Posted on: April 1, 2022 Posted by: Marcus Collins Comments: 0

When I was younger, people called me weird for listening to the Foo Fighters. They saw a black kid enjoying rock music instead of hip-hop, rap or R&B, and they thought it was strange. But I didn’t care. I just loved hearing Taylor Hawkins rock out with Dave Grohl.

Ever since I heard the song, “Learn to Fly” back in 2005, I have been a fan of the Foo Fighters. In 2007, my mother bought me the video game Guitar Hero II, and my love for the band grew as I was drawn in by the fantastic kick pattern in songs like “Breakout,” and “Times Like These” and the opening drum beat of “The Pretender.”

I noticed then that Hawkins was a different breed of drummer. And over the years, his sheer passion for his work and love of music inspired me.

Marcus Collins

Photo Editor

On March 25, Hawkins died at age 50. The cause of death is unknown, but a toxicology report has shown traces of up to 10 substances in his system.

People around the world have felt this death as if he was one of their own, and in a way he was. Other artists were shocked by the passing of Hawkins, as he had the ability to inspire so many people.

Since 1994 the Foo Fighters have been one of the most successful and influential rock bands of this generation. The band was founded in 1994 by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, originally beginning as a one-man project after Nirvana had fallen apart due to the suicide of Kurt Cobain.  

Now that heartbreaking shockwave is tragically being reflected again with Hawkins’ untimely death.

Oliver Taylor Hawkins was born on Feb. 17, 1972 in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1976 his family moved to Laguna Beach, California. 

In an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, he said that when he was 10, he was not good at anything–school or sports.  His neighbor, Kent Cleaner, had a bunch of beaten-up acoustic guitars and a rickety-rackety drum set.

Hawkins remembered, “He had this drum set and I kept like, I was trying to learn how to play guitar and it seemed too much like work, like homework alright, you know? And he told me just sit on the drums, just try it.”

Hawkins fell in love and knew that playing drums was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. 

Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters drummer

Before joining the Foo Fighters, Hawkins was a touring drummer for Alanis Morisette.

In 1997, when Grohl was in need of a drummer, he contacted Hawkins for suggestions. Hawkins said he was interested in the open spot. Loudwire quotes Grohl, who wrote about becoming friends with Hawkins:

“Tearing through the room like an F5 tornado of hyperactive joy was Taylor Hawkins, my brother from another mother, my best friend, a man from whom I would take a bullet,” he wrote. “Upon first meeting, our bond was immediate, and we grew closer with every day, every song, every note that we played together. I am not afraid to say that our chance meeting was a kind of love at first sight, igniting a musical ‘twin flame’ that still burns to this day. Together, we have become an unstoppable duo, onstage and off, in pursuit of any and all adventure we can find. We are absolutely meant to be, and I am grateful that we found each other in this lifetime.”

In 2001, when Hawkins overdosed on heroin and fell into a coma, Grohl stayed next to Hawkins’s side when he was in the hospital. Grohl stated that he was ready to quit music altogether if Hawkins was not able to pull himself through.

The day after Hawkins died, the band posted this on social media: “The Foo Fighters are 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.” 

Later, the Foo Fighters canceled all upcoming tour dates, saying, “We’re sorry for and share in the disappointment that we won’t be seeing one another as planned. Instead, let’s take this time to grieve, to heal, to pull our loved ones close, and appreciate all the music and memories we’ve made together. With love, Foo Fighters.” 

I have a lot of good memories of growing up, but discovering the Foo Fighters and Taylor Hawkins is one of the best. I will always remember Hawkins for his amazing, funny laugh, his drive to be the best drummer he could be, and his sheer love of music. A love he passed on to a lot of people, including a young black kid playing Guitar Hero II.

Writer Marcus Collins put together a Spotify playlist of some of his favorite Foo Fighters songs in honor of drummer Taylor Hawkins.