Rufus Taylor, drummer for The Darkness and son of legendary Queen drummer Roger Taylor, has opened up on the intense experience of playing his friend Taylor Hawkins' drum parts during certain Foo Fighters songs played during the epic tribute shows put on for Hawkins last year.
The shows, held in London and Los Angeles following the shocking death of Hawkins aged 50 on March 25, 2022, featured a host of legendary rock and heavy metal names uniting in remembrance of the beloved Foo Fighters sticksman - who Rufus became close friends with after meeting him as a child.
"I think I was six years old when I first met him," the Darkness man, 31, tells Music Radar. "My dad introduced me to him as his close mate. I was instantly just in love with the guy, I just thought he was the coolest person I'd ever met. He was always really sweet to me. We just kind of clicked together immediately, and the more I grew up it was just strange how similar we were - a lot because I idolised him and everything - but we ended up like twins, in the end.
“He always supported every single thing I ever did," Rufus adds. "He always said that I approach drums and music the hard way, which I really respected him for saying. The fact that he noticed stuff like that was just so cool to me.”
As a friend of Hawkins and the band, Rufus was invited to play alongside the Foos for two songs, 2011's These Days and hallmark 2005 anthem Best Of You, at the Wembley Stadium tribute show, which took place on September 3 2022. He returned to play Best Of You once again at the LA Forum tribute show that took place just over two weeks later.
"These Days was fine," Rufus recalls. "Best of You was scary because after the first stop, it's just an unmapped freestyle kind of thing. I'm used to doing jams and stuff, but not when they're built around a drum solo! So I was shitting myself a little bit going into the rehearsals. Because I knew that it was gonna be a room full of the best drummers in the world, like Omar Hakim, Dave [Grohl], and Stewart fucking Copeland, all these monster players.
"Obviously, I know Dave," he notes, "but Stewart and Omar, all those guys - me and Taylor used to talk about them all the time. So now I suddenly have to go in and play a nine-minute solo in front of them! I still hadn't mapped it out in my head. I didn't know what was gonna happen. But it all kind of went really smooth in the end."
Foo Fighters recently confirmed their first headline shows following the news that they will be continuing as a band after Hawkins' death. Dave Grohl et al will headline the Boston Calling, Sonic Temple and Bonnaroo festivals in the United States later this year.