There Goes My Hero: A Tribute to Taylor Hawkins


Photo from Wikicommons

Mike Singer

On March 26, the rock music world was shocked when news broke that the Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins passed away at 50.

The news came just two days before the band was set to play in Brazil at the Lollapalooza festival on March 27.

“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever. Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time,” the Foo Fighters wrote.

Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters after playing with Alanis Morissette. Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters in May 1997 just days before the release of their sophomore record “The Color and the Shape.”

What I loved most about Hawkins drumming was that everything was perfectly executed. No drum fill or crash cymbal was out of place. If you listen to songs like “My Hero” of 1997’s “The Color and the Shape” or “Resolve” off 2005’s “In Your Honor,” Hawkins always made sure to compliment his bandmates, not show off and make sure that his drumming was the anchor of the band. 

For the next 25 years, Hawkins would be behind the drum kit in the Foo Fighters. Over that time, Hawkins would appear on 11 different records under the Foo Fighters name with the most recent being 2022’s “Dream Window.”

In between records with The Foo Fighters, Hawkins formed his own band called Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders alongside Chris Chaney and Nate Wood. The trio released two records, 2010’s “Red Light Fever,” and 2019’s “Get The Money.”

I make a living playing rock n’ roll. I’m not going to complain about anything,” Hawkins told Rolling Stone magazine.

Not only did Hawkins play drums for The Foo Fighters but, during live concerts, he would come out from behind the drum kit and sing a couple of songs.

“I really enjoy it, I really do,” Hawkins said in February 2021 with “It’s a very relaxing time, and it’s nice to hand the drumsticks over to Dave [Grohl] and go upfront and shake my ass.”

Hawkins had a lot of influences over the course of his almost 30 plus career with the most notable being David Bowie, Queen, and Rush.

“Me and Dave [Grohl] grew up loving Rush,” Hawkins said when he sat down with “They’re a great band for when you’re a kid and you’re trying to learn as many licks as you can. There’s plenty someone can learn from a Rush record.”

Hawkins has received an outpour on social media from all different types of rock and roll musicians.

“Devastated by the loss of our friend #TaylorHawkins I’ve no words to express all the feelings I have about his passing. But my heart goes out to his family. & his band & friends. RIP Taylor,” said Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash on Twitter.

“@TaylorHawkins was truly a great person and an amazing musician. My heart, my love and my condolences go out to his wife, his children, his family, his band, and his fans. See you on the other side – Ozzy,” said Black Sabbath lead singer Ozzy Osbourne on Twitter.

“Speechless and Gutted. Taylor was a great guy, a dad, and a husband. My heart goes out to them, Dave and the band. What awful news,” said the lead singer and guitarist of Kiss Paul Stanley.

In 2021, The Foo Fighters joined Randy Rhodes, The Go-Go’s, Carole King, and the rest of the class of 2021 in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hawkins will be missed by the rock community dearly. reported that “in lieu of the performance, candles were placed on stage to honor Hawkins.”

Despite Hawkins looking up to drummers like Neil Peart of Rush, and Roger Taylor of Queen, he is not an exact copy of either of them. Hawkins was in his own league. In an era of post-Nirvana grunge where rock to some might be “dead” and artists like Drake and Billie Eilish dominate the radio waves, Hawkins always had a smile on his face that lit up a room and saw himself nothing more than a drummer in a band. 

To add to his character, what I also loved about Hawkins is that he never thought of himself as competing with other bands for the most radio airtime or digital streams. On a number of occasions, he would share the stage with the likes of Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, appear in a backstage video with Gene Simmons of Kiss or take time to join Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac in the photo booth between song takes in the studio.

A hole has been left in the rock community and the music scene mourns the loss of a rock and roll brother that leaves behind three children and a wife.

And now I think Hawkins has indeed learned to fly. As Hawkins best friend Dave Grohl sang in 1999’s “Learn To Fly”

“Now I’m looking to the sky to save me. Looking for a sign of life. Looking for something to help me burn out bright.”