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This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl [Kindle Edition]

Paul Brannigan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Book Description

‘Someone called and said Kurt died. I just f*****g lost it.’

He has sold over 40 million albums. He’s been in bands that have changed popular music forever. He saw his best friend commit suicide. He starts supergroups. He’s the nicest guy in rock.

From Nirvana to Foo Fighters, from brotherhood to bitter rivalry, from breathless highs to lifeless lows, Paul Brannigan gives an unparalleled, intimate and extraordinary account of the life and times of Dave Grohl.

In 1990, little-known punk-metal upstarts Nirvana added a new drummer to the band. They were soon to become a global phenomenon – but as we all know, things went wrong. Dave's friend Kurt, frontman of Nirvana, took his own life, plunging the band and their future into chaos. His friends’ grief was mirrored by worldwide sorrow to an unprecedented degree.

Defying expectations, a knack that was soon to become his trademark, Grohl refused to see it as the end. In 1995 his new band, the Foo Fighters, rose to join the pantheon of rock deities.

The 'wonder years' were by no means calm. The spotlit existence imposed by his celebrity status, the bellowed vilification by his critics and his high-speed lifestyle proved a dangerous cocktail.

With an account of Grohl’s life that is more personal than anything written before, more startling, more thrilling, more heart-rending and more inspiring, Paul Brannigan reveals Dave fully for the first time.

This is the story of the man who changed music forever.

Product Description


"Buffalo"" News," 9/23/11"Getty Images Offers a thorough--if unauthorized--biography touching on all aspects of Grohl's career, and paints a fully detailed portrait of the man. Brannigan's knowledge of his subject is encyclopedic, based on his own interviews, and worth celebrating simply for the manner in which he is able to place Grohl's work in the context of post-punk history.""Booklist, "11/1/11"Brannigan not only offers a penetrating portrait of Grohl the man but also presents an indelible portrait of the American underground-rock scene." "Kirkus Reviews, "11/15/11"Brannigan salutes a musician who's surfaced, prosperous and sane, from the perils of an extended punk-rock adolescence that not all of his friends survived. Reverent and informative.""Alternative Press," December 2011"[A] well-researched bio...A fascinating read, "This Is a Call" doesn't skimp on entertaining anecdotes, juicy gossip or evidence of Grohl's immense songwriting talent." "Mojo," December 2011"Grohl and his groups [are] dissected with gumption.""New York"" Daily News, "10/28/11"The leader of the Foo Fighters comes off as music's most affable man, but it turns out there's more turmoil in the ranks than it seems.""Q Magazine," January 2011"Quite an achievement...Brannigan draws on his own interviews with Grohl, among others, to plot a compelling journey...A big-hearted, fascinating read.", 11/30/11"There is a lot to like about this book in which Brannigan gives us a real insider's view of Grohl and his rise to the top...The stories are interesting in that they show Grohl as not just a rock hero but as a huge admirer of music who basically just wanted to join the scene that moved him so. There are also more than a share of personal stories that humanize Grohl and his various band mates exposing their vulnerabilities perhaps more than ever before.", 11/30/11"[Brannigan] manages to paint a picture of the musical atmosphere that tracks Gro


'Grohl and his groups dissected with gumption.' **** Mojo 'Brannigan draws on his own interviews with Grohl, among others, to plot a compelling journey! ending with Foo Fighters headlining stadia. A big-hearted, fascinating read.' Q 'A rich history of recent pop music as it moves from punk and hard-core to grunge to indie bands' New York Times 'Impeccably-researched, thoroughly entertaining, and packed with rich new insights, This is a Call will enjoy a place among the absolute best music biographies of the past twenty years.' 'A fascinating read! doesn't skimp on entertaining anecdotes, juicy gossip or evidence of Grohl's immense songwriting talent.' Alternative Press 'Brannigan not only offers a penetrating portrait of Grohl the man but also presents an indelible portrait of the American underground-rock scene.' Booklist 'Brannigan salutes a musician who's surfaced, prosperous and sane, from the perils of an extended punk-rock adolescence that not all of his friends survived. Reverent and informative.' Kirkus Reviews 'Dave Grohl's tale covers so many bases after 30 or so years in the business that it takes a biographer of consummate skill to get it all down on paper without missing anything out. Fortunately, ex-Kerrang! editor Paul Brannigan has what it takes!What lingers most is the expert way in which so many disparate slices of history are interlaced. After reading This Is a Call, you'll know much more than you did before about the way that US hardcore merged into Seattle grunge, and how rock shed its skin in the 90s!It's info such as that which makes this book essential.' Record Collector

