Taylor Hawkins isn't always succinct, but he can be when he needs to be.

"My humble beginnings? I started when I was 10, playing drums along with Police records," Hawkins said. "I played in horrible cover bands when I was a kid. Then I played with Alanis Morissette. Then I joined Foo Fighters."

Taylor and his Foo Fighters cohorts, Dave Grohl (guitar, vocals), Nate Mendel (bass) and Chris Shiflett (guitar), will take over Freeman Coliseum on Monday. Show time is 7 p.m. Transplants are second-billed; opening is Cave In, a Boston alt-metal quartet with progressive-rock leanings touring behind its major-label debut, "Antenna."

Foo Fighters released its latest CD, "One by One," last October. Since then, the quartet has been preaching the gospel of roaring, nonhyphenated rock 'n' roll.

"I feel good being just a rock 'n' roll band," Hawkins said with one of the many laughs that punctuate a conversation. "You want to make music that's timeless and the kind of rock 'n' roll we play I feel is timeless.

"I don't want to put anyone down, but metal now is all cookie-cutter. The bands are all following what Korn did and they all have a certain look. I consider us a rock 'n' roll band. We come from '90s grunge, but our roots come from the rock 'n' roll of the Stones and Led Zeppelin."

For those with gaps in their rock-history knowledge, Grohl was the drummer in Nirvana, the kingpins of grunge until the death of front man Kurt Cobain. The songs that led to Foo Fighters' formation came from work Grohl did with Barrett Jones after Cobain's suicide in '94.

Though Foo Fighters members have come and gone, the current lineup has been solid through two CDs and tours. The Fighters even kept it together when Grohl took time off during the recording of "One by One" to play drums with Queens of the Stone Age. It would seem natural, given the band's pedigree, that there'd be extra rock-world pressure on Foo Fighters.

"There definitely was when the band first started," Hawkins said. "That will always be part of the history of the band, kind of like how Dio was in Rainbow."

So did playing with Morissette help Hawkins with the chops he needs for Foo Fighters?

"Alanis Morissette and Foo Fighters are very much alike," he said.


"No," he said. "I'm a drummer. The music I listen to at home isn't like Foo Fighters. I like early '70s progressive rock. I like Joe Walsh. I like Fleetwood Mac's 'Bare Trees.' I listen to crazy progressive rock like Genesis or Yes. I love Foo Fighters and I feel I bring a little of that to the band."

Foo Fighters make songs a group effort.

"We just sit in a rehearsal studio, Dave comes in with riffs and ideas and then me and him or all four of us bash the (stuff) out," he said. "We just kind of put it all together and then Dave will put lyrics and melody to it."

In all likelihood, there'll be some surprises in a Foo Fighters show.

"We get in the rehearsal studio and bash through songs we know we want to play," Hawkins added. "We look for spaces where we can do some jamming. That comes from Dave playing with Queens of the Stone Age and it keeps it interesting for us.

"One thing Dave doesn't like is space. We'll play through six songs (in concert) and then talk for a minute. You have to be in good shape. No drugs. No drinking."

return to Hawkins' Poor Brain