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Interview With Yola; Interview With Peter Jackson; Interview With "The Storyteller: Tales Of Life And Music" Author Dave Grohl; Interview With Grammy-Winning Musician Angelique Kidjo. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 24, 2021 - 13:00:00   ET




Tonight, we're bringing you a music extravaganza. Here is who's coming up.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): "Get Back" director Peter Jackson shows us The Beatles as we have never seen them before.

Also ahead, from Bristol, England, to Nashville, Tennessee, four-time Grammy nominee Yola on her genre-bending sound.


DAVE GROHL, MUSICIAN: Music used to just be a sound that moved the air, until it became the air that I breathe.

AMANPOUR: Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters tells Hari Sreenivasan how music saved his life and why he's finally opening up about

Kurt Cobain's death.

And the incomparable Angelique Kidjo on her latest album and passing the torch to a new generation of African musicians.


AMANPOUR: Welcome this special edition of the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And, tonight, we're devoting our show to conversations around music, and we want to kick off with a hidden treasure trove from one of the world's most

popular bands, The Beatles.

You might think you know all there is to know about them. But think again. None other than the Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson has worked his

"Lord of the Rings" magic on this ancient archive to give us a whole new view of some of the Fab Four's last recording sessions, and a whole new

take on whether the famous rooftop concert was actually a breakup offering to their fans.

Here's a clip from the new film "Get Back."


PAUL MCCARTNEY, MUSICIAN: We're talking about 14 songs we hope to get.

GEORGE HARRISON, MUSICIAN: How many have we already recorded good enough?


MCCARTNEY: And none of us has had the idea of what the show is going to be.

LENNON: I would dig to play on the stage. Nobody else wants to do a show.

MCCARTNEY: I think we have got a bit shy.


AMANPOUR: The three-part series dropped on Disney+ over Thanksgiving weekend, but it's perfect Christmas holiday viewing too.

And I have been speaking to Peter Jackson about the amazing new light that he's shedding on John, Paul, George and Ringo.


AMANPOUR: Peter Jackson, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So what is your earliest memory of The Beatles? I mean, were you a fan from being a child, or what?

JACKSON: Well, I was born in 1961. So, theoretically, I was alive when all their albums were coming out.

But I had a mother and father who were not Beatle-orientated. I mean, they like my at home, we had the soundtrack album of "South Pacific" and those

were sort of things, not a single Beatles record.

So I have no memory particularly of The Beatles during the '60s, apart from the fact that I must have liked them. I must have heard them on the radio.

I must have seen them on TV, because as soon as I could save up enough pocket money, which took me until I was about 12 I went out about 12.

I went into the city, went to the record store, and I bought my very first Beatle album. And they'd already broken up at this stage, which was about

1972 or '73. But I spent my first bit of pocket money buying my first ever Beatles album.

So I must have liked them. Yes. So, yes.

AMANPOUR: I guess this was then meant to be. I mean, Peter Jackson was meant to put this incredible series together.

Are you surprised that one of the most mega-groups of all humankind of all time actually had 50-plus hours of unseen film footage that's been or, no,

more that hasn't been seen for so many decades?


MCCARTNEY: The best bit of us always has been and always will be is when we're backs against the wall.

LENNON: All we have got is us, don't you think?


JACKSON: It completely blows my mind.

And I'm not describing my the film that I have made and anything else, just the fact that this stuff, after 50 years over 50 years, all the

documentaries, everything, we you have got to think you have seen everything there is to do with The Beatles.

So, the documentaries you see tend to recycle the same footage, "Ed Sullivan," press conferences, so that you just sort of think, OK, well, we

have sort of seen it all. And now we're just looking at interviews and various things.


Suddenly, out of nowhere seemingly out of nowhere, there's and it's not just that there's 60 hours of new Beatles footage. It's actually the best

Beatles footage that has ever been seen.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot it in 1969. And it was used for his movie "Let It Be," which was about 80' minutes long. So we're talking about the outtakes

from "Let It Be," which is essentially 60 hours, that The Beatles, because of the whole stigma of the breakup when "Let It Be" was released, they

actually I mean, it's The Beatles themselves that have ordered this to be locked in a vault and never be seen.

It's not just that it was lost and forgotten about. They have never wanted anyone to see it.

AMANPOUR: OK, so that's that's incredible. I actually didn't know that nugget. So that's really interesting.


AMANPOUR: So I guess the next question is well, clearly, you obviously got the key to the vault.


AMANPOUR: But did you negotiate or talk with the two remaining Beatles, the two living Beatles? Were they part of the creative process at all for


JACKSON: I didn't. I didn't talk to them when sort of the actual thing was being hatched. That was done with the chiefs of the company, Jeff Jones and

Jonathan Clyde, who worked for Apple Corps, who are the is The Beatles' company.

So, discussing the idea of the film and me jumping on board was all done there. I got the idea that they weren't going to give me access to Paul and

Ringo until it was all kind of until it was under way. And then, certainly, once it was happening, and I was on board, everything had been sorted out,

then Paul and Ringo have been available to me ever since, incredibly supportive, and has Sean Lennon and Olivia Harrison and Dhani Harrison.

