This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl
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This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,312 ratings  ·  193 reviews
This Is a Call , the first in-depth, definitive biography of Dave Grohl, tells the epic story of a singular career that includes Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, and Them Crooked Vultures. Based on ten years of original, exclusive interviews with the man himself and conversations with a legion of musical associates like Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Da Capo Press (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,815)
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Phil Simon
I agree with another reviewer's three-star rating of this book. While well written and researched, I really wish that the book contained more of an inside peek into Grohl's motivations. Also, as previously pointed out, the book starts out slowly and tends to gloss over the last five years of Foo Fighters' history.

I agree that Nirvana is an important band and I enjoyed learning more about Grohl's role in it. Still, Grohl has spent more than five times as long in FF as he did in Nirvana. I feel a...more
VegasGal
It's unfortunate when a book gets so bogged down with other unecessary information it gets to be a chore to read... and it clearly doesn't have enough stories about the original purpose to sustain an entire book so it needed to rely on other stories to attempt to dazzle the reader. I normally don't rate books I couldn't finish, but this particular book wasn't all that good in the 58% of it that I did manage to trudge through, so I thought it needed a rating. If you don't mind minimal facts/stori...more
Trisha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Thomson
Paul Brannigan was the renowned editor of Kerrang! magazine between 2005 and 2009. He then went on to write a short book on sayings from Lemmy of Motorhead. This is probably where Paul Brannigan should stay - writing short articles and books.
Although only 353 pages long, this book seemed to drag on. It was more of a history to punk and music from the early 90's to today, than an autobiography of Dave Grohl.
It was very interesting to read about the music industry, but it seems that Paul cannot ge...more
Greg
I'm a big Dave Grohl fan (I have a picture of him hanging in my hallway and asked the wife if 'Grohl' could be our young son's middle name. She didn't think I was serious) and received this book as a present from the aforementioned missus.
I read a bit, but initially found it a bit smug and kind of 'I know Dave', 'one time Dave said to me' and 'I think that Dave' blah, blah, blah. I put it down and consigned it to the doom of being tucked 'just under the bed'.
Then, one day, I treated myself to a...more
Carla Coulston
Hubby and I were slightly deflated to discover this was an 'unauthorised' biography; however, the disppointment was short-lived as it became evident the depth of personal insight Paul Brannigan has into the mind and heart of one of our favourite rock identities... not to mention his iron grasp of the nuances of rock history in general.
More than just an insight into Dave Grohl, this book more than ANY other single rock biography I've read (and I've read MANY) gave a unique overview of the alterna...more
Samantha
Starts out really slow and is totally cluttered by all the DC punk scene history, this is one of the better unauthorized music bios I have read.
Dave Grohl is a pleasure to read about simply because he rocks. He's not the typical rockstar but at the same time can still express modesty at being labelled the nicest guy in rock.
There were moments in this book where I found myself laughing out loud at Dave's fan boy antics when meeting members of the bands he loved growing up and also moments where...more
Lise
This book really needed some editing. It's a dogs breakfast, jumping backwards and forwards in time and reading like the author just put every single fact about Dave Grohl on the page as soon as it appeared in his head. Much better article in the Good Weekend a year or so ago. Disappointed. Just glad I waited and got it from the library and didn't buy it.
Karl
This is not your typical biography in that Paul Brannigan chooses to spend as much time discussing the eras of music that are Dave's influences and his history as he does Dave's actual life. This actually is a good thing, in Dave's case, because of his wide variety of influences and is a reflection upon the various times in the life of Dave. Brannigan's background in the music industry gives him a bit of an inside track into understanding what makes Dave tick. I was amazed to find little tidbits...more
