Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was ‘last of a dying breed’, says friend

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Luke Spiller of The Struts has described late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins as “the last of a dying breed” ahead of a concert at Wembley Stadium on Saturday in his memory.

The British frontman was close friends with the musician, who died in March aged 50, and forms part of the tribute show’s line-up alongside members of Queen, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana.

He performed in Hawkins’ 1970s cover band Chevy Metal and The Struts, who formed in Derby in 2012, supported Foo Fighters on a number of international tour dates from 2017 onwards.

Luke Spiller with The Struts (Courtesy of The Struts/PA)

He added: “There are people in this industry that sometimes live and breathe their persona, and what they are known for, and what people want and expect of them.

“But he really wasn’t like that. He was always so friendly and approachable from the get-go.

“It takes you back because one of his biggest charms, I personally think, just like many of the greats, he never felt he was as good as he was. Because of that, that made him extremely humble.”

Reflecting on Hawkins’ commitment to his craft, Spiller added: “Taylor, I think, was the last of a dying breed where they just f****** love music and they are obsessed by it.

“You could literally pick it up straight away, just from a 10 or 15-minute conversation.

“I don’t particularly know why but he saw something in me, he would constantly encourage me.

“He would call me up out of the blue and ask me how everything was going and make sure that I was getting taken care of properly, amongst a whole bunch of other stuff.”

Spiller said he felt “extremely grateful to have known him in the timeframe that I did”.

Hawkins joined Foo Fighters in 1997 at the invitation of frontman Dave Grohl and after previously touring with Alanis Morissette.

Spiller said he had been “the other face of the band” and remembered his “charisma and personality” before adding: “To be honest, he was so much more than just a drummer as well.

“He was a great artist in his own right, a passionate songwriter, a really good vocalist and frontman, and just really diverse.

“I think he touched people on a lot of levels across the board, across genres, because he was just a fan of great music, not just one specific genre.”

The Wembley concert, which will be followed by a show in Los Angeles, is expected to be Foo Fighters’ first since Hawkins was found dead aged 50 in his hotel room in Colombia in March.

No cause of death was announced, although a preliminary toxicology report showed traces of 10 substances in his body, including opioids and marijuana.

Spiller took part in initial rehearsals in Los Angeles and described being there as a “strange experience”.

“The band had not even reconvened together to play music since he passed, so it was a slightly – I wouldn’t call it a thick atmosphere – it was definitely a happy atmosphere,” he said.

“Dave even took me to one side. I was saying to him, ‘Mate, I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the chance to come down here today and I’m just happy to be a part of it in any capacity’.

“He was like, ‘Look Luke, this concert is not going to be like a f****** funeral. Yeah, it’s going to be emotional but we are here to celebrate and have a big party, and enjoy his memory, and do him justice’.

“That’s exactly why they’re doing it at Wembley. There’s no other venue in the world that Dave and the rest of the band can think of that fits more than that place.”

The show on Saturday September 3 will be livestreamed on Paramount+.

Directed by Joel Gallen and produced by Emer Patten at EP-PIC Films and Creative, the full concert will be available both live and on-demand.

Funds from ticket and merchandise sales will go to the Music Support and MusiCares charities, which were selected by the Hawkins family.

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