There is no doubt that the late Taylor Hawkins was a fantastic drummer, which is why BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq was so lucky to be given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive a masterclass by the Foo Fighters legend.
The chance to see the master at work wasn’t the only reason fans were drawn to the 50-minute video, though, as Hawkins also gave a fascinating insight into his childhood, revealing how he came to play the drums along with the stars that inspired him to make history in one of the biggest bands in music today.
In the documentary-like class, Hawkins discusses his past and how he came about drumming for the band in 1997. Prior to that, he was touring for Alanis Morissette, the artist best known for her song ‘You Oughta Know’. Hawkins was also the drummer for a progressive experimental band called Sylvia before he made it big with Foo Fighters.
Another talking point for Hawkins during the BBC feature is his drumming heroes, one of which was Roger Taylor from Queen, someone he clearly admired greatly. “Roger gave Queen their heavy feel and big sound,” Hawkins said. “His playing was laid back, loose and – I use this term loosely – punk rock because he did have that sort of rough edge to his drumming, too. And he always put on a real show – he was a very theatrical drummer.
“[Roger Taylor] swings like no one else, and that’s impossible to emulate,” Hawkins continued. “You know it’s him when you hear the hi-hat open up every time he hits the snare. I can play every fill he’s ever done, but I could never get his feel. I’ve tried, and it’s impossible”.
The love was both ways, with Taylor stating that Hawkins was “sunshine in a human being” and even dedicating his OBE to the fellow-legendary drummer.
Not only this, but Hawkins also gives a rare insight into the band dynamic and what role he plays within it. In the class, he says: “It is my responsibility to hold the band together.” While he meant this musically, of course, fellow band member Dave Grohl may argue this to be the case backstage, too, saying, “Upon first meeting, our bond was immediate, and we grew closer with every day, every song, every note that we played together” in his memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.
Amongst the extensive conversation, Hawkins’ solo album, in which he demonstrates some of the drumming involved before giving Steve Lamacq a one-on-one drumming lesson. See the clip, below.