Taylor Hawkins was so f***ing cool – Foo Fighters fans owe a lot to him

I woke up this morning and my phone was on fire. I knew something bad had happened before my eyes could send whatever signals they needed to fire up my brain. There were phone calls and messages from friends, family, work colleagues, ex-girlfriends.

It can’t be. Not Taylor. Surely, not Taylor.

Taylor Hawkins was so f***ing cool. Long blonde hair, top off/vest on, rocking shorts, looking like he should be eating an ice cream on a Californian beach, but actually smashing the living daylights out of a drum set for the biggest band in the world.

Only last week, I wrote a piece about mortality and the fragility of life. This is the worst kind of irony. I love the Foo Fighters.

I can clearly remember the first time I heard one of their records. It was at a sleepover; me and my mate Shaun were staying at our friend Mike’s and we watched I Know What You Did Last Summer, which scared me so much that it put me off horror movies for life and intensified my hatred for my paper round. To lighten the mood, Mike stuck on a CD. I have played “Doll”, then “Monkey Wrench” and “Hey Johnny Park!” – tracks from Foo Fighters’ “The Color and the Shape” – and I couldn’t get it into my ears fast enough.

Without fail, I would listen to “Everlong” whilst getting dressed for school in the morning. I swear my parents can still hear it, like some kind of phantom song constantly playing out of my bedroom. Everything about that song is perfect to me. The gentle way it starts, the lyrics, the way it builds, the bass, the energy, the drums – my God, the drums!

Yes, I know that Dave Grohl did the drums on that album. And yes, he is widely regarded as the best drummer in the world. But that’s what made Taylor even more badass; he stepped up like it was nothing. Their friendship felt special – their bond was almost tangible, joyous.

I had Foo Fighters posters on my wall, I bought every album, book, pin badge… I remember even watching Jim Carrey in Me, Myself & Irene and liking the film more because “Breakout” was included in the end credits: “You make me dizzy, running circles in my head…”.

Without even realizing, I got up today and pulled a Foo Fighters T-shirt over my head. That’s how ingrained they are in my life; it was not a conscious decision, but, rather, second nature.

I first saw these guys in the flesh when they headlined Reading in 2002. They finished with “Everlong” and there was a firework display. It was one of those moments where everything in your life suddenly makes sense. I’ve felt that every other time I’ve seen them, too – from the smaller, more intimate gigs in Cardiff, to the all-consuming monster gigs at Wembley.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that Dave Grohl is my hero. I’d melt if I ever met the guy – which I almost did. For seven years with CBeebies, I’d been banging on about getting him in to read the Bedtime Story. In September last year, it finally happened, but, typically, I couldn’t make it. The universe obviously wasn’t ready for me to bear hug a full-grown man, whilst muttering “I love you”, and losing the ability to speak in full sentences.

I feel immensely lucky to have been able to write a card and tell him what he means to me. It was probably way more coherent than anything I could have said in person, and to know he read it meant the world. For him to have signed a copy of his book by him with a little note was next level.

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I can’t begin to imagine how Dave is feeling today.

I never met Taylor. I never got to tell him, or the rest of the band, that their music changed my life. It was the soundtrack when I first fell in love; it was there when loved ones died; it was there on graduation; it was there for road trips and holidays; it was there when I felt alone; it was there for the best and the worst bits of me.

Taylor Hawkins, with his constant grin that made you happy just to look at him, was truly iconic. And I want to say: thank you, man.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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