The entire group have been incredibly supportive, and in a way not just supportive. They have done they have given me the greatest gift that I

could ever have, as they have they have left me alone.


JACKSON: They have always been there if I want to ask them something, but they never they have never they have always just had they have always let

me make the film that I want to make, which I really am very, very grateful for.

AMANPOUR: Well, really interestingly, Paul McCartney has been interviewed, obviously, about this and on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross.

He said that what you provided was this incredible sort of like almost like a family scrapbook. He even his memories had dulled over the years and

maybe been overtaken by the chat that the world was having about what this original film was.

Let me just play what Paul McCartney said.


MCCARTNEY: Overall, I think it proves that there was a great loving spirit in The Beatles that entered into the music and everything we did.

And that, for me, was more than a relief to see it. It was great. It was very emotional and very lovely to be able to see John and George again and

just remember how sweet it was to work with them and to make this music.


AMANPOUR: I think that's really nice, because, certainly, from what we hear, Peter Jackson, is that the original film "Let It Be" was almost

considered to be a breakup film. Did you find that when you looked at all the outtakes?

JACKSON: Well, just to talk about "Let It Be" for a second, because, I mean, Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot all this footage of the footage that my

film is being from. And he shot it in 1969. And he made his film, "Let It Be."

And his movie is absolutely it's not a breakup film. And it's and his movie had the bad luck of being released after The Beatles had broken up,

because, of course, once he had shot all the footage I mean, he shot the 60 hours of footage that I have in January '69.

That wasn't the movie finished. He had to go away for a year and all the editing. I mean, it's taken us four years to edit it, but Michael managed

to cut his film in just over a year. And so he was working on that. And The Beatles, in the meantime, before his film came out, they broke up.

So, his movie, obviously, he shot the footage as this incredible fly-on the-wall look at The Beatles. Then you go in January '69, you go to May

1970." Let It Be," his movie, comes out. The Beatles have just broken up.

The headlines are saying they have broken up.

People go to this fly-on-the-wall film. And people would assume that this movie was shot a month ago, two months ago. This must be The Beatles in the

process of breaking up. They imposed the newspaper headlines onto Michael's film, which was actually very unfair for the movie.

But, nonetheless, that stigma has it has survived for 50 years. So much survived, that it actually become a fact. It's become the absolute but how

can it be a breakup film when it was shot for 15 months earlier? It just can't be. It's impossible.


And you were saying, I wanted to know what was going on. Well, clearly, what was going on was unbelievable songwriting and music-making.


JACKSON: Yes. Amazing.

AMANPOUR: And in those 22 days, they created 14 songs that became and have remained iconic Beatles songs.

How surprised were you by the work ethic or the method of their of how they worked and how they produced together?

JACKSON: So, you're quite right. In that time, they write and record the 14 songs on "Let It Be." They also the "Abbey Road" album, which is about

this is going to come out in about six months from this period 17 songs on "Abbey Road," 12 of those songs are done during this period as well.

Probably about 10 or 12 songs that appear on their solo albums are actually done. You have got George Harrison released a solo album called "All Things

Must Past." It's a song. We have got the we have got The Beatles performing "All Things Must Pass." "Gimme Some Truth" is a very famous song that John

had on a solo album.

It's on the "Imagine" album. The Beatles are performing "Gimme Some Truth." All the solo songs that I have always thought of them as being solo songs,

you have actually got the group performing them.

And, in addition, during this period, they perform about 220 old rock 'n' roll songs at the same time. So, point of fact, yes, they are incredibly --

this is a very and it's actually in this 22 days, the last 12 days, they work every day. They don't have the weekend off. It's like 12 days in a


Their work ethic the actual worker ethic is extraordinary, focused, professional, but also full of humor as well.

AMANPOUR: And really full of affection for each other.

JACKSON: Oh, yes.


JACKSON: Yes. Yes. Yes.

AMANPOUR: And it was so interesting to see Yoko there as well. And this was in the early days of her relationship with John, and to see Linda, who

at the time was Linda Eastman, taking the pictures there.

What can you tell us about that dynamic, what you gleaned from the 60 hours of video? And, of course, Paul has said recently that he just wants to

clear up once and for all with this film and with the book that he's writing that he didn't break The Beatles up.

JACKSON: Look, Yoko sits with John in the studio, which, as I was a Beatle fan, younger, you would see photographs of John and Yoko in the studio, and

you would think, oh, that's a bit weird.

But when you see the footage, and you just watch them work, she's very respectful. She never interferes. She never has an opinion. She doesn't

say, oh, I think solo should be faster or things. She writes she reads newspapers.

She's and she is only there because Yoko and John are completely in love. So, what is wrong with that?

She's not there to make trouble. They're in love and they want to stay you know, John doesn't want to leave the house and leave her alone and be away

from her for eight long hours, and why should he? So, it's sort of it's strangely normal. It's always felt weird when I have looked at photos.

But when you see them sitting there and they're all working, it's amazing. OK. It's fine. It's fine.

