The Foo Fighters are an indestructible musical juggernaut. But the death of Taylor Hawkins shows that they are human beings too.
It’s no small feat for the Foo Fighters to say they’ve saturated fans with music over the past year.
Primarily, they released their GRAMMY nominated album, medicine at midnightand Dave Grohlbest-selling memories, The narrator. But then there were all around these press cycles, which could prove overwhelming for any music lover – the horror movie, Workshop 666; the children they invited shred on stage; the rekindled beef with Westboro Baptist Church. When you factor in the world tour, Rock Hall induction, talk show appearances, and the Golden Throne, it’s hard to imagine even the most hardcore fan would need Continued Foo Fighters in 2022.
But in a rolling stone On last year’s cover, Grohl pointed out that all that prolificacy wasn’t just for herself — it came from broken hearts and a need to pick up the pieces. “We were people who came from bands that quit early, that weren’t done making music,” he said, nodding at the death of kurt cobain of NirvanaGrohl’s old band, and Darby Crash of germsthe pioneering punk band co-founded by guitarist Foos pat smear. “So we imagined it was kind of a continuation and our band was about life. So why not celebrate it in any way we can?”
So the Foos have raged against the death of light for a quarter century as ambassadors of rock’s innocence and goodwill. And then a staggering loss – of Taylor Hawkinsthe smiling, good-humored drum deity in the back – stunned the music community.
Hours before the 12 GRAMMY winners took the stage at the Estéreo Picnic Festival in Bogotá, Colombia – and just over a week before they performed at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards – the group tweeted out an announcement that left rock fans reeling. “The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” it read. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live with us all forever.” The drummer was 50 years old.
Although no cause or location was immediately given, the municipal government of Bogotá revealed that he died in his hotel room. And according to the metropolitan police of Bogotá, “the cause of death has not yet been established”, but “according to his relatives, the death could be related to drug consumption”.
Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. expressed his condolences to from Hawkins family and supporters in a report. (At the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, The Foo Fighters are nominated Best Rock Performance for “Making a Fire”, Best Rock Song for “Waiting on a War” and Best Rock Album for medicine at midnight.)
With Hawkins dead, the unstoppable Foo Fighters train came to a halt. Just a few days ago, you could reliably pick up your phone and see Hawkins’ goofy smile, surfer-like demeanor, behind-the-kit acrobatics. Being a Foo Fighters fan always meant guessing – what would they be doing this week? Tear in a Bee Gees cover, turning Madison Square Garden into a huge dance party? Release an album of speed-metal songs under a nickname? Now, no matter what the Foo Fighters do next, they’ll never be the same again.
Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1972 and grew up in Laguna Beach, California. In the early 1990s, he worked with Canadian singer Sass Jordan, before bursting onto the world stage as a Alanis Morrisettethe drummer on tour during his Little shredded pill time. After Foo Fighters drummer William Goldsmith left the band during the 1997 sessions color and shapeGrohl offered the drum throne to Hawkins.
In his memoirs, The narrator, Grohl expressed how much he loved Hawkins. “Part Beavis and Buttheadpart Stupid and even dumberwe were a hyperactive blur of Parliament lights and air drums everywhere we went,” he wrote, claiming they had become “virtually inseparable”.
On classic Foos records, from 1999 There’s nothing to lose to 2011 waste the light and until medicine at midnightHawkins has struck an almost impossible balance – not copying or eclipsing the other famous drummer of the group, but remaining totally distinctive and recognizable. At first, however, Hawkins felt like he couldn’t match Grohl, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time.
“And at one point I just said to Dave, ‘Look, man, I just don’t think I can do this,'” Hawkins recalled. rolling stone. “And what he said kinda chokes me up. He’s like, ‘You’re going to play drums on this.’ I did half the drums on it, because he held my hand, like an older brother does, a best friend. That’s why we’re here today.”
Few drummers can make a song pump and slam like Grohl. But Hawkins… affecting proportionally by Queenit’s Roger Taylor and the policeit’s Stewart Copeland – had a bouncy and dynamic style of his own. And with Grohl’s support, he became not only a worthy member of Foo Fighters, but the heart of its propulsion system.
Although Grohl originally sang all the vocals and played all the instruments on the Foo Fighters records, his accompanists were never anonymous onstage characters. Hawkins, guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflet, bassist Nate Mendel and keyboardist Rami Jaffee – all bonded by a maniacal sense of brotherhood – are equally crucial to the band’s sound and appeal. Live and in the studio, the Foos brought heavy artillery – an album could be an HBO special, a concert an overwhelming spectacle that makes you laugh, dance and cry.
This reliability and ubiquity can be a double-edged sword. This begets the notion that the Foos will always be around: you can potentially leave for a few years and come back – they’ll be waiting for you. But as we’ve learned with beloved artists (and human cartoon characters) Prince and Tom Smallthe musician who is apparently always on the screen can disappear in an instant. Going around the world with a permanent smile doesn’t mean you don’t have your own inner demons and can’t be torn from the planet – from all of us.
It’s unclear what the future of Foo Fighters might entail. For now, the band sent their love to Hawkins’ wife, children and family, adding, “We ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect at this incredibly difficult time.”
There are tons of songs, albums, skits, and YouTube videos to remember Hawkins from, but obviously we should have decades more. This cruel fact sheds a different light on the recent ubiquity of the Foo Fighters. This year-long music and media cycle — which would run almost any other band to exhaustion — wasn’t just for attention; it was to have fun and make as much music as humanly possible. Because Grohl and company know from experience, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
“I don’t fucking want to die! I know it’s inevitable, but I don’t want to,” Grohl said. rolling stone. “It’s going to be a real headache. I’m going to fight as long as I can.” In the same interview, Smear called the Foo Fighters “lovers of life” – contrasting their ethos with Cobain’s “I hate myself and I want to die” theatrics. For the Foo Fighters, life is born out of heartbreak and pain. And it’s audible to the very beat of the band’s heartbeat – the one Hawkins provided.
“I think Taylor really underestimates his importance in this group,” Grohl added. “Maybe because he’s not the original drummer, but, my God, what would we be without Taylor Hawkins? Can you imagine? It would be a whole different thing…Taylor’s insecurity pushes him to surpass himself.”
For the jubilant, outrageous and tortured Hawkins, rock was the juice of life. Tragically, we will never see Hawkins’ bare teeth and blond hair behind Foo Fighters again. But his life, his legacy, and his passing prove it once and for all: strip away the memes and the noise, and you have human beings just trying to get through the agony and find their way to joy.
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