Deanna
Well written, full of information, though it's somewhat the wrong kind of information. Punk rock history, the beginning and end of Nirvana. Details about the various things that happened to the Foo Fighters over the years... this book is supposed to be about Dave Grohl! For much of the book it felt like it was about everything BUT him. It gets better as we get closer to present day, but it still doesn't delve into the life of the man like I'd hoped. But, I guess having read it I now know why - h...more
Brad Sorensen
I love the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and Dave Grohl. I can't get enough. I was excited when I heard about this book. The first 100 pages were a disappointment as the authors just name drops every punk band that ever existed and there is next to nothing about Dave Grohl, even though it is allegedly a biography. But then it gets good. The Nirvana section is captivating. And the Foo Fighters section goes album by album with in-depth information and reviews. It was great for a junkie like me. My only q...more
Krista McCracken
This is a Call was an interesting read, and did provide bits of inside into the life of Dave Grohl. However, it is clear that this is not an authorized biography, the book is packed with 'filler.' Brannigan describes at lengths the development of the US punk-rock scene, which though interesting doesn't directly focus on Grohl. Sometime it seems as though only a few lines in a single chapter actually relate to the person the biography is about (eg. The introduction of Nirvana in the book). Overal...more
Constadina
I really liked this book and I liked the fact that it's not only about Dave Grohl's life
but it also describes the music scene that took part when a certain song/album was created which gives it a better and deeper understanding. I honestly don't know how I survived the part where Kurt died :'( I swear when it was coming towards the end of Nirvana I almost didn't want to continue reading cause I knew what was coming and I caught my self tearing up a few times...Anyway this book is a really good r...more
Mike
I'm a huge fan of Dave Grohl but I was a little let down by the book or had too high of expectations. Since this was an "unauthorized" biography, most of the interviews and quotes had been previously published in various media outlets. There is a great line in the beginning that says only a handful of people know the real Dave Grohl. Unfortunately this book does not get anywhere close to letting us into the select few.
Bwgauci
Was a decent read but found it to be a little bloated in the sense that Brannigan would basically review each record Grohl has been involved in. You could tell Brannigan is a big Grohl fan himself so it was difficult to read without constantly knowing that this is just a love letter to Grohl. Was expecting something gritty and behind the scenes but got a pretty generic book. Decent but I won't be recommending it.
Ben
I read this mainly because I really like Nirvana and I wanted to get more insight into their music (as if they were/are not dissected enough) and process. Foo Fighters I never much cared for but this book was very enjoyable from a music nerds POV. Early American punk and hardcore music was highlighted in the earlier chapters, and I always find the stories around that scene to be much more interesting than the actual music itself. Can I really listen to a Black Flag album all the way through? No....more
Michael
Jan 13, 2012 Michael marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
A book about Dave Grohl (even an unauthorized book about Dave Grohl) should not be this plodding and dull. Grohl is one of the feel-good rockers of this generation, and he deserves a lively biography. But Brannigan's insistence on filling pages with a peripheral history of punk rock stops this story dead in its tracks and takes the focus (far) off Grohl.
Colleen
Mar 04, 2012 Colleen is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I've been stalled for a month now. I seriously skipped a chunk of the history of punk rock. Don't get me wrong, I like punk rock and music in general, but I kinda wanted to read about Dave Grohl. I get that he likes music, but do I need to understand how some band in DC formed to understand that Dave liked them and went to see them in concert?
Jody
Brannigan follows Grohl from Teenage punk through Nirvana to the surprising highs and lows if the Foo Fighters and beyond.

