If you’re good at what you do, people will recognize that.
From grade one to six you’re in this one school. And then you go to this new school. I went to this new school, and there was this girl. This girl named Sandy.
I stopped listening to music after Kurt died because it was so emotional just hearing it.
I love being a drummer. It’s such a nice position in a band. Everyone thinks you’re dumb.
I can truthfully say aloud that Gangnam Style is one of my favorite songs of the past decade.
Dave Grohl’s Top 10 Rules For Success
Evan: He’s an American rock musician, singer, songwriter, director and producer.
He’s best known as the former drummer of the grunge band Nirvana, and founder and front man of the rock band Foo Fighters.
In 2012, he was estimated to be the third wealthiest drummer in the world with a fortune of $225 million.
He’s Dave Grohl, and here’s my take on his top ten rules for success.
Rule number eight is my personal favorite, and I’m curious to figure out which one you guys like the best, As you’re watching Dave, if he says something really meaningful to you, make sure to put it in quotes in the comments below so other people can be inspired as well.
Dave Grohl’s Rules
- You have to be great
- Figure it out
- Chase your dreams
- Don’t lose your personality
- Do your own thing
- Find balance
- Just do it
- Cherish your voice
- Love what you do
- Be a rockstar!
Rule #1. You Have To Be Great
If you’re good at what you do, people will recognize that. I really believe it. I really believe that going out and playing good songs live as a great live band will make you successful. I really think it will. And it doesn’t matter if you’re at the, down the street or you’re on the side stage of Bonnaroo or you’re headlining Lalapalooza.
If you’re a great band with great songs, people will notice it. That’s it, that’s all it is. It’s that simple. product placement and labels and A&R people and all that It doesn’t matter. I swear to God it doesn’t matter. If you back that up with the idea that just playing those great songs in your great live band is enough reward for you then you’re set.
But you’ve got to be badass. You just have to be really good. It’s the other things that make up for your musical inability. As a drummer, I never felt like, I’m going to be on the cover of Modern Drummer magazine because I’m the best drummer in the world. I just knew that if you put me on stage without a PA or floor monitors in a small club, that I would beat the out of my drums so much that people would go, Goddamn, did you see that drummer?
Whoa. And I walk away from every show like, there you go. I just beat the piss out of those things and people saw it.
People took notice for sure.
And that was great! So at the end of the show I was as successful musician. Because I had achieved what I wanted to achieve. So I honestly believe it. I know lots of musicians that went down to South by Southwest and said well that’s easy for you to say.
Man, I was in the same position you are in 24 years ago. That was it. I worked at a furniture warehouse and I wanted people to like my music so I played out as much as I could. If you really, honestly, like I said, if you’re passionate and driven and focused in what you do, if you’re really good at it, people will take notice. That’s basically it. I don’t understand the industry. I don’t understand where music is headed.
I don’t really understand technology. I just know that when you walk into a club and you see a band that blows you away, you are going to follow that band. You’re either going to buy their CD or you’re going to find them online or you’re going to see them the next time they come to play.
That’s what it takes. You don’t have to stand in line at the song contest on TV to become a popular musician. To stand in front of some judge that doesn’t even play an instrument on their own Goddamn record telling you you’re not good enough, that. Go blow people away in their face. I honestly believe it’s that simple.
Rule #2. Figure It Out
I directed music videos before for The Foo Fighters. I mean, it’s easy. I honestly believe that if you’re focused and passionate and driven, you can achieve anything you want to achieve in life. I honestly believe that. Because you’ll figure it out. So I never took lessons to play the drums.
I just figured it out. I never to lessons to play guitar. I took maybe a few, but I just listened to Beatles records. I would listen and practice by myself in my bedroom obsessively. Throughout life, I’ve always kind of figured that that’s just how you do stuff. Like if you have a natural inclination and a real drive to do something, that you can figure it out.
