Hawkins found his home with his Foo Fighters gig
Taylor Hawkins isn't your average, ordinary rock drummer, search the Web for the Foo Fighters sticksman on a common engine, such as excite, and the links run into the hundreds. Among drummers, only Tommy Lee generates similar interest - for entirely different reasons.
Couple the photogenic Texan's Internet popularity with the fact he's playing drums for bandleader Dave Grohl, the former Nirvana pounder considered one of the best drummers of the past 10 years and it becomes apparent Hawkins may well be something special. His gig before the Foos was with Alanis Morissette, on an 18-month-long tour that followed the massive breakout of Jagged Little Pill.
Yeah, you could say Mr. Hawkins has it going on.
Talk to the man himself, though, and he's surprisingly downbeat and matter-of-fact about himself and his career. Hawkins joined the Foos in 1997, replacing original drummer William Goldsmith. He left the Morissette gig, he explains, because he simply "wanted to be in a band."
"Basically I wanted to be a part of something rather than just a piece of something, if you know what I mean," says Hawkins. "And certainly Foo Fighters was more of a band than the Alanis situation. The music is more up my alley, too."
"Dave and I met backstage at a festival when I was working with Alanis, and we hit it off, then we had a mutual friend who put us in touch when Dave was looking for someone."
After hooking up with Grohl and bassist Mendel (new guitarist Chris Shiflett, of San Jose punk group No Use For A Name, joined the band last year, replacing Franz Stahl), Hawkins said he felt no undue pressure working with the band, even though Grohl has been cast as something of a megalomaniac in some media reports.
"Nah, I don't think so," Hawkins says. "I mean, I feel a tidbit of trepidation because I though expectations were high, but the guys didn't put that much pressure on me and now that I've been in the group for a couple of years, there's no sense of that all."
"In fact, now Dave and I get along together like brothers," he laughs.
A career musician who once worked with Sass Jordan's band ("Oh yeah, I'm no stranger to Canadian highways," he says), Hawkins has since settled into a Topanga Canyon home in California and says he likes to spend his time away from the band surfing and writing music on his own.
Both he and bassist Mendel got songwriting credits on the Foo Fighters latest album, There's Nothing Left To Lose, and Hawkins says he's looking forward to contributing more to the cause.
"It's cool to see the way we're coming together," Hawkins says.
"Because we're a basic rock band, we play live a lot to stay sharp, so we've been bonding a bit, and that shows up in the studio, I think.".