AMANPOUR: And I mean, it's extraordinary, I hadn't known that in the middle of it or the beginning of it, George Harrison just announced very

matter of factually, I quit, and he left.

JACKSON: Yes, yes, yes.

Oh, no. he does. You see, the interesting thing, Christiane, is that you know, you had talked about how much love and affection they have for each

other. And in way, where that comes through strongest is when things go wrong. So, there are moments like George walks out, and you see the effect

that it has on John and Paul and Ringo.

You know, first of all, they're Northern sort of macho boys from the North of England. So, it's all macho Eric Clapton. And -- but that drains. That

macho, they can't actually sustain that and they sink into a depression. And because they are devastated by George leaving, even though they're

trying to hide it. You can see how they are.

And the overall plan that they're trying to do derails. And so, in a way, we see more of The Beatles personality, more of their friendship, their

deep friendship and their love because they are all having to deal with this kind of crisis.

I mean, if at all was playing soundly, you sort of wouldn't think that you'd actually get much of a sense of who they were. But the fact that

they're having to deal with enormous problems sort of really shows you who they are. And ultimately, they get through because of a long hard


I mean, when The Beatles when these kids in our Liverpool got together as a group, George Harrison was 13 years old, John Lennon was 16. I mean, these

guys are all childhood friends. You know, by the time we see them, there is a deep brotherly trust and almost a psychic bond between them.

AMANPOUR: And then, there was the magic of the actual performance. Because let's not forget, this was meant to culminate in a performance and they

hadn't performed, if I'm not mistaken, for three years previously.


AMANPOUR: And, as it says in the film, they just decided to walk upstairs and go and do it on the roof, which clearly surprised everybody in the

neighborhood. Talk me through how that impacted you when you saw that and all the different cameras that the original film had employed to capture

every angle.


JACKSON: Well, the rooftop concert, which is they go up and perform nine times.

They perform five songs nine times, because they're not only doing actual concert on the roof, they're it's a recording session. They have all the

amps and the mics, you know, go down five stories to the recording studio in the basement there's cables down the staircase. So, they're actually

there to record for an album. It's not sort of technically just a bit of fun on the roof. So, they play a few songs multiple times to get them


And anyway, I have seen bits of the rooftop concern. I mean, I'm sure that we all have in various documentaries of it one or two songs. And the 16-

millimeter film has all been grainy and a bit dull. And to be honest, I have never really liked the rooftop concert. I would prefer to watch Shay

Shea Stadium or, you know, watch The Beatles play. So, I have never really been a huge fan. It's always failed a bit.

And I have also projected all the break-up stuff the same everybody else onto the footage. So but when I looked at the rushes and I thought, OK, I

just want to look at the rooftop rushes because I know that they did it's 45 minutes long, the full thing and they had 10 cameras filming. So, I just

sat there and I looked at all these 10. And we had it so that all 10 was sort of going at the same time. I just sort of watched it over.

And I just thought I and I just -- though, this is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. I mean, this is the most extraordinary footage

shot of The Beatles in performance. And in a way, it has to be seen as fully to appreciate that because what you get apart from, you know, the

angles and the shots, you get the sense of these guys up on the roof. They haven't played together for as you say, for three years.

They want to be they want go back, get back as the name of the film. They want to get back. They don't want to be Sergeant Pepper anymore. They don't

want to do the Shea Stadium mop tops. They're going to be the Ed Sullivan.

They want to go back the Hamburg and the Cavern Club.

They want to go back to their teenage years and just be -- just play rock 'n' roll, just four guys. And they haven't actually done that for a long

time. And they were nervous. They don't know whether they can recapture that. And the first song OK, a little bit rough. The second one gets

better. And by the third song, they are cooking.

So, you actually see it around. You really are emotionally on their side. And by the fourth song, they are having a blast. So, in a weird way,

they're playing.

They're surprising themselves at how great they are. Because they've actually forgotten how great they are. You sort of see -- you see on their

faces. And they're take it so intimate. God, they're tight. And such a great performance. So seeing the full thing has become my all-time favorite

Beatles performance. And I hope other people will feel the same way.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much, Peter Jackson.

JACKSON: Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: We look forward to seeing it.

JACKSON: Thank you so much.


AMANPOUR: And you can watch get back on Disney+ now.

Next, the rising British star of the moment, Yola. She was born and raised south of Liverpool in Bristol, but her love of classic pop inspired her to

set down new roots in America's Music City, and her first album out of Nashville earned Yola four Grammy nominations.

And her latest one, "Stand for Myself," has just received two nominations. Here's a clip from the single "Diamond Studded Shoes."




AMANPOUR: When Yola joined me from Nashville, I started by asking her about the inspiration behind that song.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program.

"Diamond Studded Shoes," it's a wonderful, wonderful song. Great tune but it also comes with a helpful picture, I think, on which it was based, the

crystal incrusted shoes of won female British prime minister. Is that right? Was that the inspiration?

YOLA, SINGER/SONGWRITER: That was the inspiration, yes, Theresa May. Probably not often thought of as an inspiration or a muse for music.

