The attentions of Foo Fighter drummer, Taylor Hawkins aren't exactly fully trained on this interview. And he has no need to apologise. None whatsoever. He's completly excused.
"My girlfriend's just showing me some new clothes of hers," he explains. His
partner attempts to clarify the situation by calling out something about
being at a laundrette. Or so I thought anyway.
"No, no she said actually it's lingerie. So you know" he laughs. "I'm a busy man."
Hawkins is the Foo's resident surprise package. Sure, there's Head Foo, Dave Grohl's Nirvana heritage and enviable hardcore background and the punk CV of new guitarist, Chris Shiflett which includes recent time in the trenches with No Use For A Name. But Hawkins seems to be able to pull out a celebrity ace at exactly the right moment. You see it was he who set the scene for former Queen guitarist, Brian May and drummer, Roger Taylor to join the band at London's Brixton Academy for a version of Queen's 'Now I'm Here'.
"Well (May) unfortunatly for him gave me his number a couple of years ago," he laughs. "So now every time I come there I call him. Bug his arse. Him and Roger. I always make them come to the show and get up and play with us.
"You know what I was noticing? The other day I went and bought a bunch of Creem magazines from the seventies. You know what's so funny? Critics hated Queen back then. They really fucking hated them man. It was worse than like the Stone Temple Pilots and shit. And now everybody's like, 'Oh, Queen were amazing! Queen were brilliant! Queen were geniuses!' Isn't that weird kind of? I mean come on, nobody writes anything like 'Bohemian Rhapsody' any more. I mean that's genius! 'Under Pressure' is like one of the most genius songs ever!" I'll leave that one well alone. Anyway, the big night at Brixton didn't end there. Enter Chili Pepper drummer, Chad Smith.
"He helped me smash my drums at the end of the show. The only reason I did it was because we were just having a couple of problems. I've never really smashed my drums before. Ever. Dave was having a shitty show, something was wrong with his amp. I was freaking out because there was all these people there so I was playing everything too fast and (Grohl) was giving me dirty looks and we were pissed off and we'd been on the road for a while. At the end of the last song, 'This is a Call' we hit the last chord doing your basic rock ending. Darrrrr! 'Good night everybody!' All that bullshit. So I called Chad over and I'm like, 'Come on! Finish it!' Like, 'Do a little drum solo!' And while he was doing that I just started picking up the drums and throwing them at Dave. Dave appreciated it very much. He thinks I'm a sensitive person with anger issues."
The Foo's current album, 'There is Nothing Left to Lose' contains a wider variety of issues than straight anger although there's plenty of emotional heat under the collar. There's numerous examples of the band's finest pop to date and at the other end of the scale, the neighbourhood flatteningly heavy, 'Stacked Actors'. Overall it's the Foos really hitting their stride for the first time even if it is on album number three.
"It's such a weird time for music right now that I don't know what people are going to think just of a good old rock n' roll album which is basically all it is. There's no heavy message. There's personal things in there that are nice and neat but the music's just rock. There's interesting things but we're just a rock band. So we don't have a lot of the craziness that a lot of other bands have. It's not from a scene so I wasen't sure (how it would be recieved). I didn't really care. Whatever. I mean I did. Of course you care if you're going to have to go out and play shows you'd rather have people be at the shows than not be at the shows," he laughs. "But me and Dave were talking about it the other day and we're really surprised that it's doing as well as it is. It's not like breaking any records or anything but it's staying afloat and a lot of albums haven't been. There's a lot of disappointments right now I suppose for record companies and shit like that."
A brave move that payed off?
"Well, I don't think it was necessarily a bold move it was just our only move, the only album we had inside us. So we didn't try - no pun intended - to taylor anything for anything because we couldn't. We're not going to have a DJ or a fucking sampler guy. Of course not. We don't know how to turn those machines on. And we don't want to have anybody else in the studio really with us."
Dave Grohl came pretty damn close to making his presence felt in one legendary artist's studio time.
"Stacked Actors, the first song was orginally a riff for Ozzy Osbourne's album and he passed on it I guess," he laughs. "I think it's one of the best riffs Dave's ever written."
So how hard is it to be a drummer with another drummer leading the band?
"It's only as difficult as you make it for yourself. Dave's pretty mellow. He dosen't really have much to say ever about my drumming and the show and stuff like that. It's just weird because I know in a lot of ways Dave already has an idea for how he wants things. So on one level I have to try and be creative and not just play the typical thing. On another level I have to try and read what he's saying to me with the guitar playing and think about what he might like because I can go off on tangents. He's recorded a lot of hit songs you know? So it's a challenge in that respect.
"As far as live is concerned once the songs are pretty much in place it's no big deal. We're still pretty sloppy you know. But whatever. We're good. We're great sometimes. We're good most of the time. We're shitty sometimes."