Why I’ll Be Constantly Watching the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts


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James Gang performing with Foo Fighters at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert at Wembley stadium on Sept 3, 2022.

Gillian Neale, Staff Writer

In a time where many wondered if hope would ever be restored, tribute concerts to iconic drummer Taylor Hawkins were a beacon of light, and guided me to a new appreciation for his legacy, and an inspiration like none I’ve felt before.

The rock band Foo Fighters lost their beloved drummer unexpectedly on March 25. The death of Hawkins left the music world shocked. To me it was nearly unbelievable, as the 50 year old musician not only touched the hearts of his friends and family, but of listeners and musicians all around the world.

The iconic band was originally started as a solo project in 1994 by Dave Grohl after the tragic death of his friend and Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain. Grohl independently wrote and released the first album, Foo Fighters, in 1995. Over time, instrumentalists, including Hawkins, joined the band and as it grew in popularity, it became a staple very early in my life.

Growing up, there was always some sort of music playing in my house. Whether it came from a speaker or my own guitar, classics like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, AC/DC, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers could always be heard. To say that the Foo Fighters and every member played a role in how I am today is an understatement.

Although Hawkins is no longer with us, I truly believe that the charm and talent that he exemplified through his drumming and personality wasn’t- and never will be- forgotten.

In September, over 50 musical guests joined the Foo Fighters to host two heartwarming tribute concerts to Hawkins. The events were held in Wembley Stadium, UK, and the Kia Forum, LA. Many fans like me who couldn’t make it to the concerts watched livestreams on MTV YouTube, Pluto TV, and Paramount Plus.

With contributions from Grohl’s daughter, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, rock artist Joan Jett, and many other influential rock and grunge musicians, the concerts were a beautiful way to show the impact that Hawkins made on the world.

My favorite part, and true highlight of these events, was when Hawkins’ 16-year-old son, Shane Hawkins, made his dad proud by drumming to the Foo Fighters’ original song “My Hero,” a song about the celebration of an ordinary man with extraordinary talents. The use of this song to honor Hawkins was absolutely genius, which reveals that the song could really be about Hawkins, and how he was the hero of many. Shane played with so much passion and skill, just as his dad did.

As an instrumentalist myself, the influence of legendary musicians always lives in my head. Although I’ve touched a drum set less than 3 times in my life, Hawkins’ attitude and passionate playing style will influence me in everything that I do musically.

Although the Foo Fighters will never be the same without Hawkins’ lively spirit and skill, the concerts restored hope to a heartbroken, younger version of me that everything will be okay.