Rule #3. Chase Your Dreams
Was playing the guitar your real dream, your childhood dream? Kind of, because when I was about 11 years old I was in I think seventh grade. From grade one to six, you’re in this one school. And then you go to this new school. I went to this new school and there was this girl.
This girl named Sandy. Oh she was so beautiful. She had big blue eyes and this perfect heart shaped face. I was instantly in love with this chick. So the first day I asked her, “Want to go steady with me?” She was like, “Okay” So every day I’d meet her at her locker and we’d kiss at the locker and then she’d get on her bus and I’d get on my bus and we’d go home and talk on the phone.
After seven days, she said, “You know, I’m new here “and I just don’t want to get tied down.” We were like 11 years old. “I don’t want to get tied into a relationship.” It absolutely broke my heart. I was heartbroken. And that night I had a dream that I was in an arena full of people and I was playing guitar. It’s this packed arena and they’re all going, “Yeah!” I’m playing and I look down and she’s staring at me and she’s crying.
My rock ‘n roll revenge. You could have been my girlfriend.
We all have this dream but we just don’t end up like The Foo Fighters, that’s the problem.
Dreams come true.
Rule #4. Don’t Lose Your Personality
Honestly, making albums to tape, it’s easy. I think that people get scared because there’s so much emphasis put on perfection now that that’s why people use computers. If you’re a drummer and you speed up a little bit or you slow down a little bit, you throw it in the computer and make it sound perfect.
Then if you sang a little bit sharp or a little flat, you can smooth all of that out. And it just makes it sound – you lose all the personality and character. Imagine if you Pro Tooled a Who record. It wouldn’t sound like The Who. It’s like, wow that’s tape. That’s Monkey Wrench.
That’s Monkey Wrench? That’s incredible.
It’s cool, you know? With computers, they’re great for some things. But when it comes to making a raw rock ‘n roll record, you just can’t beat it. You got to just go with tape.
Rule #5. Experiment
I stopped listening to music after Kurt died because it was so emotional just hearing it. I didn’t want to hear it on the radio. I didn’t want to play it. I didn’t want to join another band. Then after awhile I realized that it was the one thing that was going to help me get through everything.
So I started writing lyrics, I started writing songs. And I went and recorded this demo tape. A record company called and said, “Hey we want to release your record.” And I said, “That’s a demo, that’s not a band. “It’s a thing I did by myself in five days.”
You played every instrument?
Yeah, so then I started to think, wow maybe I will try this. I’ve never been the singer of a band.
Was it a tough transition from drummer to front man?
Absolutely, it took years, man. It look a long time.
Rule #6. Do Your Own Thing
The most important thing is that, whatever you’re doing, that it’s a representation of your voice. Say you’re using a computer or you’re using an oboe or you’re a drummer or a vocalist, whatever it is. The most important thing is that it’s really your voice. That it’s coming from you. But it has to come from you. It’s so easy just to grab a loop and hit play and let it do its thing – that, that’s somebody else’s loop.
That’s somebody else’s beat, man. Make your own beat. Take that guys beat, step on it and- it up and then put it out there, make it your own. You do that. I have always loved, whether it’s like Kraftwerk-I was one of the first dorks in my neighborhood to get a Prodigy record. In like 1990 or whatever year it was, or ’91. I didn’t have a pacifier and a glow stick. But I liked the idea. Thank you very much.
I liked the idea that these people were doing something new. It didn’t matter if it was as a computer or a drum machine. It was something new, it was really cool. But lately, what is that? The last two days I had pool parties for my kid’s friends. My wife turns on Pandora to the Blockbuster Hits station. It was like apocalyptic. I was terrified. I was like, the human race is going down such a dangerous path.
We’re all going to die. Everyone’s worried about asteroids. That, turn on the radio. That will scare the – out of you. I listen to that and I just don’t hear anyone. It’s like two stupid people talking to each other. There’s just nothing there. It’s devoid of anything. How could that be? It’s terrible. So the most important thing I honestly think, is you have to be able to take whatever it is that someone else is using and make it your own. Or just do your own thing.
