Once upon a time, Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses were viewed as mortal enemies. When NME called Kurt Cobain’s band “the Guns N’ Roses it’s okay to like”, the inference was that Seattle group had the same wild energy, outsider attitude and killer rock anthems as Axl Rose’s group, minus the traces of sexism, homophobia and racism that made the LA quintet objectionable. Ironically, Axl Rose actually loved Nirvana, so much so that he invited Cobain’s group to a) play at his birthday party and b) open up for GN’R on the Use Your Illusion stadium tour, but when both offers were snubbed, a war of words between the two camps escalated, resulting in a memorable clash between Cobain and Rose at the 1992 MTV Awards.
But time moves on, and old tensions fade: by 2010 Nirvana’s former drummer Dave Grohl was jamming with Slash and Duff McKagan on Watch This on Slash’s self-titled debut album.
“We were young and were fucked up and in this bizarre fantasy world of rock ’n’ roll,” Grohl recalls in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which he guest edits, looking back on the ’90s. ‘We were fucking kids. And the years went by and we all realised: ‘Come on, man, life is too short’.”
As a much loved ‘face’ on the Seattle punk scene before he moved to LA and joined Guns N’ Roses, Duff McKagan always had a foot in both camps, and so Dave Grohl wouldn’t have been hugely surprised to see the bassist’s number pop up on his phone in the summer of 2017. What he didn’t expect, was that McKagan was calling to ask if Axl Rose could borrow Grohl’s throne. Guns’ frontman had busted his foot during a warm-up show for their …Not In This Lifetime tour at the Roxy in LA, putting the whole tour in jeopardy, but then someone in the GN’R camp recalled that Dave Grohl had toured using a throne after breaking his leg during a show in Sweden in 2015…
“So Axl took it out with Guns N’ Roses, then he took it out with AC/DC, and then all of a sudden I became the guy you come to if you break a limb on tour, like Thrones R Us,’ Grohl relates in Classic Rock.
As a thank you to Grohl, Axl Rose wanted to get the Foo Fighters leader a gift, something rather more expensive and significant than the standard box of chocolates/bunch of flowers/bottle of whiskey.
“He had Slash go pick me a guitar,” Grohl reveals. “And he picked me an early-’60s Gibson ES 335 Dot, which to this day is the nicest fucking guitar I have ever played in my life. It was an incredibly kind and classy gesture, and I was very appreciative.”
Grohl’s anecdote is just one of many in an action-packed new issue of Classic Rock magazine. Other features include Rainbow, Siouxsie And The Banshees, King Crimson, Bob Mould, The Police, the Walker Brothers, Happy Chichester, Parquet Courts, plus David Bowie, the Cadillac Three, X-Ray Spex, Cardiacs, Charlie Starr and more… Not forgetting the biggest and loudest rock reviews section on the planet.