Too Much Goes Unsaid in Dave Grohl’s “PG Rated” Memoir

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl fails to be vulnerable, and I don’t understand why it’s getting such rave reviews.

Travis W. King


I like most things. I like most movies. I like most books. I like Dave Grohl.

I really like Nirvana, and I love memoirs. So, for a memoir written by Dave Grohl, two stars is a really bad rating for me. Also, I wrote a memoir — I have a deep love for the craft — which is part of the reason I wanted to share why I think Dave’s memoir fails so severely.

He can write a song, but a memoir… “meh.” Photo by Diego Mora Barrantes on Unsplash

In short, I think if you’re going to write a memoir you have to be brave and tell the whole fucking truth. Especially the parts that are hardest to share. If you’re going to be holding back punches and scrubbing a memoir so your three daughters can read it, then don’t even write it.

The whole point of memoir writing (to me) is to be incredibly vulnerable and to show your readers that we’re all fallible, flawed, paradoxical, broken, three-dimensional people.

The craziest thing in Dave’s memoir that he actually elaborates about is drinking too much coffee for a period of time. He was really busy, so he drank a lot of coffee, then his doctor told him to stop. Rock and roll.

In the 300-some pages, there isn’t one drug and alcohol-fueled story that would make a nun blush. Not one. He references their “beer and whiskey routine” before shows, but never actually reflects on his relationship with any substance or a single vice…besides coffee.

He has a line describing an award show appearance where he asserts that normally he was one drink away from getting kicked out at award shows. Don’t tell us, show us. That’s writing 101.

Talk about your relationship with alcohol as the front man for a rock and roll band. As someone who has taken the stage in front of hundreds of people thousands of times. What was your relationship with liquid courage? Did you ever worry about it? Did it ever get out of hand? When it inevitably did, how did you know? Tell us that story.



Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at