Dave Grohl on why “heavy metal wouldn’t exist” without Led Zeppelin

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 12: Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Few rock stars can rise to the level of supreme stardom as Dave Grohl. Not only is he the swashbuckling leader of Foo Fighters, but he was also a part of Nirvana, perhaps the last truly culture-changing band. Add on to this his dalliances with Queens of the Stone Age and the Foos’ recent penchant for disco, and you have yourself one of the most well-rounded rock stars in existence. Of course, Grohl would just be a twinkle in the eyes of a punk band without one other band. For it was Led Zeppelin who truly allowed the singer, guitarist, drummer and all-around nice guy to flourish.

In fact, during an interview with Rolling Stone, Grohl suggested that without the almighty band comprised of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham and Robert Plant, the world would never have witnessed a whole plethora of music. But, perhaps most importantly, without Led Zeppelin, we would have no such thing as heavy metal.

Of course, Zeppelin aficionados will be well aware of their favourite band’s foundational position within the towers of rock that followed. And, despite the group always disliking their moniker, the Led Zep can indeed be seen as the forefathers of the genre – but that doesn’t take away from a man like Grohl offering his undying adoration for the group.

His love of powerhouse percussionist John Bonham is to be expected, but Grohl was clearly a pure fan of the band as a whole too. “Heavy metal would not exist without Led Zeppelin, and if it did, it would suck,” he commented. It’s a pretty perfect way to sum up the immense impact the band had on the whole of music. “Led Zeppelin were more than just a band — they were the perfect combination of the most intense elements: passion and mystery and expertise,” he added. “It always seemed like Led Zeppelin were searching for something. They weren’t content being in one place, and they were always trying something new. They could do anything, and I believe they would have done everything if they hadn’t been cut short by John Bonham’s death.”

The drummer’s tragic death would effectively end the band and come at a time when they were looking to reinvent themselves in the face of a new decade and a new way of performing. The group were aiming to ditch their noodling ways for something more vibrant and focused. However, before that, the band operated as perhaps the purest form of rock music we’ve ever witnessed. Certainly, for Grohl, the group provided a ladder out of his life: “Zeppelin served as a great escape from a lot of things,” he said. “There was a fantasy element to everything they did, and it was such a major part of what made them important. Who knows if we’d all be watching Lord of the Rings movies right now if it wasn’t for Zeppelin.”

However, in his adulation for the band, Grohl does over embellish slightly by suggesting the group weren’t revered in their time — they were the biggest band on the planet in record sales: “They were never critically acclaimed in their day, because they were too experimental and they were too fringe.”

Though the band never liked their position as forefathers to the genre, one simply cannot deny Grohl’s words here. We, however, will go one step further: without Led Zeppelin, about five decades worth of rock music wouldn’t exist.

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