Let the Musician in you come first – SXSW 2013 speech by Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl SXSW 2013 Keynote Speech

This week I was privileged to witness the Foo Fighters completely dominate in their biggest ever show in Sydney at the ANZ Stadium.

To quote a positive review of the Foo Fighters Sydney gig “There they are set up at the end of the yard, annoying the neighbours with their raucous rock ‘n’ roll while 52,000 mates pump their fists, clap their hands and scream along to songs they have loved for 20 years”

With over 52k heads bouncing up and down to the ever melodic seemingly endless library of tunes, you can’t help to feel that it’s not ‘us’ and ‘them’, but both band and fans are in it together.

This post isn’t about that gig, nor is it really about the Foo Fighters, it’s about the story, motivation, inspiration, tenacity, integrity and passion of the hero of the story, Mr Dave Grohl.

Dave Grohl – South By Southwest (SXSW) 2013 Keynote

Perhaps a little dated now, but I recently watched Dave Grohl’s 2013 keynote speech at South by Southwest (SXSW2013). As someone who has played in tons of bands, played tons of gigs, written tons of songs, and have a degree in music, and someone who would deem music to form the biggest part of who I am, Grohl’s keynote speech really resonated with me.

Why?…. Because it was honest, candid, true, accurate, and real, which makes it inspiring.

I won’t write about the speech here as you can and should watch the 45 minute video below, but the key narrative that flows through the speech is follow your passions and find your own voice. This doesn’t mean just a singer, it means anything – an author, a painter, a dancer, a speaker, a surfer, a chef, a runner, an illustrator, a blogger etc.

In this world, far to often the light of people’s dreams and passions blow out because somebody, or some media outlet (TV show, newspaper article, magazine) wants to label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and if you make the bad bucket then all hope is lost. That’s BS. Don’t let external factors / people convince and categorise something you have done as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – if something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ then it’s because you have decided it is. We all have a voice, work hard to nurture your skills to find it – on your terms. In Grohl’s words “Let the musician in you come first”

For this reason, I don’t think you need to be a musician to appreciate or learn from his speech as his thoughts and approach to life could be applied to anyone and anything.


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