Remembering Taylor Hawkins, 1972-2022

It was shocking to hear about the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, not just because of his young age, just 50, but because of how much life he brought to his band — in hard-hitting execution, but also sheer enthusiasm. He brought joy to rock ’n’ roll and one of its last remaining arena-worthy bands.

It wasn’t an easy thing to step into being the Foo Fighters drummer. Bandleader Dave Grohl had already made his name as standout drummer for Nirvana and in fact played all the drum parts for the Foo Fighters their second album in 1997 (after dismissing the band’s first drummer during its recording). 

“I knew what it was, coming in,” Hawkins told me in 2000. 

He was already on the road with Alanis Morissette, then at the top of her career. Still, he agreed to leave her to join Foo Fighters because “it seemed like more fun. And I liked the music way more. No disrespect to Alanis, but that was a different kind of thing. She was really hot. A lot of people put her down, but she had the hugest album out there, and it was a lot more intelligent and smart than anything that’s huge now.”

That was 22 years ago, when he felt he was already feeling a bit old.

“I’m only 28, man, but I feel we’re one generation ahead of Limp Bizkit or Korn,” he said. “And we don’t even try to compete with metal. That’s not even us.”

Of the Foo Fighters, Hawkins said, “people compare us to the Goo Goo Dolls, and we say it’s not even us.”

Joining Grohl’s band just before it recorded the “There is Nothing Left to Lose” album, he was willing to sit out the recording if need be.

“I said to Dave, ‘You do the album and I’ll be there to tour,” Hawkins told me. “Just the fact I got to play at all on the album was cool.”

He’s been a mainstay ever since, even singing lead on a few cuts, from covers of Phik Floyd, Cream and Joe Walsh as well as the track “Sunday Rain” and “Cold Day in the Sun.” He took lead on “Shadow Dancing,” for the band’s cover project Dee Gees, doing songs the Bee Gees for the album “Hail Satin” last year.

It was clear there was so much more in him musically for the future. 

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