What It Felt Like To Reunite Nirvana Without Kurt Cobain, According to Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl Off Camera with Sam Jones

Dave Grohl is perhaps best known as the frontman for The Foo Fighters these days, but the musician started his career and rise to prominence as the drummer in Nirvana from 1990 to 1994. In the scheme of things, it was a short span of time. Yet, it was what propelled the music maker into stardom. It is one of the main reasons why Dave Grohl is one of the most famous and prolific musicians working today. He recently had a chance to reunite with the band that started it all and spoke out about the experience. Although, of course, there can never truly be a reunion of Nirvana, for music lovers were robbed of Kurt Cobain back in 1994.

And Dave Grohl knows it will never be the same Nirvana without Kurt Cobain around. However he is still happy for the opportunity to make music with the band that started it all for him. In an exclusive interview with Kerrang!, Grohl discussed the rare experience of playing Nirvana songs without Cobain.

When Pat, Krist and I sat down to go through those songs in a small rehearsal room with concrete walls, it fuckin' sounded like Nirvana. It was like being shot into outer space. Being able to play that drum fill and break into the chorus... it's spiritual, physical, emotional. We would look at each other and smile, but the emotions would kind of go in waves because there was someone missing -- and you wish that you could still share those songs with Kurt.

Dave Grohl, along with fellow former Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear, admit the experience was ultimately "bittersweet" because, as happy as he was to get together with the band and play a set at Cal Jam in San Bernardino, it was never going to be the same as it was in the early '90s. Simply because Kurt Cobain is gone for good, and while the group can recreate the sound they once defined as best they can, it won't ever be exactly what it was before.

This is the first time the remaining members got together since Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 2014. While everyone involved in the world famous band has moved on to different things, Novoselic also admitted it felt good to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" again.

It was odd, but it felt like a real treat. I caught myself beaming away during ... Teen Spirit. I couldn't quite believe I was playing it again, and I will cherish that moment for a long time because it was pretty special.

Nirvana may not be the same as it used to be, but it's comforting to know that Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear feel close enough to play a few of the band's original signature songs together, even after all these years. In doing so, they keep the memory of Cobain alive -- at least, in spirit.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.