The Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died Friday before his band’s scheduled performance in Bogota, Colombia. The cause of death is unconfirmed, but media reports Saturday said a toxicology screening found multiple substances in his system. The status of the group, which is in the middle of an extensive tour that includes American stadiums, is up in the air.
Could that spell the end for the Foo Fighters, who played to a sold-out Spokane Arena in December 2017 – one of the highlights was Hawkins’ belting out Queen’s “Under Pressure” with Grohl on drums, during the band’s 24-song set?
Matt Meyer, director of entertainment for Spokane Arena and First Interstate Center for the Arts, believes that it’s possible the Foo Fighters played their final concert since Hawkins, 50, and vocalist-guitarist Dave Grohl, were tight.
“This is the second time Grohl has been in a band in which one of his bandmates died,” Meyer said. “I don’t know what will happen, but obviously Dave Grohl was impacted by the death of Kurt Cobain. Is he going to be able to keep the Foo Fighters alive? How will this impact Dave personally going down the same path? I saw him speak at Pollstar (in February 2019), and he talked about how everything that happened with Kurt still bothers him. I feel bad for him.”
There was no way Nirvana could have existed without Cobain. The much-missed icon was not only the frontman, but also the songwriter and reluctant spokesman of a generation. Regarding Hawkins, the fate of the Foo Fighters could go either way. There is a possibility that a curtain could be drawn on the Foo Fighters. Grohl waxed in his memoir, “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music,” how he felt about 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 for whom I would take a bullet. 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 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.”
There was a time when bands would call it a day after the death of a member, such as Led Zeppelin. When the iconic group’s drummer John Bonham died, Robert Plant refused to perform under the band’s moniker, not just shortly after the death of his best friend but even after the group was offered ridiculous amounts of money in recent years to reunite in front of the Zeppelin banner.
Bands that expire after the death of a member are rare these days. Months after the death of founding member Glenn Frey, the Eagles announced a tour with Frey’s son Deacon Frey and Vince Gill as replacements. The show usually goes on. KISS is planning on naming replacements for a “KISS 2.0,” Gene Simmons told The Spokesman-Review in September.
Foreigner sold out Northern Quest Resort & Casino in September without an original member onstage, and 5,000 fans didn’t seem to mind. Odds are the Foo Fighters will rock on since that’s what Hawkins would have wanted. If there is a chance to book the Foo Fighters, Meyer will do it again. “I would,” Meyer said. “Absolutely. When the Foo Fighters played the Arena, I was not a raging fan, like my wife, but I was very impressed. It was a great show from top to bottom.
“I enjoyed the chemistry between Dave and Taylor. Taylor is very different than your average drummer. You can see the response over the last couple of hours from not just the rock and roll community, but the music community. It’s amazing how much influence he had and the amount of people he touched. It’s awful that he passed away, but yes, I hope the Foo Fighters continue to tour and record. The Foo Fighters are always welcome to come back to Spokane.”
The body of Hawkins, Grohl’s righthand man, was discovered in his hotel room before the band’s performance at Esterio Picnic. “The Foo Fighters is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” said a news release from the Foo Fighters’ publicity group, Nasty Little Man. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.
“Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.”
It’s a shame if it’s the end for the Foo Fighters since the band delivered a solid 2½-plus show filled with energy and precision in August at the Forum in Los Angeles. During the band’s 19-song set, the chemistry between Grohl and Hawkins was palpable. Who knows what’s next for Grohl and the Foo Fighters? Stay tuned.
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