I was absolutely devastated to wake up Saturday morning and learn of the death of musician Taylor Hawkins at the age of 50. The Foo Fighters were a formative band in my youth, and Hawkins' passion, energy, and romance with Dave Grohl has always inspired me — both as a musician, and as a human.
Hawkins joined the band with the release* of their second album, The Colours and the Shapes, after several years as the drummer for Alanis Morrisette's band. While Dave Grohl is obviously the focal point of the Foo Fighters, I would argue that Hawkins' entry in the group is what truly cemented them as something special. There are some truly beautiful moments in the band's 2011 documentary Back and Forth in which Hawkins and Grohl reflect on the tensions between them circa 2000-2001. The band had shelved an album; Grohl joined Queens of the Stone Age for a while; Hawkins had a serious overdose; and the two of them almost came to blows. But hearing them talk about it a decade later feels like an epic story of true rock n' roll love conquering all.
The video above was filmed in Argentina at the Foo Fighters' last live performance before Hawkins' untimely death. Hawkins, who had previously taken the microphone on the band's single "Cold Day in the Sun" and a few other b-sides and covers, steps out from behind the drum set and absolutely slays while singing "Somebody to Love" by Queen.
Rest in peace, Taylor Hawkins.
*Hawkins didn't play on the album; Grohl had recruited William Goldsmith from Sunny Day Real Estate, and then re-recorded all of Goldsmith's drum parts without telling him, prompting Goldsmith to quit in an understandable rage. Grohl has since admitted that he did not handle that particular situation very well.