But, you know, it took a second to the field and was inspired by those shoes. And how incongruous and appropriate they were given the context in

which they were being worn, which was to deliver news. That we don't have any money anymore.

AMANPOUR: You know, it's really interesting that you say that because I was expecting you to say, she looks so great, she stepped out, she was

being, you know, edgy, but you put it right back to some of the very I mean, very harsh policies that her government and previous, you know,

certainly, conservative governments had that have left kids and women and so many out in the cold. Was that what you were trying to say with that?

YOLA: One hundred percent. You almost concluded it for me. Thank you.



YOLA: It was unbelievable.

And it was the sheer unabashed caucacity of it all that was to be so proud and marching out, looking so utterly fierce to say, you know how you pay

me. Well, yes. Well, I'm wearing the spoils of what I have managed to acquire from you. And I'm going to tell you that there's nothing left

because I have just spent it. So, little Tommy is not going to get dinner anymore.

And it was just absolutely like infuriating. And I don't come from everything. A lot of my friends don't come from anything. And we all have

different backgrounds very mixed friendship group.

But, like, the one thing we have in common is that it was it felt like they were taking the Mickey. And so, yes, like that song just jumped out to me.

You know, like I can't help but (AUDIO GAP)

AMANPOUR: Well, and we know Marcus Rashford, the football star, we know UNICEF, the U.N. Children's Fund, they've very concerned about exactly what

you're talking about right here in England. So, it's a fact.

And I want to ask you, did any of that play any part of your desire to move from Bristol, Western England, to that Nashville, Tennessee, music city of

the world?

YOLA: Well, I moved I only moved just properly. I was always traveling backwards and forwards in 2019.

But 2020, I was like -- you know, I want to try and live the between two places, and I got stuck here. So, the and I was like, ah, I might as well

just commit. Just commit Yola. And so, I moved. So, part of it was a practicality but part of it was also that need to have a higher glass

ceiling. I think I would like to quote as Gina Yashere, and she goes saying, yes, only the glass ceiling higher.

And so, that's it. We're not all that different, either side of the pond. Separated by a common language often, but the glass ceiling is a markedly

higher here. Specifically, for dark skinned black women. And that's what Gina Yashere was referring to.

AMANPOUR: It's really interesting to hear you talk about that because, again you talk about it in your songs. You know, on your Instagram bio, you

describe yourself as a musically genre-bending four-time Grammy nominee.

I like that. Genre-bending. Tell me the genre-bending first.

YOLA: Yes.

I'm always describing as -- genre-fluid was a term I coined to describe my music, because, as Brits, we didn't have a genred radio as we do over here

in America.

And so you might have grown up listening to radio where a playlist had Nirvana and like Bjork and Brownstone or Aaliyah or something all in one

line, and the blur. Like, that's the era I grew up in, where it was all just we absorbed it all at the same time.

And so, like, it seems to be something that like maybe as music has gotten more genred, even in the U.K., we've forgotten the very history of how we

used to absorb music.

AMANPOUR: So, I want to play a clip from your latest, "Walk Through Fire," and then, we'll talk about it.

YOLA: That's my first.




AMANPOUR: So, aptly corrected, this is "Stand for Yourself," and what I said was your first.

But I'm really interested by some of the words in there. You know, "Let go of yourself for a new beginning. It was easier to sing than to stand for


Tell me about that.

YOLA: So, when I was in the U.K., there was a particular stigma associated with people that did backing vocals.

It was maybe seen by some record executives that if you did any kind of supportive work in the industry, that it couldn't be possible you had any

artistic license to create, and that's something that was almost unsaid, but you heard it.


It was under the radar in the way that it was talked about. And also, simultaneously to that, every time you went into the space as a musician,

as an artist, people would suggest to the darker of us that had we considered doing back singing work?

And so, they kind of worked in concert to subvert black female autonomy. And the same thing didn't happen to males as much. And so, it's very

targeted at black women. And so, I had to spend a lot of time fighting for my right to be a lead singer, sometimes a lead singer for hire. But even in

those scenarios, the idea of service was very hard to get over.

And sometimes it was easier just to sing like whatever. Like if it's someone else's song that I'm filling in as the tall person for hire who can

sing any like 15 songs, three of which are mine, you know. Like it was easier for me to just kowtow to someone else's authority than it was to

lead, because it was like it was just enough to fight to be able to trying a couple songs or to maybe have this idea of building something that was

very different from being a house vocalist or singing R&B or whatever the teeny-tiny boxes that I was allowed into.

And so it became like something I had to like grow out of, this idea of what was easier. I always had to kind of see such for the hard road, the

road less traveled, maybe the road that didn't have an example of or a role model for me to follow that was black and British and a lady.

And so, I had to just -- that's why it was so much easier for so much of my life to just sing, and as opposed to stand for myself. And so, that's why I

call the record "Stand for Myself," because I'm standing for my right to nuance, not to be strong, like some monolithic strong black (AUDIO GAP) but

to be nuanced and actually to write my own story.

