As if it's not enough that OC bands are becoming a common sight at the top of the charts, our musicians have been infiltrating other burgs' bands as well. When the Foo Fighters' founding drummer, William Goldsmith, left in February (he's said to be recording soon with the re-formed Sunny Day Real Estate), Laguna Beach's Taylor Hawkins stepped in as timekeeper right before the summer-touring season. Though it's not his first excursion in high-pressure city (he played in Alanis Morissette's touring band), the pressure is more on him this time. Amid the rumors surrounding Goldsmith's departure (including that lead singer Dave Grohl recorded over Goldsmith's parts on The Colour and the Shape), Hawkins' arrival has people wondering just how difficult it is to be a drummer in a drummer's band (Grohl, if you recall, was the drummer in that seminal D.C. hardcore band Scream, among one or two other things). Now, having finished his first season with the Foo, Hawkins has had some time to reflect on how he spent his summer vacation.
OC Weekly: Did you volunteer to play the female role in the video for "Everlong," or did you guys pick straws?
Taylor Hawkins: I was coerced into it. They decided if one of the guys in the band was going to do it, I'd make the prettiest girl.
OC Weekly: Was this your first time cross-dressing?
Taylor Hawkins: I'd done it for a couple of Halloweens before, but it's not like I sit at home in women's clothing. I don't know how you [women] do it-the clothes are really uncomfortable, pantyhose and bras and stuff. I don't know how you put on lipstick and drink beer without it all coming off or getting all over the place. It's really high-maintenance to look beautiful.
OC Weekly: So you came away with a new perspective or a new appreciation?
Taylor Hawkins: Yeah. I mean, whenever I meet a model, I always think there are just regular girls on the street who look hotter than that. You have to be kind of weird-looking to be a model.
OC Weekly: And even then, they never really look that way; it's all done with lighting, camera angles, airbrushing....
Taylor Hawkins: Yeah, that's why you should never read things like Vogue. It's misleading "Good news for bad legs" and stuff. It makes you think you're not working as hard as you should be, like you need to be perfect. That's totally false. No woman is perfect. I think women with big noses are prettier: they have more character.
OC Weekly: Did working with Alanis Morissette help you with that perspective in any way?
Taylor Hawkins: You know, that was no big deal. I don't know if you know this, but there are lots of records that come out every year, and only 1 percent of those do well. I didn't know when I signed up that it would blow up like it did. And then she got this'angry young woman' tag, like she's pissed off all the time or something. Yes, she has her own ideas about things, and she's really strong-willed, but she's a nice girl. But that happens with any band, you know. People tag things, and there's hype, and rarely is it just based on the merits of the music.
OC Weekly: But that didn't affect you....
Taylor Hawkins: That's the beauty of being the drummer. With the Foo Fighters, there's no hype except for how Dave Grohl was in Nirvana. It's mostly, we're just four of the nerdiest dudes in the world. We're just jokers. [Personality] is an important part because you have to practically live together.
OC Weekly: When William Goldsmith was in the band, he was described as being the free spirit, [bassist] Nate Mendel was the intellectual of the group, [now former guitarist] Pat Smear was the flamboyant one, and Dave was the down-to-earth one.
What would you be? Some have described you as the quintessential blond surfer, but is that just another stereotype because of where you're from?
Taylor Hawkins: Yeah, everyone's always looking for a tag. But that's okay because people want to know where you're coming from. I haven't surfed in three years, and I was never that great, anyway, because I was always in the garage, smoking cigarettes and playing drums. I have a buddy who's a pro-surfer, so next to him, I'm no more than any other kid. I don't know, you'd have to ask someone outside of us for that perspective. I guess I'm most like Dave.
OC Weekly: People sometimes almost refer to you as a clone of Dave, not only in looks, comparing you both to Skeet Ulrich when you both sported goatees, but also in terms of drumming style. Dave once said that you guys must have been separated at birth.
Taylor Hawkins: We knew we'd get along. And being in the Foo has changed my drumming style because I had to adapt. You can really hear the difference. But Dave's cool. I was a little nervous at first, but I got over that. Any instance where you're auditioning for something, you're going to be nervous. But no one can play better than Dave Grohl. He just has this vision in his head.
But that's not why William left. You know Pat Smear left, too, right? He didn't want to tour anymore; he's never been in a band more than a year, anyway. We did this thing at the MTV Music Video Awards [in the preceding show called The Opening Act], where we did two songs, one with Pat, and the second with Pat walking out with his guitar and handing it to Franz Stahl [who had played with Grohl in Scream]. It was like passing the torch at the fuckin' Olympics.
OC Weekly: That's quite a revolving door. . . .
Taylor Hawkins: It's the revolving door that is the Foo Fighters, Dave said. Franz fits in perfectly. He's not as flamboyant as Pat-he won't be wearing skirts onstage or anything-but he's really great. It's the new and improved Foo Fighters. Half of me can't really blame Pat; with touring so much and all, it's like you have no home. I miss going to the beach, seeing my girlfriend, watching TV, eating Mexican food at Javier's in Laguna. I'm not complaining, though, even if it all ended tomorrow and I was back to delivering pizzas again.
Maybe next, Dave won't be in the band. He was just joking the other day that maybe he should quit next and leave us to carry on the Foo torch....Nah, that won't happen.