Rule #7. Find Balance
I love being a drummer. It’s such a nice position in a band. Everyone thinks you’re dumb. What they don’t realize is that if it weren’t for you, their band would suck. I’ve always loved being the drummer. I don’t necessarily need to be the dude out front. I never imagined myself a front man.
At the same time, I don’t mind bringing the party to 85,000 people at the lip of the stage being the front man of the band. It’s nice to have both. There’s that balance between the two. If you ever start feeling like nobody’s paying attention to me. When then you go and sing in The Foo Fighters for awhile. Then when you’re like, Goddamn I’m sick of all this – go back to being the drummer in The Vultures or whatever.
Rule #8. Just Do It
It’s weird, as a musician, you want to be great. You want to be good. And you sort of set these funny expectations for yourself. One of the funniest things that Fogarty ever said to me, He was like, “Yeah, I was learning to play the drums “but I realized that I would never be as good “as John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, so I stopped.” Who is as good as John? Nobody. Like, what the – how could you do that? There should be no right or wrong. You should just be cool with what you do and how you sound.
It’s one of the things that I have a problem with a lot of those song contest shows on TV. Not only because it’s corporate cheese or whatever. But I have a problem with, like if my kid walked up on stage and sang her heart out as best as she could, and Jennifer Lopez said, “No, sorry that’s not good enough.” I would be so pissed. Because that’s not how it works. You should go to a yard sale and buy an old guitar. Then go find a friend and get them in your garage and then just suck and be awful.
And then write some songs and become the biggest band in the world. Because that’s how it works. It works other ways too, I’m sure. As a young musician, first of all, you’re not going to make a living doing it. Accept that, realize that. Because then if you do, you’re stoked. The reward of playing music, playing music should be the reward of playing music. That’s what you get.
When I was a little kid, or when I was playing punk rock music as a teenager, there was never any career opportunity because we played punk rock music. Nobody wanted to buy that. But we loved to do it. It was so much fun. If you start from a place like that. That you just love to create and you just love to play music and you can’t stop thinking about it and you do it every day and you do it by yourself or you do it with your friends.
And that’s enough for you to survive the rest of your life, that’s great. Then once you start getting good, you start playing for people. And once you start playing for people if you’re good, then those people will tell other people, “That band’s really good” So then all of a sudden you’re playing to all these different people. That to me is the most important thing. When it’s you on stage. When people see another person doing that, it’s really inspiring. It’s cool just to see a human being jamming, that’s great.
Rule #9. Cherish Your Voice
Guilt, guilt is cancer. It will confine you. Torture you. Destroy you as an artist. It’s a wall, it’s a black hole, it’s a thief. It will keep you from you. Remember learning your first song or riff or writing your first lyric? There was no guilt then. Remember when there was no right or wrong? Remember that simple reward of just playing music?
You are still and will always be that person at your core. The musician. And the musician comes first. Guilty pleasure. How about, just pleasure? I can truthfully say aloud that Gangnam Style is one of my favorite songs of the past decade. It is. Is it any better or worse than the latest Atoms for Peace album? Hmm.
If only we had a celebrity panel of judges to determine that for us. What would J Lo do? Paging Pitchfork, come in, come in, Pitchfork, we need you to help us determine the value of a song. Who cares. Who is to say what’s a good voice and what’s not a good voice? The Voice?
Imagine Bob Dylan standing there singing Blowing in the Wind in front of Christina Aguilera. Mmm, I think you sound a little nasally and sharp. It’s your voice. Cherish it, respect it, nurture it. Challenge it, stretch it, scream it until it’s gone. Because everyone’s blessed with at least that. And who knows how long it will last.
Rule #10. Love What You Do
Whether he’s playing protective dad, or Rock God, Dave Grohl is exactly where he wants to be. ♫ Is someone getting the best, the best, the best ♫ The best of you
People talk about the good old days. Well that, man, this is great.
