Dave Grohl + Ringo Starr Reflect on Losing Kurt Cobain, John Lennon + George Harrison
Tragedy seems to strike all too often in the lives of musicians, especially those who lose a bandmate. Ringo Starr of The Beatles and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters recently sat down together with Rolling Stone, and reflected on the similar experiences they've shared in their careers — including the death of bandmates.
Grohl started learning how to play musical instruments thanks to his interest in The Beatles, but what did Ringo Starr think the first time he heard Nirvana? "Absolutely great, and the man himself [Kurt Cobain] had so much emotion. That’s what I loved. I’m an emotional guy. No one can doubt Nirvana, ever," he praised.
After Starr explained how courageous Cobain was, the discussion took a turn toward what became of the frontman's fate. "I don’t know the end story, and it’s not about him, and we lose a lot of people in our business early," Starr began. "And you think, 'How harsh must it have been?'"
"When John [Lennon] went, I was in the Bahamas," he continued. "I was getting a phone call from my stepkids in L.A. saying, 'Something’s happened to John.' And then they called and said, 'John’s dead.' And I didn’t know what to do. And I still well up that some bastard shot him."
The Beatles drummer then reflected on the passing of George Harrison, who was nearing his end when he offered to accompany Starr to Boston for his daughter's upcoming operation. "How many people say great things like that to you, really give themselves?" he questioned.
Cobain's death was just as sudden and unexpected as Lennon's had been — shocking the entire world all at once. "I realized when Kurt died that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve," Grohl said. "It takes funny turns. You’ll be numb. You’ll remember the good things, then you’ll turn and remember some dark times. I stayed away from music for a while. I wouldn’t even turn on the radio."
But, Grohl eventually realized music was helping him through the grieving process, so he started writing songs on his own — thus the Foo Fighters were born. Nirvana songs, on the other hand, are still sometimes difficult for Grohl to play. "I haven’t played those Nirvana songs more than a few times in the last 26 years. In some ways, they’re off-limits, unfortunately," he admitted.
Thinking back on the times he did reunite with Krist Novoselic, Grohl added, "And it’s a funny feeling, because it feels like you’re back together with your friends from the band, but there’s just something missing."
66 Most Important Moments in Metal History