Grammy Preview: Foo Fighters

Taylor Hawkins

The Foo Fighters wanted their new double album, the half-acoustic, half-electric In Your Honor, to be their very own Physical Graffiti. Only time will tell if they pulled that one off, but the disc did score five Grammy nominations, including one for "Virginia Moon," a collaboration with voter fave Norah Jones. Checking in from a tour stop in England, Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins says that the band is hoping to take home some trophies: "People say, 'It's not about the awards' and 'You can't judge art.' But it's fun to win."

You guys are nominated for Best Surround Sound Album. Did you know this category existed?
No, dude. There are so many friggin' categories, it's crazy.

Have you heard the surround-sound version of your album?

What's better about it?
It's surround! [laughs]

If you're baked, that would probably be the ideal way to listen to music.
I imagine it would, even though I don't get baked anymore. You kind of have your own surround-sound thing going in your own head anyway. I remember one time taking acid when I was, like, eighteen years old, and listening to Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking over and over again in the dark by myself. If only it had been in surround.

What do you remember about the first time you played the Grammys?
I was playing with Alanis Morissette then [in 1996], and that was when Kiss put on all their makeup again. And I saw them all with their makeup walking around backstage, and that was pretty interesting. I was twenty-one, you know? Everything like that was brand-spanking-new and exciting, and it was like, "Wow, there's one of the guys from Friends over there!" Now I'm just an old crusty bastard.

What's your weirdest celebrity Grammy encounter?
I think it was, like, a year or two ago -- it was the last time we played the Grammys. I remember Celine Dion walking in the hallway, you know, with, like, five bodyguards surrounding her, and I went, "Nobody fucking cares!" Well, maybe if I was Celine Dion I'd have security guards too. There's probably some people who wouldn't mind shutting her up.

What songs from the last year do you wish you had written?
I wish I had written "The Rat," by the Walkmen.

I think that's two years old.
You know what I wish I wrote? Uh, what's the biggest song of the year?

"Hollaback Girl," maybe?
Yeah, I wish I wrote that, because then I'd have that "Hollaback" money.

Is it nerve-racking to perform at the Grammys?
Oh, yeah, for sure. I hate playing on TV. Instead of, you know, 10,000 people watching, there are, like, 20 million people watching you. And now with their TiVos, they can go back and say, "Hey, he dropped his drumstick right there!"

The Foo Fighters played with Chick Corea at the Grammys in 2004. How did that come about?
I don't have a clue. But the coolest thing was, I showed up early, and it was just me and him in this rehearsal room, and we jammed for an hour. And he started playing the Bitches Brew shit, because he played on all that Miles [Davis] stuff. I mean, he's a deep motherfucker.

Do you think it's cool for bands to vote for themselves?
Oh, hell, yeah. I like to win. I'm in it to win it, dawg [laughs]. But in the Rock category we're up against U2 and Coldplay and shit like that, so we can just kiss that one goodbye. We might get the Surround Sound one, though.

But Grammy voters love Norah Jones. Isn't having her on a song an automatic win?
Yeah, maybe. She's really talented. She came into the studio, bro, and made us all look like we're not even musicians. Like, she's a musician, and we're people who can just kind of move our hands around a little bit on guitars and drums.

return to Hawkins' Poor Brain