My first time seeing Foo Fighters was at Harborl, er, Fleet Pavilion in Boston on July 5, 2003. As you know, there are few better live music experiences in Boston than seeing a band on the Harbor in the summertime, and the Foo did not disappoint.
Five years later, seeing the band live for the first time, Taylor Hawkins made me forget all about William Goldsmith.
I couldn’t believe what an amazing drummer he was. And as many have said in the wake of his passing, if you’re so good behind the kit that you can back Dave Grohl and make people forget Dave Grohl is a drummer, too? That’s a singular talent right there.
The standout moment from that night as I remember it was “Stacked Actors:” the band turned it into a jam, which I usually hate, but it gave Taylor room to shine. And did he ever.
DCU Center, Backstage, 2005
Foo Fighters headlined the DCU Center in Worcester for the In Your Honor Tour on October 15, 2005. The band’s label, RCA Records, made Dave and Taylor available for interviews before the show and invited the Boston and Worcester rock stations to meet with the pair backstage pre-show. Lucky for me, I was tapped to cover the show.
I was hosting middays at WBCN at the time, and every weekday at noon I would put together a theme lunch with listener requests. So I had the idea that I would build a Foo-themed lunch by having Dave and Taylor each choose their favorite song from each of the five Foo Fighters albums that had been released to that point: Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, One by One, and In Your Honor.
I pitched the pair on the idea and they loved it. So we all sat down and I recorded them talking about their favorite songs and why they were their favorite songs and I prodded them along with questions and bad jokes and we all had a grand time.
It was Taylor who had the grandest time of all. He was genuinely enthusiastic about the idea and passionate about his picks. He even backed me up when I gave Dave shit about always underselling the debut album. It’s my favorite and it’s Dave’s least favorite and Taylor took my side and for that I’m forever grateful.
Now, to find that old audio…
Middle East, Downstairs, 2006
Taylor wasn’t just the Foo’s stickman, of course. Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders were his “other” musical outlet and I had the pleasure of seeing them live in Cambridge in April of 2006.
Back then, WBCN still hosted the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, an annual battle of the bands. It always ended with a final night of rock where the three top-finishing local bands played for the Rumble Crown. We’d always book a national act to headline the night while the judges chose the winner, and in 2006, it was Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders.
The set was great, because you got to see Taylor front his band from the kit, which is always a treat. But the real treat was Hardy’s interview before the show, which we’ve shared below.
Taylor was something else. He’ll be missed, and missed dearly.
Taylor Hawkins: Live Performance Tributes from Slash, Elton John, Joan Jett & More
Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators
Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators performed “Starlight” from his 2010’s self-titled album during the band’s March 26 show in Orlando in tribute to Hawkins. Slash said before the performance, “I’m sure most of you are aware that we lost a really close friend of ours last night — Taylor Hawkins, the drummer of the Foo Fighters. First of all, he was a great f—ing guy — a f—ing sweetheart. He was a really good friend and a kickass drummer. [We’re] completely crushed that we’ve lost him. So we wanna do a song tonight and dedicate it to him. ”
Elton John dedicated “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to Hawkins during his March 26 show in Des Moine, Iowa. He said before the performance, “I got up this morning to see that Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters had passed away, and I was so shocked because he played on my ‘Lockdown Sessions’ album and he was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and one of the greatest drummers and a true musician who loved all sorts of music and loved life. And it seems so sad that at 50 years of age we’ve lost someone who had that much passion. And it makes me so downhearted for his family — his three children and his wife and his other relatives — and, of course, the Foo Fighters who’ve lost a dearest loved one that can never, ever be replaced. But his music will live on. But I can tell you he was a great, great one. So this song is for him and his family and his wife and his children.”
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Joan Jett & the Blackheart dedicated “Fragile” to Hawkins during their set at the Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival on March 26 in Brookhaen, Ga. Jett was emotional when leading into the song telling the crowd Hawkins was “one of the greatest drummers of our time.”
Joan Jett’s tribute to the late Taylor Hawkins. She is close to the Foo Fighters and has opened for them on tour. She also fronted Nirvana for their induction into the Rock hall of fame. The song is titled… Fragile. Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival. Atlanta GA 3/26/22 🖤
Cyrus was visible emotional when honoring Hawkins during her set at Lollapalooza Brazil saying, “We had to make this emergency landing, and the first person I called was Taylor because he was already at the festival. That would’ve been the time that I would’ve gotten to see my friend, and I didn’t, so it makes me really sad I would’ve done anything to hang out with him one more time.” She and her band played “Angels Like You” in honor of Hawkins.
Mammoth WVH covered the Foo Fighters hit “My Hero” during their March 26 gig in Boston with Wolfgang Van Halen saying before the performance that Hawkins “…was a hero to me, and a hero to all of us, and a hero to countless people, so we feel this is necessary.”
Gallagher closed out his March 26 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall dedicating “Live Forever” to Hawkins.
Daughtry covered “My Hero” with help from Mark Tremonti and Lyell during their March 26 show in New Orleans.