Rock

You Won't Believe Which Funky Drummers Dave Grohl Was 'Ripping Off' on Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Dave Grohl
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for FF

Dave Grohl performs onstage as The Foo Fighters reopen Madison Square Garden on June 20, 2021 in New York City.

The cameo on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" will definitely fill in the gap on your knowledge.

It's one of those things they you can't unhear once you've heard it. In an clip from Foo Fighters singer/guitarist Dave Grohl's Paramount+ series From Cradle to Stage, the former Nirvana drummer sits down with beatmaster Pharrell Williams to divulge the truly mind-blowing inspiration behind one of the most iconic drum beats in rock history.

After admitting to Pharrell that all he wanted to do as a kid was to be part of a drum line in the school band -- only he couldn't read music -- Grohl implores Williams to stop talking about how good a drummer he is. "I'm the most basic f---ing drummer," the ever-so-humble Grohl says to Williams, who responds with a "yeah right" look at the camera.

"If you listen to [Nirvana's epic 1991 album] Nevermind... I pulled so much stuff from the Gap Band and Cameo and [Chic's] Tony Thompson on every one of those songs," Grohl says as the instantly recognizable opening guitar riff of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" wells up in the background. And, just before the elephant marauding drums kick in, Grohl starts slapping his thighs in time, saying, "all that [mines drumming]... that's old disco!"

"WOW!!!" Pharrell says looking genuinely amazed and mind blown as an archival clip of the Gap Band's legendary 1982 hit "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" plays in the background. "That's all it is!" Grohl promises. "How did I not hear that?" Williams says, clearly disappointed that his eagle ears never picked up on the percussion pastiche by Grohl.

"Nobody makes the connection," an unburdened Grohl says, noting that he told Thompson as much when he came to his house for a barbecue one time. “I was like, ‘Man, I just want to thank you because I owe you so much I’ve been ripping you off my whole life.’ He goes, ‘I know.'”

Watch Grohl divulge the disco connection below.