The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 948: Remembering Taylor Hawkins

Back in 2014, I was invited to the Foo Fighters headquarters, 606 Studios, the band’s hangout and nerve centre in Van Nuys, California. I was there to talk about the new album and TV series, Sonic Highways.

I got there before anyone from the band arrived. First to roll up was Taylor Hawkins, driving the same beat-up 1986 Toyota 4×4 pick-up that he bought for $400 when he was still in high school. He left his other vehicle, a 2005 Subaru Baja at home.

“Not a very rock star ride,” I said when he got out. Taylor smiled–of course he smiled–and said “It gets the job done.” Taylor was never much for the trappins of rock stardom. Here’s a quote: “If you want to play music, play music because you want to play music, not because you want to be rich and famous.”

We went inside where I was created by a poster on the wall from an obscure solo album by Queen drummer, Roger Taylor. It was a 1981 release known only to superfans called Fun in Space.

Taylor came alive. “Roger Taylor, man! My idol. My favourite drummer ever. Queen was my first concert and I’ve been a fan ever since! I mean, just listen to the guy play!”

And that’s how the conversation went until everyone else arrived and we had to start the interview. But during those 15 or 20 minutes, Taylor made me feel at home, a welcome guest in this sacred and very private Foo Fighters space.

I forgot that I was talking to the drummer of one of the biggest bands on the planet. He was just this goofy, fun, surfer dude who wanted to talk about music. I think he even made me an espresso.

I remembered that encounter when I heard that Taylor had died. He wasn’t just the Foos’ drummer and a beloved member of the band. He was a nice, normal guy who wanted to do nothing more than be a dad and play rock’n’roll.

Let’s spend some time remembering Taylor Hawkins.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Foo Fighters, Somebody to Love (Live)
  • Foo Fighters, Have a Cigar
  • Alanis Morissette, You Oughta Know (Live on Letterman)
  • Foo Fighters, Stacked Actor (Live on Letterman)
  • Foo Fighters, Cold Day in the Sun
  • Taylor Hawkins, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Holy Man
  • NHC, Feed the Cruel

Eric Wilhite cobbled this together best he could.

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