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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

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,537 Ratings  ·  283 Reviews
'Someone called and said Kurt died. I just f*****g lost it.'
Paperback, 388 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2011)
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Phil Simon
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
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
May 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sharon Burgin
Nov 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carla Coulston
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 04, 2012 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?
Dec 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I made it to 10%...

This read like a really long magazine article instead of the unauthorized biography it was meant to be.
I learned more about the type of music and bands Dave Grohl liked than anything interesting about him.

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that he writes his own book. For some reason Foo Fighters hate Tampa, well Florida in general, so I will never see them live! Am I bitter about that? Yeah, but they still remain my #1.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Brad Sorensen
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2012 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.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
It has 3 stars from me just because it's Dave. Sadly, getting through this book was more like a daunting task than a pleasure. Lots of unnecessary info, too many loose ends. Very detailed description of Nirvana era and punk scene but whole lot of stuff skipped about Foo Fighters and Dave's life. And from what I assumed before I picked this book up, it was supposed to be about him.
Craig Ryan
A book that went into too much detail about non-Dave things at the start. Whilst I appreciate the history of that bands that inspired Dave, I wanted to know more about his motivations. I enjoyed reading about Nirvana, TCV and Foos - although felt the book glossed over the Foo Fighters in a sense given how long they have been in existence.
Joel Bradshaw
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweeping history of the history of punk rock to alt rock as traced by the whirlwind path of Dave Grohl, this book certainly ventures out of the strict boundaries of a Dave Grohl biography, but I loved it wholeheartedly. To tell the story of a man who has been making music since age 12, released his first demo at 15, rose to prominence drumming in Nirvana, and then went on to lead his own phenomenally successful band, and jumps in on side projects with some of the biggest names in rock for the ...more
Valdis Reķis
Deivs tiešām ir "the nicest guy in rock". Nevaru sagaidīt koncertu!
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
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
Dec 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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!
Carrie Straka
It took me eight months to read, but I just wanted to nurse it and didn't want it to end. It was amazing. I'm a huge fan of Dave Grohl's, and I loved reading about him. I'm really glad I own a copy of this so I read it again and again.
Jeff Macpherson
The author seemed to be trying to show how much he knew about grunge with occasional references to Dave Grohl. Hard going but I just kept skipping pages until I saw Dave Grohl's name again.
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been trying to finish this book for 3 years. I finally finished it tonight after furiously skimming the last 50 pages. Every time I picked this up, I put it down again soon after but was determined to finish.

Parts of the book were fine, particularly the sections that are mainly quotes. But the end of the book particularly reads like the author just wanted to longform review Dave's albums. This was irritating for the most part, but unforgivable when the Them Crooked Vultures song "New Fang
Dave Weir
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first third of this book focuses on the hardcore punk scene of early 1980’s Washington, D.C. Great context given for the bands at the time, especially their attitudes toward mainstream music.

The second part provides much the same backstory for the Seattle grunge scene of the late 1980’s. Again, very interesting look at the evolution of those bands, obviously with a focus on Nirvana. Highlight here is just how quickly Nirvana exploded into the spotlight, and how short of a time they stayed th
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As an avid Dave Grohl fan, I had been waiting for this version of Grohl's life story for a long while, even tweeting the author in anticipation, however was sorely dissappointed. After finding out how well Brannigan knew the Foo's frontman, it seemed like the exact biography I was after, however after getting some of the way through it I started to get tired of his almost article-like writing style. Being a music journalist, and a very good one, is obviously a hard thing to shake, as instead of ...more
Carlos Ghiraldelli
É um livro que conta muito a história da carreira de Dave Grohl, mas entra muito, muito pouco na vida dele. Vale muito por histórias das bandas que influenciaram e pelas quais ele passou - mas se você quiser saber de fato o que ele pensa e tal, esse não é seu livro.

em vários momentos me senti lendo críticas musicais do autor sobre discos e bandas. Mas pra quem é do rock, vale muito a leitura.
Grant Hayward
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a Dave Grohl fan, or a fan of the 80's punk-rock scene, then this book is for you. The author goes off on a tangent quite often, which I found a little frustrating at parts, and I would have liked it if there were more parts told by Dave himself, but still a good read nonetheless. Found out a lot of cool stuff about Dave and his bands, and got a good feeling for what it was like growing up in that scene at the time.
Yes, I recommend this book.
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“Revolution is not the uprising against pre-existing order, but the setting up of a new order contradictory to the traditional one.” 2 likes
“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).” 1 likes
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