Here's why Justin Hawkins almost pulled out of performing Van Halen songs at the Taylor Hawkins tribute gig

Wolfgang Van Halen and Justin Hawkins of The Darkness performing at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert
(Image credit: YouTube)

Earlier this month, some of the biggest stars in the music world congregated to pay their respects to the late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins.

During that tribute concert, which took place in Wembley Stadium, London on September 3, The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins performed a medley of Van Halen songs, with Wolfgang Van Halen on lead guitar, Dave Grohl on bass and Josh Freese on drums.

Prior to the night however, Hawkins admits that he almost bailed on the performance - which saw the makeshift supergroup perform VH classics On Fire and Hot For Teacher - due to a momentary lapse of confidence.

While sharing light on the special evening in a new vlog post on his Justin Hawkins Rides Again series, the singer answers a fan's question about which collaboration he was most nervous about being part of. On top of his set with Wolfgang Van Halen, The Darkness' frontman also performed with Taylor Hawkins' band The Coattail Riders, Queen, and (unexpectedly) AC/DC's Brian Johnson and Metallica's Lars Ulrich.

Firstly, Hawkins reveals that he was most apprehensive about performing with Queen (he guested on Under Pressure) and admits that the other section he was unsure of, was the Van Halen medley. In fact, at one point, he says he almost decided to pass on the opportunity to another singer. 

Hawkins says, "When Dave [Grohl] initially called me, he was talking about Van Halen and he told me which songs I'd be doing and he told me what the ensemble for the Van Halen section would be, which is Dave Grohl on bass, Josh Freese on drums, Wolfgang Van Halen on guitar and I was like, ‘Fuck, that’s going to be fucking amazing. There’s no way I’m turning that down.'"

In spite of his enthusiasm, however, Hawkins believed that there was another vocalist who he deemed better suited for the job.

"I actually thought it might be good to ask my friend Michael Starr who sings with Steel Panther to do those ones because he's really great at doing the David Lee Roth vocal style" he admits.

Thankfully, the Darkness leader eventually "talked himself into doing it," on the basis that he thought it would be "a great chance to reinterpret those songs in my own style.” 

Last week, Hawkins shared why he appeared to be trying to snatch the mic away from AC/DC's Brian Johnson during their performance together, which left many fans confused. 

Taking to Twitter to set the record straight, Hawkins explains, "[Ten] seconds before the AC DC section Brian told me to get up for the second verse of BIB. I didn't want to do it, never sung that before but [Grohl] said 'if Brian tells you to do something, you fucking do it.' Haha".

In a follow-up tweet, he wrote: "To be honest, I feel like BJ just wanted to drag me up for a laugh and to give his voice a few seconds to recover in time for the rest of the track. I thought he did an AMAZING job and I'm always happy to help out when needed."

Watch the ever-entertaining Hawkins talk about the show below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.