It might be safe to say that the secret to forming a successful band goes through teamwork, or at least, that’s what Coldplay singer Chris Martin firmly believes. The frontman was quite sure that the reason he and his bandmates stayed together for over two decades without facing major problems was their teamwork ethic.
However, Chris wasn’t the only one with a firm stance on the mantra, as some of the most prominent rock acts, such as U2 and R.E.M., also noted the importance of working as a team and sharing equal publishing royalties. This line of thought worked so well that, even when R.E.M. eventually called it quits, it wasn’t due to personal feuds but simply because they’d creatively burn out.
So, while we’re talking about teamwork and the rockers who successfully embraced that, it might also be essential to note that some other artists weren’t as delighted with the subject matter. Several icons have enjoyed having full control of their acts and running the creative vessel by themselves.
Nirvana’s former guitarist, Jason Everman, for instance, recently recalled how Kurt Cobain used to run the band like it was a one-man show, and while he encouraged his bandmates to share new ideas, the singer often would go along with the songs he’d written and composed by himself. It seems like Kurt didn’t like the notion of teamwork a lot.
Long after Everman left Nirvana, a drummer called Dave Grohl replaced Chad Channing and joined the party, and Kurt probably thought that he would carry on with the same creative process; reluctantly asking his bandmates what ideas they got while he planned his next riff or lyrics.
Still, it appeared that the new drummer on the block, Dave, also excelled in playing guitar, so it wasn’t much later that he started coming up with his own riffs and sharing them with the class, probably saying, ‘Hey, I got a new piece, want to try it out?’
Well, Grohl probably declared those words on one faithful day when the band was in the studio, working for what would be ‘In Utero,’ sharing he had a guitar riff he wished Krist Novoselic and Cobain would check out. After playing in front of his bandmates, Dave was sure that he’d nailed it.
Kurt, however, thought differently about the rocker’s riff, calling it ‘the most cliche, grunge Tad riff‘ ever and finding it to lack authenticity. The singer wasn’t pleased with Dave’s new melody at all but decided not to say those words out loud and ultimately agreed to work on the riff so as not to hurt Grohl’s feelings.
As they started working on the song altogether, Cobain was amazed by the progress. And that’s how the track, ‘Scentless Apprentice,’ was born, inspired by Kurt’s all-time favorite book, which would creepily foreshadow his tragic passing. Although Kurt Cobain hated the song initially, after the three Nirvana buddies started to write down the lyrics together, it turned out to be something unique, and the track ultimately became the first Nirvana piece to receive songwriting credits from all members.
Cobain also recalled how Dave came up with the song in 1993 while chatting with Michael Azerrad, sharing how displeased he initially was with the drummer’s eagerness to record the inauthentic riff, but since he didn’t want to discourage his bandmate; he’d greenlighted the process. However, when the band started writing the lyrics, Kurt realized that maybe teamwork wasn’t so bad after all and ultimately, he was happy that his contributions had turned Dave Grohl’s underwhelming riff into a great song.
The rocker’s words on how ‘Scentless Apprentice’ originated:
“It [Dave’s riff] was such a cliché grunge Tad riff that I was reluctant to even jam on it. But I decided to write a song with that just to make [Grohl] feel better, to tell you the truth, and it turned out really cool.
I think most of the reason that song sounds good is because of the singing style and the guitar parts I do over the top of the basic rhythm. But hell, that was great.”
While recalling the song’s creation process, the frontman noted that the song became a great piece because of his singing style and guitar overdubs; still, it surely helped Cobain to understand his bandmates could also come up with cool ideas and maybe, teaming up with them wasn’t as scary after all.