A week ago the world lost one of the best and most charismatic musicians of his generation. Taylor Hawkins was not only the drummer of one of the most impressive bands in rock n’ roll history, but a complete artist who knew how to express himself behind a drum set, sometimes with a microphone in his hand, but forever with a smile on his face.
Dave Grohl is a living legend, multi-talented and welcome in every social circle he goes, so when we think about how Taylor made his musical path into the hall of rock stars, wasn’t only being a great drummer, but not letting such a shining star like Dave overshadow his presence, and he did it with grace.
But here’s the thing, Taylor was not just one hell of a drummer, but a powerful singer who could hit notes straight of his heart, following the examples he grew up listening to, like Phil Collins and Roger Taylor, just to name a couple. He had those guys and a lot of other bands printed on posters, covering his walls when he was young, but if you had the chance to see some of the live streams or backstage footage he did for the last couple of years, you might notice that in his office/private studio, he still had dozens and dozens of posters, frames and memorabilia of his idols, because even when he became one, he never forgot the passion that changed his life: music.
Unfortunately there are demons around that we can’t see, but they hug like a bear. Alone in his hotel room, he faced the last few minutes of his life go by, just hours before a concert. Like some of the guys on his posters, a melancholy ending for someone who just made people laugh and feel loved. He never denied how much he enjoyed this crazy side of being a rockstar though. Even after his overdose more than 20 years ago, he never said he had stopped with some habits.
Now that we’re slowly starting to realize he’s gone, the world is a sadder place. The last few years have been tough without Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Scott Weiland, Alexi Laiho and many more that we had to say goodbye without a final chance to say farewell. What makes the whole thing more tragic is that Taylor was from the same kind of generation as those guys. He never cared about social media the way many artists pretend to care about, caring a lot about how they look online. You can’t find the last nonsense selfie or tweet he wrote because he was too busy living his real life, being there for his friends, family and making music like the professional he was.
A guy so humble that never minded going to an award ceremony wearing shorts or going to TV shows with sandals. He looked like a mix between a surfer and an ’80s kid who’d just bought his favorite band pants. He could express some feelings by drawing on shirts or on his drums, but he always spoke louder through his classic fills, rolls and drumlines.
When you think of Foo Fighters, Dave will forever be the face and voice of the band he created after such sad moments in his life, but he found in Taylor not just his right-hand man and the power machine behind his songs, but on Taylor he found a dear friend. Even after 25 years since Taylor and Dave became “one”, Hawkins was still loyal and grateful for everything Grohl had done for him. The last show in Argentina was a great example of this, when he thanked the leader of the Foo after a hug. You can be as good as you want, but only a few can be such a sweet soul as Taylor was.
Ruffus Taylor, son of the legendary Queen’s drummer, found in Taylor someone to be his master. Like a good padawan, he made a name for himself, drumming with quality and passion through some different bands and artists. Until the last few days guess who was still looking for his spiritual godson? How beautiful is to become a reference to the kid of his main influence, right?
From the ballads of “There’s Nothing Left to Lose” to the heavy stuff on “Wasting Light”, Taylor created his own style through a celebrated discography, even swinging between some different songs as we can hear on “Medicine of Midnight”, now his final record.
When Foo Fighters wasn’t enough to show some sides of his personality, Taylor created several projects. Bands to cover, others to play with friends and even one to show an incredible side of his compositions.
Losing an artist like Taylor is horrible because he played with joy, always smiling, loving his bandmates and feeling grateful to be working on the one thing he’s always loved to do, having fun on every possible stage.
Let’s hope that Dave, the Foos, family and close friends can learn to live without such a beautiful source of joy walking around in his air jordans, colorful shorts and a handmade shirt.
We should be more like Taylor, love the ones we care, be a friend you can count on and just forget about vanities. He found somebody to love in every person in the crowd, on stage and around him.
Like the wings of the hawk he had on his arm, spread your wings and fly to a place where no one can hurt you, T., we miss you already.
Rest in music, Taylor, because your legacy will live forever. You are one of a kind and you will always be.