Midway through his MVP-like performance at Sunday’s 54th Grammy Awards — a tour de force that included wearing a Slayer T-shirt, engaging in a lengthy guitar duel with Bruce Springsteen and inadvertently standing in Paul McCartney’s spotlight for, like, 45 seconds — Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl strode to the stage to deliver a delightfully long-running acceptance speech, one that some thought took a few none-too-subtle jabs at the burgeoning EDM movement.
Surrounded by his bandmates and Wasting Light producer Butch Vig , Grohl held the band’s Best Rock Performance award and spoke about the back-to-basics approach the Foos employed while making the album, which included eschewing computers and recording directly to 2-inch tape, saying in part:
“To me, this award means a lot, because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. … It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”
Of course, most in the crowd cheered wildly at the statement, though there were those who thought Grohl’s comments also slighted electronic artists like Skrillex (who won three Grammys that night) and deadmau5, whom the Foos were set to perform with later in the telecast. So on Friday (February 17), Grohl took to the Foo Fighters’ Facebook page to clarify his comments.
“Never has a 33-second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil’ ode to analog recording has,” Grohl wrote. “I love music. I love all kinds of music. From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to deadmau5. … Electronic or acoustic, it doesn’t matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that all human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician’s personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and human.
“That’s exactly what I was referring to. The ’human element.’ That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like people,” he continued. “Somewhere along the line those things became ’bad’ things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily ’fixed.’ The end result? In my humble opinion, a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.”
Grohl added that, while he felt those technological advances in recording have also taken the focus off “the actual craft of performance,” he in no way meant to suggest that artists like Skrillex or deadmau5 aren’t actual musicians. In fact, it’s the way they use that technology that makes them unique.
“Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell, I’m not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But … I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that’s what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real,” he wrote. “I don’t know how to do what Skrillex does (though I f—ing love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that’s badass. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the ’craft’ is equally as important, I’m sure. I mean…..if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right?”
Grohl concluded by poking fun at the supposed controversy, joking, “Now, I think have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn” and signing his post “Davemau5.” And then he probably went back to being awesome — since, you know, aside from acceptance speeches, it’s what he tends to do best.
Did you think Grohl’s acceptance speech was targeted at EDM? Let us know in the comments!