What Drives Us and how it made me think on our relationship with music

You may, or may not, have seen that a Mr Dave Grohl seems to be on a bit of a publicity drive just recently. His band, the Foo Fighters released their tenth studio album, Medicine at Midnight, back in February, but he’s also been on a number of chat shows, performed with his daughter and is, apparently, on a campaign to aid his band’s induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s also put out a new documentary on Prime Video, titled “What Drives Us”, wherein he talks to musicians about why they all got into a van when they were much, much younger, and began touring, it’s essentially Grohl getting a number of his Rock n Roll mates all in one documentary and chatting shit and telling tales in the way that he does during Foo Fighters’ live performances, except here we also hear from Ringo Starr (The Beatles), Ian Mackaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat), Slash (Guns n Roses), Jennifer Finch (L7), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and more.

Grohl, throughout, and regardless which end of the camera he’s on, is charming throughout, as you’d expect from the “Nicest guy in rock” (though a certain Ms. Love has never been happy with that title). He shares anecdotes of his own and overall, its a nice, amusing, fluffy and entertaining hour and a half of TV, there’s nothing we haven’t all heard before and its nice seeing faces like No Doubt’s Tony Kanal, whilst Lars Ulrich’s inclusion is both baffling and amusing (he’s never toured in a van and has only ever been in Metalica).

But I want to talk about how the show made me feel, how these musicians have had an impact on me, though this is probably gonna be some kind of getting older crisis/rose-tinted glasses/teenager spouting nonsense kind of post, you have been warned, and to be honest, it’s been a while since I wrote anything personal, and is there any other media that’s as personal as music?

Watching this little documentary, even though, as stated, it doesn’t do or tell us anything new, and reading Everybody Loves Our Town, not to mention me picking up an instrument to learn to play for the first time (despite turning 37 in a few weeks), it’s all made me reflect. I begun to reflect on all the music that’s always surrounded my everyday life. I’ve said to so many people that my household growing up had a real mixture of music being played, literally every one of us listened to something different and its hard not to find yourself having songs from other family members catalogues buried away in your Spotify play list. But that’s cool, I’ve never understood people who don’t listen to a variety of different genres. 

But it doesn’t stop there, part of the reason I wanted to learn the bass, aside from it sounding fucking cool, was I wanted to actually learn to play some of my favourite songs and see if there’s even more of a connection there when I play them. The going has been slow, but I’m finding it slightly easier each time I pick up my guitar.

Because I honestly don’t think there’s anything quite as powerful as music. We all develop really strong emotional ties to songs depending on the circumstances in which we hear them and those emotional ties change over time too. Books, films and games can all generate emotions too, there’s no doubt about that, but music has a habit of providing memories of times, places and events from our lives, be they solitary, shared, happy, sad or angry and those emotions don’t have to be reflected in the tone of the music or its lyrics. But its not just nostalgia and old memories, finding something new, be it a song or artist, is always amazing exciting too.

This is all cliche, I know, but I’m not going to apologise, but to finish, I’ll leave you with a quote I remember from What Drives Us, though I didn’t note down who said it:

“We share our love through music”

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