1,000 Musicians Perform “My Hero” in a Moving Tribute to Foo Fighters’ Drummer Taylor Hawkins

If you fol­low music news, or just scan enter­tain­ment head­lines, you might have noticed that a few weeks after his death, beloved Foo Fight­ers’ drum­mer Tay­lor Hawkins’ final days became a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject. Accord­ing to a Rolling Stone arti­cle quot­ing Pearl Jam drum­mer Matt Cameron and Red Hot Chili Pep­pers drum­mer Chad Smith, Hawkins was exhaust­ed by the Foo Fight­ers’ tour­ing sched­ule. He need­ed a break, and he did­n’t get one. Both drum­mers have issued state­ments dis­avow­ing the arti­cle. Mean­while, as GQ not­ed, a Rolling Stone “Insta­gram post high­light­ing the arti­cle is being slammed by crit­i­cal fans in the com­ments.”

Argu­ing over hearsay about a musi­cian’s state of mind before his death seems like a poor way to remem­ber him soon after he’s gone. If you’d rather steer clear of this scene, the orig­i­nal Rolling Stone piece is still worth check­ing out for its intro­duc­tion: a feel­go­od sto­ry from three days before Hawkins, 50, was found in his Bogotá hotel room.

After Foo Fight­ers can­celed a head­lin­ing con­cert in Asun­ción, the cap­i­tal city of Paraguay, due to weath­er, Hawkins end­ed up hang­ing out with nine-year-old drum­mer Emma Sofía Per­al­ta out­side the Sher­a­ton. She’d brought her drum kit and played for him. He posed for a pho­to with her, “crouch­ing next to her and flash­ing the sort of warm, toothy smile that estab­lished him as one of the most beloved drum­mers in rock.”

More details of Hawkins’ death may become pub­lic, or they may not. But they should­n’t obscure the rea­son he was famous in life. Like every­one else in the band, but most espe­cial­ly his “twin” Dave Grohl, Hawkins always looked like he was hav­ing the time of his life, whether onstage or meet­ing fans. The band won mass devo­tion not only through stel­lar song­writ­ing and per­for­mances but through sheer, unbri­dled enthu­si­asm: the kind of spir­it that drove 1000 musi­cians to stage a con­cert cov­er­ing “Learn to Fly” in 2015, in a bid to bring the Foo Fight­ers to the town of Cese­na, Italy. It worked, and thus was born the Rockin’ 1000 con­cept.

Get­ting a hand­ful of rock musi­cians to show up on time is a feat in itself, much less 1000 of them, all play­ing not only on time but in time as well. Rockin’ 1000 has pulled this off con­sis­tent­ly since they start­ed, and their trib­ute above to Hawkins above is no dif­fer­ent — a sta­di­um-sized cov­er ver­sion of “My Hero” that con­veys all the emo­tion of the orig­i­nal while mul­ti­ply­ing it by the ampli­tude of a hun­dred march­ing bands. A fit­ting remem­brance of what Hawkins meant to his fans if ever there was one.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Watch the Foo Fight­ers’ Tay­lor Hawkins (RIP) Give a Drum­ming Mas­ter­class

Watch 1,000 Musi­cians Play the Foo Fight­ers’ “Learn to Fly,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spir­it,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel,” and The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Dave Grohl Falls Off­stage & Breaks His Leg, Then Con­tin­ues the Show as The Foo Fight­ers Play Queen’s “Under Pres­sure” (2015)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.