AMANPOUR: And, as they say, agency. And you certainly seemed to have really cracked that, which is great.

We want to play -- obviously, COVID has been so difficult for everybody, not only stopping your concerts but everything. And there was I want to

play out but explain to me what we're going to look at "Faraway Look." But it's "Tiny Desk Concert." Just tell me about that before I play a clip.

YOLA: Well, "Tiny Desk Concerts" are wonderful things.

If you're acquainted with NPR, you'll know that they shoved in this lovely little enclave in the offices, and like any numbers of legends have done

it. And I was so honored to do it. I sang the lead, the first track on my debut album for them, which is what you're going to hear

And it's kind of the precursor to my current record. Like, I am at this place of having checked out. And I have that faraway look in my eye. Now,

go and to do this because it's easier to sing, right? And stand for myself.

And so I'm just singing, and I'm not engaged. And so that's where we set our scene for this song. And in the company of "Tiny Desk" and the


AMANPOUR: So, on that note, we are going to play "Faraway Look." Yola, thank you so much for joining us.

YOLA: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a wonderful pleasure.





AMANPOUR: And from that wonderful performance by Yola, we turn next to the life and career of a rock 'n' roll legend.

Dave Grohl is best known as the Foo Fighters' front man and as the former drummer for Nirvana. But now the 16-time Grammy winner is turning his hand

to a different kind of writing with his memoir "The Storyteller."

He's charting growing up in Washington, D.C., touring as a teenager, and his friendship with the late Kurt Cobain.

And he joined Hari Sreenivasan for a stimulating conversation.



Dave Grohl, first, thanks for joining us.

You write a lot of about growing up. And I want to know, when is it that you figured out how important music was to you, I mean, different than it

is for me?

GROHL: It really started with this one car drive with my mother, while we were driving out to this lake. I grew up in Virginia, outside of D.C. We

were driving out to this lake to go swimming and Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" came on the radio. And when the chorus came around, my mother who was

also a singer in the '50s, she took Carly Simon's part and I took Mick Jagger's part. And it dawned on me, like, oh, my God, two separate notes

sung together create a chord.

And I think I was maybe seven years old. This is in the '70s. And then, I started really listening to music differently. All the different layers of

instrumentation, the composition, the arrangement, I started seeing it as a puzzle and how all of those shapes fit together. So, from that moment on,

everything I heard I would try to like decipher in this weird way. And I would go back to my bedroom with my Beatle's records and my guitar and play

along. And it was a mystery to me that I was trying to solve. And it's been that way ever of since.

SREENIVASAN: You talk almost in a way where your brain is processing this information a little differently, like you can almost see music. And I --


SREENIVASAN: So, kind of explain that to somebody who doesn't have this in their brain.

GROHL: Well, you know, there's a condition called synesthesia and it's when you -- your sensory pathways are crossed somehow. So, in my case, when

I -- I don't know if I have synesthesia, but when I hear music, I almost imagine it like Legos in my head, like the shape, whether it's the time

signature or rhythm, I see it in little blocks or the compositions or arrangement of a song, I it see in shapes. And because I don't read music,

this is what I rely on to memorize music.

I don't know why it happens, but thank God it does because otherwise, I would be really screwed. So -- but that's -- yes. I mean, that's how I

process it. And even -- if you and I were sitting here having a conversation and I heard music in the background, you know, I would been

engaged in our conversation, but I would be trying to figure out the time signature going on in the background, well, like with this ear. And then

with this ear -- so, it just becomes something that, you know, you're obsessed with, and I have been since I was a kid.

SREENIVASAN: So, do you timestamp the things in your life by the soundtrack that's happening? I mean, do you remember, I don't know, hotel

lobby music? Or, I mean, where does it become too much and where do you say, I know that feeling because of what was playing?

GROHL: Well, it's almost like if you smell a certain perfume or if you smell something cooking in the kitchen, it brings back memories of

different times in your life. It's that way with me and music. So, if I hear like Carly Simon or 10cc or Andrew Gold or Helen Reddy, it reminds me

of the smell of my mother's Ford Maverick car in a humid Virginia day, you know, like it just comes back like that.

So, as I was writing these stories, it was easy for me to remember everything. I mean, miraculously, my memory remained pretty intact over the

years. It just takes music to bring it all back, and it does. If I hear a Nirvana song on the radio, I remember like the shorts I was wearing when I

played that drum track. Like I remember, you know, the suitcase I had on that trip, things like that, it all comes back with music.

SREENIVASAN: You write about when you had this tremendous opportunity to go play with this band that you really looked up to, Scream, but that also

included telling your schoolteacher mom that you were pretty much done with school and you were trying to brace yourself for that conversation. How did

it go?

GROHL: Well, first of all, I think she had been bracing herself for that conversation since first grade. You know, I was just a terrible student. I

just was. And I don't know if it was that I just didn't get it or I couldn't focus. I think it's all of those things. But, you know, since my

mother was a public schoolteacher for 35 years, she had taught generations of kids like me. And my mother, I think, she realized like, you're better

off -- you want to learn Italian, go to Italy. You want to learn, you know, geography, go travel the world rather than sit under the fluorescent lights

of a school room. So, she kind of set me free.


