Out Now on The Coda Collection: ‘What Drives Us,’ a Documentary from Dave Grohl Chronicling the Touring Musician’s Lifestyle


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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What compels a musician to pack up everything he or she owns into a run-down van and head out on the road in search of rock and roll glory? The pull has a certain magnetism, and it’s the same one that’s been the backbone of professional musicians’ lives for decades. It’s also the focus of What Drives Us, a new feature-length documentary film directed by Dave Grohl, produced by the Foo Fighters and featuring a ton of Grohl’s rock and roll pals.

What Drives Us is available to stream today, April 30, exclusively on The Coda Collection, the new music and entertainment-themed streaming service available as an add-on channel for Amazon Prime subscribers. Click here to watch.

Here’s a trailer for the doc, featuring glimpses of the big names involved in the production and soundtracked by Grohl’s narration and the Foo Fighters’ “Making a Fire,” the opening track to the band’s new album Medicine at Midnight:

Per a news release, What Drives Us focuses mainly on the road lifestyles of young bands Radkey and Starcrawler, but features contextual interviews with musicians of all ages and success levels, discussing the consistent narrative of their shared existences:

“This film is my love letter to every musician that has ever jumped in an old van with their friends and left it all behind for the simple reward of playing music,” said Dave Grohl. “What started as a project to pull back the curtain on the DIY logistics of stuffing all of your friends and equipment into a small space for months on end eventually turned into an exploration of ‘why?’ What drives us?’”

WHAT DRIVES US is an homage to the moment in every musician’s life when their commitment is tested and their desire to play music for others becomes an almost irrational act of blind faith. The first step to prove to yourself and the world that you belong is to load up your instruments, your talent and your courage, and get in the van to take your music to the world — a true rock and roll rite of passage. 

The documentary is also a tribute to every young kid who dreams of a life playing music. Dave was that kid. As were Ringo Starr, The Edge, Annie Clark, Steven Tyler, Ian Mackaye and everyone in between. The list goes on forever. While they all have stories — outrageous, unbelievable, insane, as well as poignant stories — they all share a common bond. At some point, before anyone knew their name, they had an unstoppable drive to share their music with the world. Their passion led them to leave everything behind, throw caution to the wind, and chase their dream. 

As for those interviewed in the film:

WHAT DRIVES US features interviews with an array of iconic figures spanning eras and genres, including: Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, Rami Jaffee, Pat Smear, Ringo Starr, Flea, Brian Johnson, St. Vincent, Slash, Duff McKagan, Ben Harper, The Edge, Mike Watt, Ian Mackaye, Starcrawler, RadKey, Exene Cervenka, Tony Kanal, DH Peligro, Charlie Gabriel, Jennifer Finch, Dave Lombardo, Kira Roessler, Pete Stahl, Lars Ulrich, and Steven Tyler.  

For Grohl, this is his latest cinematic exploration following a series of documentaries, including the Sonic Highways series and Sound City. He also just detailed The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, a new book he wrote that will be published in October.

He’s a busy man!


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