The Foo Fighters song Taylor Hawkins compared to The Who

Taylor Hawkins

Taylor Hawkins took some time to firmly establish himself as the Foo Fighters’ drummer. Being the drummer for a band led by Dave Grohl was never going to be easy. And for at least a decade after Nirvana’s untimely demise, Grohl had intermittently played drums for his band. He famously played all of the instruments on the band’s 1995 self-titled debut. His desire to continue playing on 1997‘s The Colour and the Shape eventually caused the band’s original drummer, Sunny Day Real Estate stickman William Goldsmith, to leave the group.

When Hawkins replaced Goldsmith, he and Grohl shared drumming duties almost evenly on 1999‘s There Is Nothing Left to Lose. “I was just green. And I was having a really hard time learning how to play in the studio because it’s just such a different thing”. Taylor Hawkins admitted to Steve Lamacq during his drumming masterclass in 2019. “The first album I played on, I played half the drums on and Dave played the other half.”

Tensions between the band members rose during the recording of 2002‘s One By One. Hawkins had survived a drug overdose early in the recording process. But his relationship with Grohl was still strained when Grohl was sent to Queens of the Stone Age to record Songs for the Deaf concurrently. Tensions erupted during rehearsals for the 2002 Coachella Music and Arts Festival, and the band nearly split. However, following a strong performance, the Foo Fighters returned to the studio and re-recorded One By One for two months.

One By One was the first Foo Fighters studio album without Grohl playing drums on any of the tracks. Taylor Hawkins was the only one playing drums by 2005‘s In Your Honor. It was except his own self-written track ‘Cold Day in the Sun’, on which he and Grohl switched roles. It was with Grohl playing drums and Hawkins singing and playing guitar. Hawkins’ approach had evolved by this point, as he became more at ease in the studio environment.

“The big difference for me on this record was that I had drum tech, Gersh, working with me in the studio”. Hawkins told Rhythm Magazine in 2005. “Gersh is also a drummer who has been doing sessions in Los Angeles for the past ten years. He knows how to tune drums and make them sound great. It’s true art, and all I had to worry about was playing. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more at ease on stage than in the studio. But I felt like I had a strong support system this time. I’m sure I’ll get more comfortable with each record we make. But when I’m in the tracking room with all eyes on me, I just want to get it right! Drums are difficult because they are the first thing recorded and form the basis of the song.

In Your Honor was intended to be a hybrid of hard rock and acoustic music. The album’s first track, ‘In Your Honor‘, would kick off the rock side of the album. It was with Hawkins channeling the thunderous style of Keith Moon and The Who. “This is the coolest drum sound on the record. And the drum rolls are very Who-esque,” Hawkins said during the same interview. “As well as being a great introduction to the rock record, it is almost like a mission statement.”

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