Taylor Hawkins is in the unenviable position of being one of the finest rock drummers alive, and sharing the stage with a man commonly regarded as the outright best. As the drummer of Foo Fighters, something he still regards as Dave Grohl’s solo project (“it just happens to be this huge behemoth thing”), he’s been selling out arenas and stadiums for the better part of two decades, joining in 1997 and playing on every album from 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose. He’s turned his versatile style into a trademark and, in the process, he’s come to embody a particular rock aesthetic—the rapturous, long-haired man behind the kit, grinning with a theatrical menace at every one of his own fills.
Foo Fighters may be Grohl’s frighteningly large solo project, but the 44-year-old Hawkins hasn’t shied away from taking the reins on his own from time to time. He’s released two glam-infused albums as Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders; he’s toured with his own covers band, Chevy Metal—”my traveling fucking cottage industry wedding band on crack”—playing deeper cuts from ZZ Top, Van Halen, and Sabbath; and, shooting off from that, he’s released an album as the leader of the similarly retro-sounding Birds of Satan.
But despite being an intelligent songwriter, a producer by osmosis, a more-than-competent guitarist, and a man with a brilliant record collection, Hawkins never quite got round to following Grohl into multi-instrumental band leadership.
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