Shortly after sound checking his “70s dirt rock cover band” Chevy Metal for a performance on the eve of Metallica’s second Orion Music + More festival during June of 2013 in Detroit, Taylor Hawkins spoke — effusively, as was his nature — to this writer about his musical ventures and adventures to that point.
“Man, I just wanted to play music all the time, and I’m doing it and it feels great,” said the multi-faceted performer. At that point, Hawkins was five albums into his career with Foo Fighters, after tenures with Alanis Morissette and Sass Jordan, and had also launched another band, the Coattail Riders — thus stacking up a resume of high profile collaborations.
“Y’know, I wanted to be in a great band. I’m in one,” Hawkins said. “I wanted to play with great people. I am. I wanted a life in music, and…look at it. It’s there. I’m just really, really happy. And fortunate.”
There’s no doubt those who played with him or got to see Hawkins perform felt the same way.
Like his bandmate and friend Dave Grohl, Hawkins — who died unexpectedly Friday (March 25th) in Bogota, Colombia, at the age of 50 — regularly tops any list of the world’s most-liked and even loved rock ‘n’ rollers. His enthusiasm was insane and insanely infectious.
A combination of energy, abandon and — not to be discounted — great skill, he was a real-life incarnate of the Muppets’ Animal; Hawkins behind the drums was all adrenalin, flailing limbs and a smile brighter than the lighting rig — but don’t for a minute mistake that for recklessness.
A true prisoner of rock ‘n’ roll from an early age, he cited Queen’s Roger Taylor and the Police’s Stewart Copeland as his first major influences and grew from there, becoming a hybrid of Ringo Starr’s pocket, John Bonham’s power and Neil Peart’s precision, along with the daring-do of countless others.