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Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins dead at 50

Taylor Hawkins closeup
(Image credit: Andreas Neumann)

Foo Fighters have announced the death of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins. He was 50.

In a statement released on social media, the band say, "The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins."

"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."

The band were due to play at Estéreo Picnic 2022 in Bogata, Colombia, this evening. Local website Semana reports (opens in new tab) that Hawkins' body was found in his hotel room north of Bogata. No cause of death has been announced. 

Taylor Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 17, 1972. and came to prominence in 1995 as the drummer on Alanis Morissette's Jagged Litte Pill tour. 

“Alanis had just made this record and she needed to a band,” he told Classic Rock in 2019. “So she hired me as a drummer and kind of put me in charge of getting the band together. She went off to do a bunch of press, then she came back and it just never stopped.”

“I was lucky in that I was really on the outside of the eye of the hurricane,” he continued. “Alanis was living in absolute fucking… it was too much. When you’re flavour of the year, there’s so much fucking pressure."

In 1997 Hawkins left Morissette's band to join the Foo Fighters after original sticks-man William Goldsmith left the band, and he's been in the seat ever since. Making his recorded debut on 1999's There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Hawkins had song-writing credits on every subsequent Foo Fighters album.  

While Foo Fighters is Dave Grohl's band, Hawkins was an obvious second-in-command. A drummer with the kind of skill to match his boss, he often partnered with Grohl when the band were interviewed, and the pair's uncanny on-stage chemistry was based first and foremost on their offstage friendship. 

“For all our trials and tribulations, Dave is like a brother," said Hawkins. "When we walk out onstage, every time we nod and look at each other and go, ‘Alright, here we go.’ We’re getting in the ring together."

Hawkins also collaborated with a number of other musicians. NHC (Navarro Hawkins Chaney), reunited Morissette’s rhythm section with the man Hawkins called “the best lead guitarist in alternative rock”, Jane's Addiction man Dave Navarro, who played on the studio version of Morissette’s 1995 mega-hit You Oughta Know.

His own band, Taylor Hawkins And The Coattail Riders. released three albums. The most recent, 2019's Get the Money, featured an array of superstar sidekicks including Grohl, Roger TaylorJoe Walsh, LeAnn Rimes, Nancy WilsonDuff McKaganSteve Jones and Chrissie Hynde.

Hawkins also released music as The Birds Of Satan, another all-star project – one that paid tribute to the seventies rock bands Hawkins grew up with – and his “professional wedding band” Chevy Metal.

“The main thing I learned from Dave is that it’s hard to get to where we are," Hawkins told Classic Rock. "There’s a lot of luck, a lot of things other than just music that go into why we’re here. Sure we do well, but the key is to never believe the hype and just stay humble.”

Fraser Lewry
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.