SREENIVASAN: So, there you are on an unbelievable road tour with these guys, basically living in a van, not just having all of your gear in it,

but sleeping in this van at all times and then -- and going to places and playing your hearts out. Not for much money, I might add, as you're

describing it. And I kind of want to know, what is it about being in a van with a group of people like this for an extended, intense period of time

that's so important? I mean, you made a documentary basically about that thing that happens in bands.

GROHL: Well, first of all, when you're young, these are really form formative experiences, right? So, I mean, I never thought I would make it

past the Mississippi playing drums, you know. Like I remember standing with my feet in the sand looking out at the Pacific Ocean and it was music that

brought me there, you know. I mean, it was like new yoga over here and a drum circle and whatever California, but I was like, music brought me here.

And that, to me, was, at the time, my life's greatest achievement. You know, there -- I think that -- I think I say in the book that music used to

just be a sound that moved the air until it became the air that I breathed. And so, I think that even in the darkest, most difficult times, it was

music that kept you going. Music kept you alive. You survived not from the $7 a day that you were making, it was the music that kept you alive. And I

still feel that way. I mean, if I didn't have it, I don't know what I would do.

SREENIVASAN: So, you get an opportunity to come up and try out to be the drummer for Nirvana, way before they were a household name. They'd already

put out one album, but before we know it. And the band puts out this album, but before everyone hears it, you obviously -- you figure out that there's

something in "Smells Like Teen Spirit" that is different about a song and you go into what it was like to -- I think you were in a hotel room where

you saw it on MTV the first time. Tell me about that.

GROHL: Well, first of all, you know, I -- there weren't such massive expectations for our band. And when we recorded "Smells Like Teen Spirit",

I remember thinking, wow, this sounds huge, but not like what it became at all. Nobody did. And that it happened really, really quickly. And the video

-- I mean, honestly, the video is what changed the game.




GROHL: You know what, we were on tour just as we always had been. We were in our van. We were loading our equipment into this club, playing and then,

getting back in the van and leaving. When that video came out, all of a sudden, the 300-capacity club had 300 more people outside. And then, the

500-capacity club had 500 more people outside. And it got to the point where I would sit down on my drum stool and the first thing I do is look

for the exit.

I'm like, OK, there's going to be a riot. How am I going to get out of here? There's going to be a riot. But it was the video. And I think, you

know, not only was the song great, Kurt's lyrics, his voice. Kurt was the greatest songwriter of our generation. And -- but that video -- and then

you make a video, I always say, you want to know how to sell a million records, make a video where you're burning down your high school.

SREENIVASAN: So, I -- what is it -- you know, you have written a lot of songs yourself. You have been around a lot of great songwriters. And what

makes you heap that kind of praise on Kurt? What makes great songwriter?

GROHL: I mean, I don't know. I think that it just happens sometimes. I think his simplicity and the -- you know, the beautiful, direct language in

his lyrics, which I would consider poetry. His specific lens, his perspective on life, he was very open to writing about his own pain, which

I think millions of people could relate to and connect with. And I think it's a number of things. But because it was just him, that was it. It was

just him.

SREENIVASAN: You said that you wrote the chapter about loss and about Kurt last, why?

GROHL: Because I was scared to write it. I mean, you know, it's one thing to write about getting stitches when you're 12 years old or it's one thing

to write about, you know, taking your kids to the dad-daughter dance. It's another thing to write about something that you have barely spoken about

with people close to you.


I mean, I revealed some things in that story that I have never told my closest friends. I was scared to write it. I mean, you know, first of all,

I knew what people wanted me to write. I think that people have a lot of unanswered questions, as do I. So, I decided to write in a much broader

emotional sense that, you know, the process of loss or grief and mourning and how that's determined and how it differs from person to person. So,

yes, it was just -- it was a tough one to write.

SREENIVASAN: You write that after the loss, you really kind of took some time for yourself and tried to process this. And the book finds you like

literally on a remote corner of the planet, in the middle of some rural part of Ireland that's gorgeous, what happened there?

GROHL: Well, after Kurt died and Nirvana was over, our worlds were just turned upside down. I don't know if anyone knew how to continue or what to

do next. I personally didn't have any interest in music. I put my instruments away. It was hard for me to listen to the radio, which was very

unlike me. And after a few months, I decided I would go on this kind of soul-searching trip to find the middle of nowhere. I just wanted to be away

from everyone and everything.

So, I went to one of my favorite places. The Ring of Kerry in Ireland where I've been before. And I mean, it's entirely remote. There's nothing there.

It's just country roads and beautiful scenery. And I was there driving down a country road, and I saw a hitchhiker in the distance and I thought maybe,

I'll pick him up.

And as I got closer and closer, I noticed that he had a Kurt Cobain T-shirt on. So, even in the middle of nowhere, I had Kurt sort of looking back at

me and that's when I realized I can't outrun this. I have to go home. I have to get the instruments back in my lap and I have to keep playing music

because it saved my life my entire life and I think that it might do it again. And I went home and started the Foo Fighters.




