings a justification for Nirvana turning Dave Grohl's battered drumset into kindling on the Chicago stop of the band's 1991 club tour.

Perhaps there's a forumite who was there or who sold Grohl a replacement?

The link includes bootleg audio of what I'm sure was a thunderous Nirvana performance.

The surreal moment Nirvana smashed Dave Grohl's drum kit to smithereens


Throughout their meteoric rise, Nirvana never had anything handed to them on a silver platter. They worked their way up the ladder from toilet venues to selling out arenas in every city in the world. Their organic growth gave the band an affable charm, a very real sense of reliability and, with stories of a deliberately smashed up drum kits, is there any wonder?

The show in question took place just a matter of weeks following the release of Nevermind and, even though the group had just released one of the all-time seminal records, they continued to play in small venues. A year on from this performance in 1991, the band would have received as many drum kits that they could ever dream of. However, at this moment in time, budgets were tight. In order to ensure Dave Grohl had a shiny toy, the band needed to get creative.

“We were on tour in Chicago,” Dave Grohl remembered while appearing on Jimmy Fallon in 2014 alongside Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic. “Kurt had been chopping at my drums all tour, and my drums had holes in them. They sounded like crap because they had holes in them, and I kept asking our tour manager, ‘Can I please get a new drum set?’

“This was before we were playing big places and we were in clubs. He was like, ‘Wait another week’. Then he chopped more holes into it, and it was, ‘Wait another week’. So finally I said to Kurt, this was at The Metro in Chicago, I said, ‘Hey man, at the end of the gig we have to smash my drum kit to splinters’,” Grohl recalled.

Novoselic then revealed that a mogul from the record label at the Chicago gig was in attendance with the magic card that could secure Grohl a new drum kit. “We spent half an hour breaking those drums,” Grohl added. “We told the audience you can go home. It’s all good. Then the next day the drum place was closed,” the Nirvana drummer revealed.

The gig at the 1,100 capacity Metro in Chicago on October 12th, 1991, was one of the final times Nirvana would play clubs before graduating on to bigger things. Within two months of the show, Nevermind was selling 400,000 copies every week, and there would be no shortage of funds for instruments.

Seeing Nirvana in the flesh on the Nevermind tour, a time when it seemed inevitable that they were on the verge of becoming a household name and the mightiest group on the planet, was undoubtedly an out of body experience. The lucky crowd in Chicago that night weren’t just treated to a performance they’ll never forget, but they also got to witness Nirvana rip Dave Grohl’s drum kit to shreds for half an hour in a desperate plea for their record label to open their pockets.

Sadly, there’s no video from this show, but there is audio, which you can devour below.

The surreal moment Nirvana smashed Dave Grohl's drum kit (faroutmagazine.co.uk)
 

Deafmoon

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“Kurt had been chopping at my drums all tour, and my drums had holes in them. They sounded like crap because they had holes in them, ..."
 

Splat

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Never liked Nirvana and could never see the coolness abour trashing your equipment.
 

JimmySticks

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Sounds like just another one of those drug induced, excess, over-the-top rock and roll stories that doesn't age well. It can be pretty embarrassing to look back on those days, but I guess we were all young and dumb once.
 

Squirrel Man

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Where's that video of that drummer and singer brawling it out on stage?
 

sixplymaple

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Rock n Roll! I’m sure Dave has owned 100s of drum kits so who cares? It’s not like they were an unknown band playing to 10 people and then smashed their gear.
 

Deafmoon

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Rock n Roll! I’m sure Dave has owned 100s of drum kits so who cares? It’s not like they were an unknown band playing to 10 people and then smashed their gear.
Yes and Keith Moon used to trash his gear all the time.
 

wflkurt

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I saw Green Day in 1998 and Tre' Cool smashed a really nice Gibson made green sparkle Slingerland set to bits and then with the help of bassist Mike Dirnt, pushed the bass amps in and lit the whole thing on fire. It started off when Tre' did a running full on stage dive through the set. He then picked up a cymbal stand and proceeded to smash the crap out of the set. He and Mike pushed the amps on to the set and then the pile was lit on fire. I'll never forget it because Billy Joe did the encore alone. He came out in a shirt and tie with nothing else but his underwear on and did that solo number time of your life. The whole song he had one leg up on the smoking bass and drum equipment while strumming the guitar. To say that I was a little shocked was an understatement. The crowd went nuts but I was not expecting that at all. I think a state of shock was more like it. Lol...
 

Jay-Dee

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“Kurt had been chopping at my drums all tour, and my drums had holes in them. They sounded like crap because they had holes in them, ..."
Kurt might have chopped at my drums once, there wouldn't have been a second time.
 

Jay-Dee

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The issue I have with smashing up your instruments is it's pointless, not really that entertaining and has already been done before, probably originally by The Who a gazillion years ago (who claim they did it so they didn't have to do encores).

Each to their own but the senseless destruction of musical instruments (especially expensive ones) has never really appealed to me. If you don't want it, rather than smash up your gear, go and hand it to a kid or fan in the audience to keep. It'll give them a huge thrill and maybe even a start in life as a musician.
 

Jay-Dee

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Dave Grohl is the punchline to every drummer joke ever told in my opinion.
You're entitled to your opinion but he's pretty successful (but then so are the Kardashians too I guess) for a drummer joke punchline and is also a better drummer than he's usually given credit for on here.
 

Tornado

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Dave Grohl is the punchline to every drummer joke ever told in my opinion.
In today's world of quantized drums, samples, and other studio tomfoolery, Dave Grohl is one of the few rock drummers today that you can identify within 5 seconds of listening to him play. He elevates every track he plays on, which is why so many other musicians want him to play on their records. Even Tom Petty wanted Dave Grohl to drum for him. He has a deceptive simplicity about his playing that eludes a lot of drummers. As a drummer, it takes a bit of pride swallowing and maturity to really appreciate how great he is.
 


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