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3474 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (29 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IH02ZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,978 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A former editor of Kerrang! magazine and music journalist for 20 years, Paul Brannigan is the author of Sunday Times bestseller 'This Is A Call', 'Birth School Metallica Death' (co-written with Ian Winwood) and 'Thinking Out Loud: The Wit and Wisdom of Lemmy.' The first volume of a two part Metallica biography, 'Birth School Metallica Death' was nominated by The Sunday Times, The Independent and NME as one of the best music books of 2013. The second volume, 'Into The Black: The Inside Story of Metallica 1991-2014' is out now.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Dan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Full disclosure - I have huge respect for Dave Grohl and have been lucky enough to see him live in London on nine occasions with four of his bands over the last 23 years (Nirvana x 3 / QOTSA x 1 / Them Crooked Vultures x 2 / Foo Fighters x 3). I also came to this book a good 2-3 years after it was first published. Having read the other reviews of this book, they are fair and balanced - this book will largely hit your sweet spot if you have a penchant for detail about the US hardcore/metal scene in the 1980's (I do and I loved this part of the book) & the Nirvana years. The book is well written and is positive and kind about Mr. Grohl's output - I personally find a lot of later period Foo Fighters to be be rather bland - whilst not seemingly finding digging very deep into revealing more about Dave as a person. The quotes are from interviews and other media sources, so whilst the author has had some good access when new releases were being promoted, this is not an authorised biography. There is almost a total lack of embarrasing stories - a man who drinks absinthe out of choice and who has been a touring muscian for over 25 years will have many notable stories of debauchery - none feature here. There is much detail in the book for even the comitted fan, I bought the Probot album due to this book - I love it - and the overall quality of the writing made this a highly enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Rae Gee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If there's one thing I DON'T want to read in my lifetime, it's an authorised biography of Dave Grohl. Because there is no way this guy is anywhere near finished what he's been put on this planet for. Music biographies, especially more recently, seem to be for those who know that they're coming to the end of their careers and are looking to get some kind of time line of their life down on paper before they potter off into a retirement of reunion tours and speaking circuits. I have a feeling that Dave is nowhere near that point, and probably never will be.

However, this book isn't just a look at Grohl's life. It's more a way to connect the dots between the punk, grunge, and 1990's (onwards) rock scene and Grohl's personal involvement with them. For me, it was an inspiring book of one guy who dropped out of high school, chased his dreams and caught them thereby changing the face of music as we know. It's definitely a kick up the ass for any of us who work in the arts and constantly find ourselves facing the proverbial brick walls (if you're looking for another kick up the ass, I highly recommend Grohl's 2013 SXSW Keynote speech. It's not just for the musicians!).

If you're looking for a book that focuses on rock n' roll excess, this isn't the one for you. This is a book that, especially in Grohl's eyes, is about the most important thing of all: The music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Looking at the definition of unauthorised, we confirm that it means "not having official permission" so it strikes me as rather strange that the author, who goes to some lengths to assure us that he is such good friends with the subject would write a book about him without checking with him. Surely if you considered yourself such a good friend you wouldn't be writing a book in the first place. What sort of friend would do that?...

Financial and egotistical motives aside this book is not a biography in the conventional sense, it's more a study/history of Indi/alternative music from the US from the late 70s onwards. The book opens up with some excruciatingly cringeworthy descriptions of the author meeting his subject. It comes across like some school kid making juvenile attempts to ingratiate himself into the cool kids affections. We soon get past this and into the story of Dave.

You could be forgiven, if after reading the first 100 odd pages for thinking that you were actually reading, an unauthorised, biography of Ian MacKaye or the Dischord label. In fact it borrows so much from previous work it really is like re-reading "Our Band Could Be Your Life" again but with some vague and tenuous references to Dave Grohl's life crowbarred in to somehow pad it all out. In fact the author repeatedly rambles on for pages at a time without even mentioning Grohl and usually when he gets round to his supposed main subject again we are forever reminded that this is just cut and pasted from many other sources.

The next 100 plus pages take us into the story of Nirvana.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a fan of the Foos and Dave Grohl and have seen them live, watched films etc over the years so I thought that I'd enjoy this book and finding out more of Dave's backstory. Although I'm a fan, I'm not obsessive or nerdy about Grohl and his life and times, so perhaps I'm the wrong audience for this book; this seems to be for hardcore 'tell me everything' acolytes, rather than the moderately intrigued.

The introduction is great and sets the scene with Paul Brannigan's relationship with Grohl. However you get the feeling the focus of the book is starting to drift when the author starts talking about Grohl's ancestors without really relating it back to him. The recollection of Grohl's childhood and family, and in particular his fascination with particular records, bands and instruments is great. It puts his much memed quote about leaning to play your own music and not join the x factor queue, into perspective

I lost interest in the book (and by lost interest I mean I actually fell asleep mid chapter out of boredom) when Brannigan documents seemingly every single band that were around during Grohl's youth. It's hard to summon an enthusiasm for lists of groups you have never heard of or their tracks that you will never hear. This would be forgivable if it was all relevant but there seemed to be pages and pages where Grohl was forgotten and it was all about obscure underground scenes and the people in them. This is where I stopped reading so perhaps it got better after this.

Overall the book could have done with a heavier editorial touch to make it more readable. I just don't have time to skim read the 'times' and to get to the 'life of'. Either than or it could be great in audio format with clips of tracks that the author alludes to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously if you like the Foo's or anything Mr Grohl has ever done ...
Absolutely riveting read ! Struggled to put it down Read it in one sitting had to put it down a couple of times when my supervisor came and give me a couple of jobs to do ( Grrrrr! Read more
Published 25 days ago by Mowgli
3.0 out of 5 stars ...
a gift for a friend, went down fairly well although i haven't read it myself
Published 1 month ago by A. J. Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars More about the writer than the subject
Exhaustive and well-researched account of the life and career of Dave Grohl. Though well written, it's slightly annoying how keen Brannigan is to constantly let the world know he... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris saunders
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good book.
Published 1 month ago by julie davison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant read
Published 2 months ago by richard moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a great read very detailed
Such a great read very detailed, and funny chapters are long buy just a great excuse not to put the book down. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Flannen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good read, recommend
Published 2 months ago by Ms J Eden
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Nicola Busby
4.0 out of 5 stars So good we have 2 copies
I both bought this as a gift and received it too.

It gives a good insight into the Seattle punk scene and when read with "it's so easy" by Duff McKagan, gives a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JMcG
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good read
Published 4 months ago by Alastair Mitchell
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