SREENIVASAN: That first album, you practically played everything, I think, except for one portion of one track. So, what is the instrument you

identify most with? I mean, obviously, you're known as an exceptional drummer, but you're also a guitarist, you're also a singer.

GROHL: First of all, I'd take singer off that list because I basically just run around screaming for three hours a night. So, we could take that

one off. So, it's guitarist or drummer. You know, the guitar was my first instrument and there's nothing like sitting around with a guitar in your

lap all day long. But drumming, drumming, is -- I mean, I feel like I'm dancing when I'm drumming. I don't have to think. I can just do it.

And whatever is in my heart just winds up in my hands. There's not a whole lot of thought, which is probably why I prefer it. But I really love the

physicality of drumming. And I do have this sort of internal rhythm that I have had my entire life.

When I was a kid, I used to do this little exercise to challenge with myself. Whenever we would drive up to Ohio from Virginia to visit my

grandparents, we would go through these long tunnels in Pennsylvania, like through the mountains. And there would be a song on the radio and I would

be listening to it and see a tunnel coming up and then, we'd go in the tunnel, lose the radio and I try to hold the beat like this and then, once

we came out of the tunnel see if I was still on the beat. And I would still be on the beat. Like, this is how weird I am.

But, I mean, as far as drumming, I think drumming is one of those things that -- I mean, I will do it at drop of a hat, at the opening of an

envelope, I could be your cousin's bar mitzvah. I don't care. Like I will play the drum. If I see a drum set, I'm going to play on those drums.

SREENIVASAN: You know, there are so many stories in this book about when you meet these people, sometimes who are your idols and sometimes who are

just people you know and respect in the music world. From, you know, Little Richard to Lemmy from Motorhead to Paul McCartney who kind of becomes your

friend. And -- but all the way throughout these stories, there's like this giddy teen quality that comes out where you're still -- I mean, you

described being nervous around these people and you wonder what it's going to be like and all the things that any fan would be like around somebody

that they really looked up to.


GROHL: Yes. I mean, can you imagine? Like that's the way -- honestly, as I was writing, I started thinking, am I writing this from the perspective of

someone who is having an out of body experience every day? Because it's just too crazy. Like I can't believe it's happening to me. I can't believe

I'm like having dinner with ACDC. I can't believe that, you know, Paul is over at the house and playing my piano. Things like that. It never grows

old. You don't get used to it. I don't think you should get used to it, but, dude, really, like if you're face to face with Little Richard, you're

OK with that? No, you're not OK with that.

But the great thing about all of these experiences is that you're reminded that music is flesh and bone. Like this is real life. These are real

people. This is -- it kind of -- it's reassuring. Like, oh, good, life actually happened. This isn't just an allusion. And so, you know, what I'm

jamming with any of these people or hanging out with these people, I try to remind myself like, OK, we're all human beings here. Does it make -- am I

nervous, absolutely.

Like jamming with Prince, you're going to be nervous, believe me. Like that's going to make you nervous. And, you know, you try to get down in

like a really sort of human way. But ultimately, you know, it's reassuring to see that these people are people as well, and that's what I love the

most about it.

SREENIVASAN: Dave, if the book tells you nothing else, it tells you that you, Dave Grohl, have been an incredibly lucky man for this long. So --

GROHL: Hallelujah, dude. I mean, I remember, when my -- when Nirvana first got popular, my dad said, you know this isn't going to last, right? And I'm

like, no, why would it? That's crazy. And then, 10 years later, he's like, you know this isn't going to last, right? I'm like, no, why not? And so, I

still -- believe me, every single day I wake up, I'm lucky to be alive, I'm lucky to play music. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

SREENIVASAN: Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, thanks so much for joining us.

GROHL: Thanks a lot, man. It's good to see you.


AMANPOUR: And it is important to always be grateful no matter how successful you become.

And finally, four-time Grammy-winning artist, Angelique Kidjo, has just released a new album called "Mother Nature." It is an ode to the African

continent and its cultures. Kidjo shares her spotlight with a new generation of African musical artists emerging on the continent, including

Burna Boy, Sampat the Great and Mr. Eazi. It is music with a message that you can dance to. Here's a piece from the title track.



ANGELIQUE KIDJO, GRAMMY-WINNING MUSICIAN: We need each other now. We need each other now. Each one of us, each one of us, we need each other.


AMANPOUR: When Angelique Kidjo joined me from New York, I asked her what it feels like to inspire to much creativity back home.


AMANPOUR: Angelique Kidjo, welcome back to the program.

So, the first new album in several years, "Mother Nature." And you are known as ma or grand sir (ph), a big sister to so many African artists.

Where does that come from and what are you doing now?

ANGELIQUE KIDJO, GRAMMY-WINNING MUSICIAN: Well, it comes from the fact that I always care for my brothers and sisters around the world, especially

on my continent because I know the resilience, the beauty and the creativity of my continent.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was really grounded at home and I started gardening, having my potatoes, tomatoes to eat. And at the same

time thinking about how mother nature has been through our generations of being here, being generous to us, providing everything we need. So, I

decided that I am going to do an album in which I'm going to write a love letter to mother earth. And also, thinking about climate change impact on

my continent.

