Everybody wants to be a rockstar, but few actually make it. It’s not any parent favorite choice of career for their kids either. But there are certain ones who believe otherwise. As Dave Grohl’s mom, Virginia. Dave is a living Rock & Roll legend. Since he played drums for Nirvana to leading Foo Fighters. But having a rockstar son isn’t all, as Virginia has written a book in which she talks how is to have a rockstar as a son, and how to handle it. The book is called “From Cradle to Stage,” as Virginia interviews and share notes with other rock mothers.
Virginia and David as she calls him, have done a series of interviews to promote it. Appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “CBS This Morning”. Where they show their very close bond and talk what’s to be a rock mom. Is it all about pride and live out to the success? Or is the anxiety of the sex, drugs and Rock & Roll lifestyle on the road situation? Being that the reason behind Virginia meeting with other mothers of musicians. But also emphasizing on the moment where the music took control of Dave’s life and change everything forever.
The birth of it all
“From Cradle to Stage” recalls, on the words of Dave, the magical moment when he discovered music. It was back of his mother’s Ford Maverick, on a hot summer day in 1975. Dave and his mom always used to sing in the car, when Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” was on the radio. Then “as Mick Jagger’s unmistakable voice joined the chorus, our voices split into harmony for the first time. My mother started singing Mick’s lower line as I sang Carly’s high lead vocal.” “Without realizing it … I was harmonizing! My heart lit up … Hell, this was the chicken AND the egg!”. But she wasn’t an ordinary mom.
But she wasn’t an ordinary mom. Since she always incentive Dave’s love for music and his bands. As she used to take him to jazz clubs. “I could have said, ‘Just go to school, get your education, have something to fall back on. Not many people make it in the music business.’ But I didn’t”. Then as Virginia recalls it was destined to be since she always knew Dave would be an entertainer. Describing him as “so outgoing and talkative; I honestly remember [him] as a child going down an escalator and he’s talking to the people coming up … He was always really fun to be around. He did some devilish things, but I never thought of him as bad”.
The content of the book has bits of every part of the experience
The book also has a passage when she starts letting go, Dave. As he joined the punk band Scream European tour at 17. A step-up, forcing her to have “the Conversation,” the rite-of-passage when he dropped out formal education. As she didn’t know what to expect from the band “because they were just screaming their heads off (…) Mohawks! Tattoos! Shredded jeans with more holes than fabric … not exactly wholesome”. She was “pretty sure they wouldn’t replace the Beatles”. But a few years later he makes an even further step. He joined Nirvana.
What in Virginia’s words “became the biggest sensation in music in decades. They changed the course of popular music … my son had become a rock star!”. She embraced it and went to many of the band’s shows. “Nirvana was playing Saturday Night Live, and I went to New York to see them. Charles Barkley was the host, and I told my class I’d get him to sign some autographs. But if there were any [bad] reports from the substitute, then they would be null and void”. This experience and her curiosity, of why she rarely met other rock moms, were the starting point of “From Cradle to Stage”.
Virginia finally meet some other ‘Rock Moms’
Now thanks to her new mission she has found many other rocking moms and discovered she is not alone. Besides many similar patterns in their gifted children and reactions to their success. As Marianne Stipe, REM’s Michael Stipe, and the mother of many others like Dr. Dre, Tom Morello, Josh Groban, and Pharrell Williams.
There are also a lot of anecdotes. Val Matthews, whose son formed the Dave Matthews Band, gets “awfully irritable” when the audience stands up and ruins her view on a show. Along with interviews with Mike D’s mother who contributed to her version of “the Conversation” as she says that her son’s preferred career choice was “just an excuse for not working”. But after a beeing on a show, she became a fan of his son’s band. “To me, they weren’t about music, but about energy and unbelievable rapport with the audience”. Or Mary Weinrib, mom of Geddy Lee from Rush, agreed on an 8 pm curfew with the neighbors while he grew up, as they were bored with him playing along Eric Clapton.
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Mom’s experience at the Foo Fighters show
In the book we also get Virginia enjoying the success. As the passage of the Grammy nights and the trips to the White House with her son to meet Barack Obama and Paul McCartney. “There I am, getting my photo taken with my three favorite men in the world”. But above all, she loves to go on tour with Foo Fighters, as she takes her place in a folding chair at the side of the stage. “The best seat in the house. I love to watch the audience; I don’t want them to see me, so I stay back. But I love the response”.
Her son is often called “the nicest man in rock” which makes her a very proud mom. Dave is a caring person, a steady husband, and a “super dad”. “He makes their breakfast, he packs their lunch, and then he goes to the studio, He really is as nice as everyone says”. Probably the most important of all is the message of the book. Answering what a mom has to do with adventure teen musicians? She thinks that backing them up is the right thing, instead of forcing them to get a normal job. “We’ll never know what happened to their children. But there are probably a few lawyers out there who show up at … shows and would trade their BMWs for an hour on stage with a guitar”.