The subject came up when Craig Jenkins of Vulture asked Grohl about a piece by journalist Michael Azerrad that claimed that during the American tour for “In Utero,” Cobain was heard yelling in his hotel room about “firing” Grohl.
The Foo Fighters frontman said he had a different “version” of that story.
According to Grohl, he was sitting a few rows ahead of the band’s co-founders, Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic, on a flight to start production on their “In Utero” tour when he overheard a conversation between the two.
“I could hear Kurt saying, ‘I think we need a drummer that’s more rudimental, along the lines of Dan Peters,’ who was the guy they almost hired,” Grohl said. “I was really upset because I thought things were okay.”
Peters was briefly in Nirvana before Grohl, but Grohl ended up getting the gig — Peters has suggested he was nudged out in favor of Grohl.
It seems that the future Foo Fighter didn’t want to be a monkey wrench, however, and he confronted his bandmates.
“I talked to Krist, and I said, ‘Is that really what you guys want to do? Because if that’s what you want, maybe just let me know, and we can call it a day,’” Grohl continued. “I eventually talked to Kurt about it, and he said, ‘No. That’s not what we want to do.’ I just felt like, ‘It’s up to you guys what kind of drummer you really want, and they decided I should stay.’”
Grohl described being a bit more upset about the conversation in the 2011 biography “This Is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl,” per NME.
The biographer Paul Brannigan quotes Grohl saying that Cobain was “kinda fucked up” on the flight and Grohl heard “him talking about how shitty a drummer I was.”
Grohl was apparently so annoyed overhearing this that once the flight landed he told their touring manager that he quit. The tour manager reportedly calmed Grohl down and he decided to stay.
Grohl has also described finding Novoselic and Cobain “weird” when he first met the two.
“They were both a mystery to me,” Grohl told U.K. music magazine Rhythm in 1993. “I did not see myself fitting into that picture at all.”