Black Sabbath Was Huge Influence on Kurt Cobain, Says Dave Grohl


Black Sabbath Was Huge Influence on Kurt Cobain, Says Dave Grohl

–Joe Lund

It’s no secret that Black Sabbath was one of Kurt Cobain’s biggest influences. Recently, however, one of Cobain’s former bandmates made that point in an especially emphatic way.

“Kurt really liked Ozzy [Osbourne],” said Dave Grohl, speaking with Mojo magazine. “Growing up in a town like Aberdeen [in Washington] and hearing a band like Black Sabbath – it’s a sweet release. Suddenly there’s something outside your small-town world you can relate to when you can hear that in someone else’s music.”

Grohl says the Sabbath influence is particularly evident on Nirvana’s 1989 debut album, Bleach. He adds: “The first Nirvana record, Bleach, which I don’t play on but I love … you listen to some of those songs and it’s a guitar line, a bass line, a vocal and thundering drums. There’s lot of Black Sabbath in that, for sure.”

In 2011 chat with Rolling Stone, producer Butch Vig said Cobain was still striving for a Sabbath-like sound when Nirvana recorded their 1991 breakthrough classic, Nevermind. “I’d be balancing the drums and the guitar and Kurt would come and say, ‘Turn all the treble off. I want it to sound more like Black Sabbath,’” said Vig. “It was kind of a pain in the ass.”

As regards Grohl’s own view of Sabbath, the Foo Fighters leader makes a distinction between the group’s sinister sound and the endearing charm of its famous frontman. “It’s fascinating that the singer of the band that’s known for being so dark and so evil could be so lovable,” says Grohl. “Ozzy’s personality and charisma shine through the darkness.”