Early 1987. Around a year after recording his first full-length album with Dain Bramage a 17-year-old Dave Grohl is shopping for new drumsticks at a Virginia music store. As he was leaving the store, Grohl noticed an inconspicuous looking flyer by the door. It read simply “Scream looking for drummer, call Franz.”
Scream was, as Grohl described, “Legendary in D.C.” The band formed in 1981 during the explosion of the hardcore music scene in the area and had established themselves as one of the top acts. He’d seen the band live several times and considered their first two records as among his absolute favorites. It was safe to say Grohl was a fan of the band, and the teenager initially saw their vacant drummer position as an opportunity to simply play with his heroes. At just 17 years of age, he didn’t initially consider he could actually fill the role full time, but he would be able to tell his friends “I got to play with Scream!” Grohl called the number on the flyer, explaining to Franz that he was a huge fan and that he wanted to “give it a shot”. When asked his age Grohl decided to tell a white lie, adding three years to his true age in an attempt to improve his chances. The phone call ended, and Dave crossed his fingers.
Some months passed by with no further contact from Stahl, so Grohl took the initiative and called him again - “This time I convinced him to give me an hour or two of his time and scheduled an audition.” At the audition, Grohl surprised the band by turning down the suggestion to play some classic rock covers and instead wanted to jump straight into the Scream back catalog. “Seeing as how Scream records were among those I used to play drums to on my bed when I was first learning, I knew all their songs by heart” he recalled. “I even had an advance copy of their latest demo.”
The members of Scream were suitably impressed. More practice sessions soon followed, and it soon dawned on Grohl that things had gone way further than just something to brag about to his friends. “[It] was something that never entered my mind, the possibility of actually joining Scream.” It left him with a choice to make - “Leave my two greatest friends in the dust and travel the world with one of my favorite bands ever. Or stick with Dain Bramage and hope it all works out.”
Initially, Grohl decided to stay loyal to his friends, calling Franz and explaining his predicament. Then came a change of heart. “I think he understood and invited me to their next show a few weeks later,” explained Grohl. “It was one of the greatest Scream shows I'd ever seen. I changed my mind.”
Shortly after joining the band they left the well-known Dischord label and were signed up by Ras Records, a reggae label trying to break into the rock and hardcore market. In mid-1987 the band was thrown into a professional 24-track studio with a reggae producer to record what would become their fourth studio album.
The studio in question was Lion and Fox Recording Studios in Washington D.C., a completely different world in comparison to Barrett Jones’ Laundry Room or the converted garage in Maryland. The studio had a generously large live tracking room, professionally installed sound dampening and everything else one would expect from a top-of-the-line studio.
The main creative force behind Scream were Franz and Pete Stahl, the brothers who founded the band, but during recording Grohl was also invited to give his input, far more involved than any of his previous bands. As well as playing drums on all songs, Grohl also helped on the arrangement of the song ‘Fucked Without A Kiss’ and was the sole writer on the track ‘In The Beginning’. It may have only been 45 seconds of music, but it was a clear sign of Grohl’s talents and a sign of what was to come. Another first during this recording session was his contribution of backing vocals to all tracks, marking the first time his vocals would be featured on a commercial release.
‘No More Censorship’ saw release in August 1988 on vinyl, cassette, and CD. In 2017 the album was reissued, having been remixed and remastered by the Stahl brothers.