Losing Taylor Hawkins was not on my Bingo card for 2022, but here we are and I am distraught.
Hawkins gained his greatest amount of fame as the drummer for Foo Fighters. You have to think that was a hard seat to fill. Any Nirvana fan will tell you. Dave Grohl is one of the funkiest, most hard-hitting drummers of the last thirty years. Imagine that guy saying to you, “Yeah, take the kit.” The responsibility. The legacy. The trust.
Even with all that laying across his scrawny shoulders, Hawkins pulled it off with aplomb. He became the Foo the media turned to if Big Daddy Dave couldn’t be found. Most importantly, within context, Hawkins could play the drums as well as, if not better, than Grohl himself. Hawkins was one of the best utility men ever in a band. He could sing, play the drums, deal with the press. Even during press junkets, in which artists have to answer the same questions over and over, Hawkins projected one single thing: he loved what he was doing, and he loved the band he was in.
It’s been a weird few years, and we’ve all lost a lot. As much as I don’t want this to be true, here we are.
So what do you want to know? Hawkins was born in Texas before he moved to California. He played with both the underrated blues/rock artist Sass Jordan and Alanis Morrissette before joining Foo Fighters. That’s his voice you hear on the Foo’s cover of “Have A Cigar” by Pink Floyd. That’s him singing “Cold Day in the Sun” from the Foo Fighters album In Your Honor. It didn’t take long for Hawkins to gain as much love and audience goodwill as Grohl got. He was just… well, Taylor Hawkins was just cool, and he seemed like the kind of guy you wanted to hang out with and watch shitty phone videos of other bands with on YouTube.
Of course, Hawkins had his problems. Who doesn’t? He overdosed on heroin in 2001, leading to a two-week-long coma. “There was a year where the partying just got a little too heavy,” Hawkins said in an interview with Beats 1 in 2018. “Thank God on some level this guy gave me the wrong line with the wrong thing one night and I woke up going, ‘What the fuck happened?’ That was a real changing point for me.”
As of this writing, we don’t know what the fuck happened. No one has told us. We don’t know if Hawkins chased the dragon too far, came down with a wicked case of COVID, or died of some other natural cause. I don’t reckon that matters. The important thing is that music fans lost not only a fantastic musician, but a human being that many of us considered to be a surrogate friend.
You want it to be wrong. You want it to be some kind of misunderstanding, a bullshit rumor that requires a grand debunking. But it’s not. Foo Fighters tweeted it and that’s all the verification I need. Goddamn. That was not a thing I wanted to hear.
Hawkins leaves behind his wife, Alison, and three children. Beyond that, he leaves behind millions of devastated fans. Hawkins was 50 years old.
If the sky is indeed a neighborhood, then Heaven is a big bang now. Thank you, Taylor. You filled the big shoes, made them your own, and reminded us what it was like to both rock and roll.