A great read that reveals a passionate man where it counts his music and his family.

Best read whilst listening to the Foo Fighters and Nirvana back catalogue!

A great love story about music and Dave Grohl!
James Targett
There is much I enjoyed about this book It has certainly made me go back and revisit older records by the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, and Nirvana. As well as inspiring me to go look-up so new old bands that I have missed. But do I know any more about the "real" Dave Grohl, who he is and what he thinks, what he felt and thought when he was fourteen, mum working late while he was going to punk rock gigs? No. (I don't even know if he went to those gigs with his mum's blessing, or whether...more
Nick
I have been a fan of the Foo Fighters a Nirvana for many years and I always knew that Dave Grohl was an amazing musician. This book has shown me just how great he truly is. He does what he does for the sake of loving the music, not just for the money. Grohl loves what he does and you can tell by all the heart and soul he puts into his work. The book was excellent at taking us through Dave's life; from his first record purchased, to drumming with Nirvana, to the latest album as leader of the Foo...more
Susie
First off, I have a bit of a fundamental problem with a biography about someone who is still so young and doing so much awesome shit, but this was recommended to me, and I am a Dave Grohl fan, so here I am.

This started out a little slow for me, and for the first 1/3 or so, was a lot more about the "times" than about the "life" of a teenage Dave Grohl coming up in the DC punk scene in the 1980s. Once the story reached the Nirvana years, though, the book took off as fast as Nirvana's career did. T...more
Judy Scheibach
Dave Grohl is the greatest musician of all time. Paul Brannigan is a very bad biographer. He uses this book to show off his music industry knowledge. I am not impressed. He states his opinions on things like songs, albums, and bands as facts. The life of Dave Grohl is a side story. For example, he is detailing the relationship of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love and mentions in passing that Dave Grohl was at the house of his then-fiancée. Fiancée?! Where did that come from? Who is this book about?...more
James
I'd like to say first of all that I enjoyed the book as I'm a big fan of the Foo Fighters in general and Dave Grohl as a musician and creative artist in particular. Having said that I feel the book has some shortcomings as an account of Grohl's life & times in that it tends to be too episodic, breaking up his creative career into 'digestible chunks' based around a particular album release (especially for the FF years) and perhaps failing to get close to the real heart of Grohl's views on his...more
T. Edmund
Maybe its just me, but I hate books, non and fiction which start with a disclaimer. In This is a Call - author Brannigan is quick to point out that this work is unauthorised and in fact the real Dave Grohl is somewhat of a closed book, despite being the 'nicest man in rock.' I guess the the hope is the enigmatic front-man is revealed by this piece, however what we get is more like a historical record of Grohl's early punk years, the Nirvana times, and of course the Foo Fighters rise and rise.

I h...more
Todor Zed
So I grabbed the book for a change from all the scientific research lately and I have to say it pleased me a lot. D.R.I.'s vocalist sums up my own opinion of Dave Grohl pretty well: "he has got what every musician wants: freedom". He just seems to have made the right desicions on an impressive journey, not devoid of drama and losses.

I can see how the first 100 pages of the book can be excessive to a big part of Grohl's mainstream rock fanbase - they tell the story of his hardcore and punk rock...more
Jemma
Well worth a read if you are at all interested in Nirvana and indie music in general. It feels like you really get to know Dave through this biography and he does genuinely seem more likeable than your average celebrity.

It is a good job that the title is "and Times" though because this also reads as a history of the "punk" movement in the US. Some people might feel shortchanged by this but actually it does put Dave's expereinces in context. Not unlike Ian Kershaw's "Hitler" biogs in that respect...more
Elise Camuso
In the informational novel “This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl”, by Paul Brannigan, the life of the former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters front man are shared, along with his road to stardom. Described as “the nicest man in rock”, the auspicious rockstar known as David Eric Grohl has been interviewed many times, which acts as the basis of this book. Throughout the first four chapters of the book, which are titled “Learn to fly”, “This is a call”, “Chaotic hardcore underag...more
Matt Choi
From Nirvana to Foo fighters, Dave Grohl is an undeniable figure in music, as we know it today. Growing up with a love for punk music, Grohl started playing the drums. From the moment he played his first beat, everybody knew he was not the usual. At age 17, he dropped out of school do join local punk band Scream, after 2 years of playing with Scream, he joined rising grunge icons Nirvana. From playing bars to selling out stadiums, it was more than a dream for Grohl. However this all went downhil...more
Megan
The first 100 or so pages were boring - more about the 'times' of Dave Grohl rather than the 'life'. I didn't need the 10 page history of punk rock, which just came across to me as the author showing off and name dropping. I'd give this part of the book one star.

The next 100 pages were the book's redeeming feature, when - SPOILER ALERT! - Dave joins Nirvana. The voyeur/rubber-necker/whatever-you-want-to-call-it in me found the description of the band's rise and the lead up to it's demise the mos...more
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“I’m about to have a nervous breakdown / My head really hurts / If I don’t find a way outta here / I’m gonna go berserk …’ Black Flag, ‘Nervous Breakdown’, written by Greg Ginn, published by SST Music, from the EP Nervous Breakdown (SST, 1979).” 0 likes
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