Fun music doc “What Drives Us”’ pairs Dave Grohl and fellow Rock stars for stories about their first tours.
Watch Foo Fighters founder and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl driving his old red Ford Econoline Van. Listen to Grohl interviewing fellow Rock stars about early tours and on-the-road adventures. The music documentary “What Drives Us” is a high-energy storytelling jam between Grohl and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-worthy subjects from Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) to the Edge (David Howell Evans of U2) and Ringo Starr to Brian Johnson (AC/DC). Together, their stories create fun nostalgia.
Grohl is the right artist at the right time for “What Drives Us.” His Rock cred gains access to top talent and their unforgettable stories. Grohl’s early tour adventures make him relatable to his fellow Rock stars. The various on-the-road stories are also relatable to “What Drives Us’ audiences who have their own experiences around early travels with friends.
“Every band story is unique, but at some level, they are all the same,” Grohl says, speaking to the camera. You have to start somewhere. Aerosmith and U2 may be playing arenas and traveling in luxury, but they also began performing in small clubs and traveling in rundown vans.
Grohl will always be best known as the founder of the Foo Fighters and the former drummer with Nirvana. Following his standout 2013 documentary “Sound City,” the story of a legendary recording studio in Van Nuys, California, Grohl has become a skilled filmmaker and storyteller. Working with editor Dean Gonzalez and cinematographers Todd Bell and Jessica Young, Grohl balances face-the-camera interviews with animation, clips from the 1964 Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night,” and historic concert footage. Grohl’s interviews reveal the growth of American Punk music via early touring by bands like Minutemen and X.
The emotional takeaway from watching “What Drives Us,” what sticks with you after the many interviews throughout the movie, is the powerful connections between music artists and audiences that only live shows can deliver. That’s what makes “What Drives Us” an important film to watch as the Coronavirus pandemic begins to fade and bands resume touring.
Virtual shows and streams are here to stay, but they cannot compare to the connectivity and energy of a live performance. If you’re watching a new artist or band, chances are they arrived by van.
Director: Dave Grohl
Editor: Dean Gonzalez
Cinematographers: Todd Bell and Jessica Young
Production: Roswell Films and Therapy Studios.
Distributor: Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime: The Coda Collection
Air Date: April 30, 2021
Behind the Curtain: “What Drives Us” follows Dave Grohl’s acclaimed 2013 documentary “Sound City,” a look at a legendary recording studio in Van Nuys, California.