Dave Grohl Reveals Where He Stole the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Drum Part From
"How did I not hear that?" responds Pharrell Williams
Published Jul 02, 2021Nirvana's Nevermind contains some truly iconic rhythm parts by drummer Dave Grohl, and he has now revealed where he stole his ideas from — classic disco.
This unexpected revelation comes from Grohl's Paramount+ show From Cradle to Stage, in which the Nirvana/Foo Fighters rocker sat down with producer Pharrell Williams. Grohl said all of the songs on Nevermind borrow from classic disco groups like the Gap Band, Cameo and Chic's Tony Thompson. This caused Williams to make a "mind-blown" gesture and respond, "How did I not hear that?"
In particular, the big opening drum fill of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is nearly a direct lift from drum opening the Gap Band's song "Burn Rubber."
Below, watch Williams and Grohl discuss these disco influences, and check out the very similar drum parts from "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Burn Rubber."
Grohl is leaning into his disco influences even more this year, as Foo Fighters have recorded a Bee Gees covers album under the name Dee Gees for this month's Record Store Day.