Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl raises the bar on Kurt Cobain
From this week's proceedings in the Court of Public Opinion, Case #89675-B: The People vs. Dave Grohl.
"The defense may now present its closing arguments."
"Thank you, your honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: As you know, my client, David Eric Grohl, leader of the band Foo Fighters, has been accused of voluntary earslaughter. With only the flimsiest of evidence — an accessible, mainstream pop-rock song here and there; chart-topping albums and millions in record sales; the occasional lighthearted, comedic video — the prosecution has characterized him as a modern-rock musical midget. You've heard him smeared as a hack and slandered as the owner of a back catalog of many dozens of mediocre, forgettable, and in some cases, 'absolutely awful' songs. And, most damning of all, you've heard suggestions that talent-wise, he is nowhere even close to his late Nirvana bandmate, Kurt Cobain — a man repeatedly referred to in these proceedings as 'god-like,' or simply, 'God.'
"Ladies and gentlemen, not only is my client innocent of these scurrilous charges and claims, but I am here to tell you that he should be held in higher esteem than Mr. Cobain."
[A collective gasp comes from the gallery.
"First of all, there is my client's longevity. Foo Fighters have been a band for 13 years, which is exactly twice as long as Nirvana was around. There is something to be said for sticking around, as my client himself once put it, in the face of the music industry's ups and downs. You might argue that, like a baseball player who hangs around long after his prime to amass 3,000 hits, longevity is irrelevant, but my client has performed at a consistently high level, both in the studio and onstage, for the entirety of his career.
"Furthermore, conventional wisdom suggests that had Mr. Cobain still been alive all these years, he would have amassed a stupendous body of work. However, based on statistics I have compiled from the history of rock 'n' roll, I have determined there is only a 7 percent chance that Mr. Cobain's entire oeuvre would have been excellent. I believe the evidence I presented as Exhibit C — David Bowie's catalog — also proves this point beyond a shadow of a doubt. The chances are much higher that Mr. Cobain would have stumbled creatively, so on that basis alone, it is unfair to rank him higher than my client.
"Which brings me to the songs. Mr. Grohl has demonstrated an ability to write a diverse array of material — in mood, substance, and sound. He can do dark and heavy and aggressive and alienating; he can do light and poppy and melodic and appealing. He's written about love, heroes, family, cows, and Courtney Love . . . I mean, phony actors. Not all his songs are about self-loathing and stomach problems. I contend that being trapped in a pit of despair and drug addiction, and howling about it along to a couple of chords, does not automatically make one a genius songwriter.
"Finally, my client is clearly a better musician than Mr. Cobain — even Mr. Grohl's most ardent detractors will admit that he's one of the greatest drummers in rock history, up there with such names as Bonham, Moon, and Peart. Also let me say that he is dependable and relatable, an everyman with an unimpeachable work ethic who always provides solid songs and live shows. He is not an erratic flake known more for a tabloid lifestyle than his musical work.
"I implore you to think long and hard about Mr. Grohl's career with Foo Fighters, and reject these outrageous charges. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I eagerly await your verdict."
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