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Foo Fighters Drummer Taylor Hawkins Dead at 50

“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the band writes. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever”

Kat Bouza Mar 26, 2022

Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters in Los Angeles in February 2022. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

Taylor Hawkins, the jovial, ferocious drummer for Foo Fighters for more than two decades, has died at the age of 50, according to a statement from the band.

“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” read the message, which was posted to social media. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.” Foo Fighters are currently on tour in South America and were scheduled to perform at Festival Estéreo Picnic in Bogotá, Colombia, at the time of Hawkins’ death, a rep for the band told Rolling Stone.

As news of Hawkins’ death spread, numerous musicians and celebrities took to social media to honor the late drummer. “God bless you Taylor Hawkins. I loved your spirit and your unstoppable rock power,” wrote Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, sharing a photo of himself and Hawkins alongside Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell. “Rest In Peace my friend.”

“I’ve always had so much admiration for him,” former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy said of Hawkins on Twitter. “Amazing drummer & a gem of a guy who was always fun to be around.” Producer Steve Albini and musician Finneas also shared tributes to Hawkins.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Hawkins relocated to Southern California with his family in his early childhood. He first rose to prominence as the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette during the Jagged Little Pill era. “The second I heard ‘You Oughta Know,’ I was like, ‘I’m in that band!’” Hawkins told Rolling Stone last November. “I just knew.” Hawkins also appeared in the music videos for the singer’s hit singles “You Oughta Know” and “You Learn.”

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After inter-studio conflict led to the departure of Foo Fighters’ original drummer William Goldsmith during recording sessions for the group’s breakthrough second album The Colour and the Shape — forcing frontman Dave Grohl to handle drumming duties — Hawkins officially joined the band in the spring of 1997.

Grohl would later refer to the drummer as his “best friend and partner in crime” in his 2021 autobiography, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music. “During his stint as Alanis Morissette’s drummer, long before he became a Foo Fighter, we would bump into each other backstage at festivals all over the world, and our chemistry was so obvious that even Alanis herself once asked him, ‘What are you going to do when Dave asks you to be his drummer?’” Grohl wrote. “Part Beavis and Butthead, part Dumb and Dumber, we were a hyperactive blur of Parliament Lights and air drumming wherever we went.”

Throughout his career with Foo Fighters, Hawkins occasionally handled vocal duties, singing lead on the group’s 2005 single “Cold Day in the Sun” and “Sunday Rain” from 2017’s Concrete and Gold. Hawkins also frequently sang cover songs with the group, both for Foo Fighters B sides and during live performances — including a powerful rendition of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” during a January 2021 show for fully-vaccinated fans in Los Angeles.

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“He came into a band that was pretty scrappy, in general, and kind of acclimated to that for a second, and then was like, ‘Hang on a second, what if we become good?’” Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel said of Hawkins last year. “That was Taylor’s thing, like, ‘Why don’t we learn how to be better as a band and pay more attention to what we’re doing live?’”

Outside of his work with Foo Fighters, Hawkins regularly collaborated with other musicians and groups — and even launched several side projects of his own. In 2006, he embarked on a solo career with Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, reuniting with his former Morissette touring bandmate and Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney. Hawkins would go on to release three albums under the Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders banner, tapping artists including Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, Elliot Easton of the Cars, Jane Addiction’s Perry Farrell, as well as Grohl for collaborations. Hawkins also fronted cover band Chevy Metal with friends Wiley Hodgden and Mick Murphy, eventually releasing an album under the moniker Birds of Satan in 2014.

Hawkins is survived by his wife and three children.

This story is developing.

From Rolling Stone US.

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