For ages, one thing both music fans and musicians have been reminded of is that no one’s favourite band started out as a megastar stadium act. Every artist, musician, or band essentially started as “no one.” What made these artists who they were/are is by putting themselves out there on the road in front of audiences.
The new documentary, entitled What Drives Us, is a testament to the music that can change the world; maybe not save it, but how it can alter people’s perception of the world for the rest of their lives in all kinds of different ways whether we realize it or not. Whether that’s someone connecting to lyrics while they’re dealing with one of life’s many formidable hardships or it’s someone being endlessly inspired by a live concert experience that energized their imagination or ideas of what they can do or who they can be, music is uber-inspirational.
The documentary’s Director, none other than Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, goes onto interview Lars Ulrich from Metallica, members of St. Vincent, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, No Doubt, and all kinds of artists in between about what “that time” in their careers did for them. How it tested them. How it inspired them. How it eventually set them on the road to being the artists and people they are today.
The film includes many stories from these battle-hardened road warriors who are legends of their field, including Slash and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Dave Lombardo of Slayer, DH of the Dead Kennedys, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and many more. Ringo Starr of the Beatles speaks about his days in the group when they were a Van Band, which is interesting because it creates a stark contrast to the image everyone has of the Beatles being the biggest band in the world. Starr dives into breakthrough insights about being an artist that he learned from the time while the Beatles were a working-class act playing at bars. It was these very gigs that shaped both his attitude and approach to putting himself out there as a musician.
Moreover, he discusses the deep bonding experience between the members that forged a love for music and each other that cannot be experienced anywhere else in life. It’s a bond forged purely out of love, and everything that comes with it for better and for worse; that is something those who experience it will remember forever because it’s a singular experience that connects you to someone else through sharing your art like nothing else.
Dave Grohl uses a ton of home videos of the first tour the Foo Fighters ever did which was in a van and not a decked-out tour bus despite Grohl’s previous success as a member of Nirvana. It’s uplifting and enriching to see in all of these interviews curated by Grohl that what has kept these musicians continuing with their careers is purely the love of the music.
At the end of it all, one thing all of the musicians on camera here have in common is their love of the game, like a pitcher going back to the mound for one last inning or hitting a few balls in a batting cage. It’s the people who put themselves out there for audiences who are true champions, win, lose or draw, because music is the soundtrack to all of our lives and this movie is a love letter to that.
Director: Dave Grohl
Starring: Henri Cash, Exene Cervenka, Arrow de Wilde, Foo Fighters, Ringo Starr, Brian Johnson
Studio: Roswell Films, Therapy Studios
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Release Date: April 30, 2021 (United States)
Run Time: 88 minutes