I wanted the youth, the young generation that's going to pay the highest tribute to this climate change to speak for themselves. I mean, I have --

I've been talking about this, but I want them on board for all of us to start thinking about what we can bring through our arts and using our

tradition of transmission to start talking to the generation after them now.

AMANPOUR: So, you know, the Grammys, a few years ago -- or rather last year, you said, four years ago on this stage, I was telling you that the

new generations of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm. This time has come. And, you know, now, you're working with people

like Burna Boy, Yemi Alade and Zambia, Sampa the Great, as we said -- Alade rather. How did you choose who you would work with? You know, did they come

to you? Did you go to them? How did you make this ensemble?


KIDJO: I mean, you believe me or not, it was not planned. Because I'm the person that (INAUDIBLE) culture where, I have been told, just follow the

flow. Every time you wake up, be thankful that you wake up and you're in good health.

So, I let the album and the songs basically lead me. And the first guest that I have on the album was Yemi after the (INAUDIBLE) movement where I

was worrying. So, we started and saying, we want to use song to talk about police brutality, and we need the police to respect our dignity and for us

to respect their own dignity.

And only -- for me, the weapon that we have, us artists, especially African artists, is our music. We talk through our music and empower people. Music

lift people from the ground. Mr. Eazi send me message saying he has song for me and I told him send it away. Burna Boy said, I want to write a song

for you, Ma. I said, go ahead, Burna, just send it to me. Every time I have to do something, I always listen to others.

Sampa the Great started when I saw her on Tiny Desk. And I said to myself, this young woman is fire. I want her on my album. So, I sent her a message.

And right there, she was. And everything floats like that. We speak. And within a week, the song is there. And talking about mother nature, I wanted

to express that concern, also across the diaspora of black people and human being, period. We all have one earth to share.

AMANPOUR: I mean, you had to leave Benin in order to become and to fulfill your dream of being an artist. Because at that time, if I am not mistaken,

you couldn't have been an independent artist without, you know, singing propaganda and building up the regime in your country. How important and

how life changing was it for you to leave? And conversely, now you're trying to enable the young African musicians and artists to actually work

in their own country and continent.

KIDJO: I believe in the freedom of each one of us to decide what they have to say, what they want to sing and what they want to do. My father has told

me that as an artist, I shouldn't be linked to any political party because they come and they go. So, my whole entire life have been educated through

music for so many different genre of music, from traditional music to all of James Brown, to name some few.

The thing that I -- it is important to me that make me wake up every day is that inside each one of us, there is strength, there is love. Us being on

this earth is an act of love. So, why can't we just use the music to speak to people. I've come from that kind of culture. And I cannot let any

politician tell me that I can't sing, I'd rather die than stay in there and letting somebody think that he have power by taking my power away.

AMANPOUR: And, Angelique, I just want to ask you briefly, what were your earliest influences? Who were your earliest influences? Who did you look

to, either in Africa or outside of Africa, as your musical mentors, so to speak? Because you've done everything from talking heads to, I mean, just

everything. You've got such a wide, you know, variety and repertoire.

KIDJO: I would say that the traditional musician in my country were really my backbone. Because when music start coming and my brother started doing

music, I listen to Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding James, Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz. So

many music. And music from a Democratic Republic of Congo, from Cameroon, from Ivory Coast, all around.

So, for me, sometimes I get lost in it. And I would go to my village and say to traditional musician, can you play this? And they say, bring it. And

they'll play the drums. And as soon as the drum comes in, it makes sense for me, it brings everything together. The traditional music of my country

is the glue of everything I have been doing as musician until today, because it's modern, it talks to people and it tells a story. We are

storytellers. Every musician, every artist is a storyteller. Every chef is a storyteller through taste and through what have been given to them. And

that's what it is. Storytelling is powerful.

AMANPOUR: Well, you have graciously agreed to sing us out, to play us out. Your authenticity reaches all the way to not being afraid to do that

without your backup, without the instruments. Acapella for us So, Angelique Kidjo, what are you going to sing? I think it's from, obviously, "Mother

Nature." But what title are you going to sing for us?

KIDJO: "Mother Nature," I was going to sing for you.

AMANPOUR: OK. Go for it.

KIDJO: And I am sending you strength from mother nature every day from now on. You are on the wings of mother nature as all of us.

Don't ever let them touch you in any way. Oh, never let them steal and take the best of you. Keep building cities from the ground. We're rising with

the waves. Mother nature has a way of warning us. A time bomb set on a lost count down. Will you hear it? Will you stop it? Won't you listen. We need

each other now. We need each other now. Each one of us needs one of us. We need each other.


You want more?

AMANPOUR: So beautiful. Angelique kidjo, ending our show.


AMANPOUR: The one and only Angelique Kidjo singing us out.

And that's it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thanks for watching this special edition of AMANPOUR

and good-bye from London.