I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sudden and tragic loss of Taylor Hawkins, beloved drummer of the Foo Fighters and a number of side projects including Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders and The Birds of Satan. Hawkins was not only known as one of the most talented drummers in rock, but also as one of the most genuine people to reach his level of stardom. The day of his passing, and for days after, tributes to Hawkins filled the internet from musicians and celebrities alike. It seemed that no one ever had an unkind word to say about the drummer and everyone who came in contact with him felt like a better person for doing so.
From June 1995 until March 1997, Hawkins was Alanis Morissette’s drummer on the tour supporting Jagged Little Pill and her Can’t Not tour. He appeared in the videos for “You Oughta Know”, “All I Really Want”, and “You Learn”. He also appeared on Morissette’s VHS/DVD Jagged Little Pill, Live (1997). In 1997 Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters, a role he would fill for over two decades while recording 9 albums. In addition to his drumming, Hawkins also provided vocals, guitar, and piano to various recordings. His final performance with the Foo Fighters before his death was at the Lollapalooza Argentina festival on March 20, 2022.
Hawkins’s first two major inspirations were Roger Taylor and Stewart Copeland. He reported that listening to these two drummers’ different styles showed him a wide spectrum of drumming. He also mentioned that he would play along with songs on the radio or records, like Queen’s News of the World, to enhance his skills when he was young. He also added Phil Collins of Genesis, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Ringo Starr of The Beatles, and Neil Peart of Rush as additional drum influences.
Dave Grohl, founder and frontman of the Foo Fighters and thought of as one of the best drummers of all time (Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, and Them Crooked Vultures) thought the world of his drummer and best friend. In an interview with 60 Minutes he said, “When you have a drummer like Taylor Hawkins in your band, I don’t necessarily miss being the drummer — because I have the greatest drummer in the world.” He added “He is a much more technically minded drummer than I am.”
Following his death, Roger Taylor, the drummer of Queen who Hawkins said had inspired him to get behind the drum set released a statement that said, “He was a kind, brilliant man and an inspirational mentor to my son Rufus, and the best friend one could ever have. His death was like losing a younger favorite brother.” Hawkins would have been thrilled for such a touching tribute from his childhood hero.
Nine-year-old Emma Sofia, a young drummer who met Hawkins just days before his death summed up Hawkins lasting effect on musicians and fans alike. “Taylor gave us something to believe in. He was, is, and always will be an inspiration.”