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Dave Grohl: ‘I was a terrible student I dropped out of high school’

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Jo Whiley chatted to Dave Grohl on her Radio 2 show. Some of the best quotes are below.

On whether he thinks he has ADD (attention deficit disorder)
Jo: You say you weren’t very good at school and you’ve talked that you’ve failed lots of things and had trouble, and you have this restless energy. Have you ever been diagnosed as having any
Dave: Like ADD. I have never been diagnosed.
Jo: Do you think you are?
Dave: I’m pretty sure that I have it, yeah. I was talking to my daughters about this recently, about how now you can get, you know, these certain exemptions in school. If you’re diagnosed with ADD you can take longer on your tests and stuff like that. I could have used that, I think, maybe. BUT, it wouldn’t change a thing so
Jo: Would your mum say that you had it do you think, because your mum was a teacher, is a teacher?
Dave: Of course not, she’d say, ‘Oh you’re perfect!’
Jo: But it does seem like a very likely scenario?
Dave: The point is that when there is something that I really enjoy doing, I really focus on it. Like intensely I focus on it. I mean I was just talking to my mother last night, like this thing that I’m doing at The Savoy Theatre. Had I put that much time and effort into anything school related, I’d be in Harvard right now. Like I would be, I’d have a PhD in something!
Jo: Its definitely worked in your benefit.

On writing his book
Dave: I’m not a writer. I was a terrible student I dropped out of high school. I don’t know how to write. But I do know how to write in my voice, and so to me that’s the most important thing. Like if you’re going to sit down and read someone’s book I would hope it would be in their voice.

On being technically challenged
Jo: What’s your relationship with writing physically? Do you have a desk, I love a desk. Do you like the act of writing, do you like pens, paper?
Dave: I do It on my computer.
Jo: Okay.
Dave: I don’t even wanna tell you how I do it because it’s… I’m technically challenged. So I basically, I don’t have any Word programme or anything like that. I basically just write a really long email, and that’s the story. And then I just email it to my publisher and then she sends it back with edits or corrections and they’re all highlighted in these weird colours and you can click on them. I don t know. I don’t know how to do any of that. I just like write it, blast it out, and then send it.
Jo: You just shattered all of my illusions.
Dave: I’m sorry, well I’m not like Nick Cave, I’m not like, you know, pencils and a type writer. I’m not that cool. No, I mean, I had to do it.
Jo: Your way.
Dave: You know when I hear that Fran Lebowitz writes everything by hand, you know it makes me love her even more, but I could I could never. This book would have taken five years had I done that.

On The Exorcist being his favourite movie of all time
Dave: [At Halloween this year] I’ll probably go see a movie. I like horror movies, they’re fun. You know I grew up in Washington DC where they filmed The Exorcist.
Jo: I hate horror films.
Dave: You do?! Come on, really, please… You’ve never seen The Exorcist, the greatest film of all time? It’s a great movie, you cannot top The Exorcist. Number 1 film of all time.

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