Do you ever think, I want to do something else?
Nope, I don’t know how to do anything else. This is it. ♫ You trust, you must confess ♫ Getting the best, the best, the best ♫ Best of you I just love it. It’s really, really great. That sounds like – but it’s true.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Stuart Beale asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know which of Dave’s top ten rules had the biggest impact on you and why. What change you’re going to make in your business or in your life. Leave it in the comments and I will join in the discussion.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout out to Michael T. Cole. Michael, thank you so much for buying my book. It really means a lot to me.
For those of you watching, if you want your chance at a shout out in a future video, make sure to pick up a copy of the book and email in the receipt so we can keep track.
Thank you guys so much for watching. Continue to believe or whatever your one word is. And I’ll see you soon.
Be A Rockstar!
Hold on, hold on a second. Shh, quiet, ah, stop, stop. No no no no no no no no no. You don’t fight at my show, you-
Who’s that right there, let me see him. Who’s fighting right now? Who’s fighting? Let me see him. It’s that guy in the striped shirt right there. Hey, look at you! Hey, look at me! Hey, in the striped shirt, look at me right here. Look at me, look at me. Get the out of my show right now. Get the out. Get the – out of my show. Get the – out of my show right now.
You don’t come to my show and fight. You come to my show and dance, you – Get the – out of here. I’m not going to put up with that – You people came here to have a good time. Not put up with – I think I just broke my leg. I think I really broke my leg.
So look, you have my promise, right now, that The Foo Fighters, we’re going to come back and finish this show. But right now, you got to do, show me on the monitor right now. You got to do it. Can you do it? Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, right now, I’m going to go to the hospital.
I’m going to fix my leg. And then I’m going to come back and we’re going to play for you again. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. We’re going to do it. But right now, Taylor Hawkins. You got to do it, you got to do it.
So listen up, so listen up you all. Dave just broke his leg in a big way. So we’re not going to do a Foo Fighters show tonight but he really wants us, because we love him so much, he wants us to play a couple songs for you guys. Now they’re not going to be Foo Fighters songs.
We’re just going to have a little bit of fun with you guys. Just do a couple songs before we go. Do you want us to do that? Are you sure? Let’s do this for Dave, okay. We’re not going to do a whole long set but we’re going to play a couple songs for you. Just a couple party songs.
Then we’re going to come back with Dave. It won’t be tonight but we’ll come back and we’ll play to all of you guys and we’ll do an even longer Foo Fighters show, okay? We love you, Dave! We love you, Dave! All he was doing was busting his ass for you guys.
We’re going to play a couple songs. We’re going to have a little bit of fun. And then you guys go home and get home early. But we’re going to come back, okay? Do you want to hear a couple songs for fun?
♫ Let me out ♫ Pray tomorrow gets me higher ♫ Day day de mm hm ♫ Da da da ba ba ♫ Chipping around, kick my brains around the floor ♫ These are the days it never rains but it pours ♫ Ee do ba be ♫ Ee da ba ba ba ♫ Um bo bo ♫ Be lap ♫ People on streets ♫ Ee da de da de ♫ People on streets ♫ Ee da de da de da de da ♫ It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about ♫ Watching some good friends screaming ♫ Let me out ♫ Pray tomorrow gets me higher, higher, high ♫ Pressure on people, people on streets ♫ Turned away from it all like a blind man ♫ Sat on a fence but it don’t work ♫ Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn ♫ Why, why, why? ♫ Love, love, love, love, love ♫ Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking ♫ Can’t we give ourselves one more chance? ♫ Why can’t we give love that one more chance? ♫ Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love ♫ Give love, give love, give love, give love, give love? ♫ Because love’s such an old fashioned word ♫ And love dares you to care for ♫ The people on the edge of the night ♫ People on streets ♫ And love dares you to change our way of ♫ Caring about ourselves ♫ This is our last dance ♫ This is our last dance ♫ This is ourselves under pressure ♫ Under pressure ♫ Under pressure ♫ Pressure