Taylor Hawkins reportedly had concerns about the intense Foo Fighters’ touring schedule and wanted to dial back his time with the band before his untimely death in March at age 50.
Rolling Stone recently published a lengthy feature titled Inside Taylor Hawkins’ Final Days as a Foo Fighter for which the outlet “…interviewed 20 people, including several of the drummer’s best friends, about his career, legacy, and outlook near the end of his life.”
Rolling Stone noted, “Prior to Foo Fighters’ supersized post-pandemic comeback — which kicked off last June with vax-mandatory gigs in L.A. and New York’s Madison Square Garden — Hawkins felt hesitant about returning to the road and wasn’t sure he’d be able to remain a full-time member if they continued to tour at this pace, these friends say. Even though he kept himself in decent shape, according to his friends, he felt vexed by the physicality required to play nearly three-hour concerts night after night.” The report also stated, “Rolling Stone repeatedly asked Hawkins’ family members and bandmates for interviews for this story. Hawkins’ family declined to comment. Foo Fighters and their management did not want to be interviewed. But through a representative, they dispute Hawkins’ friends’ characterizations of how he was feeling.”
Perhaps the two biggest names to go on the record for this feature were two of Hawkins’ closest friends and fellow drummers: Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith.
Cameron said, “He had a heart-to-heart with Dave [Grohl] and, yeah, he told me that he ‘couldn’t f—ing do it anymore’ — those were his words. So I guess they did come to some understanding, but it just seems like the touring schedule got even crazier after that.”
Smith touched on a report back in December 2021 where the Foo Fighters had to pull out of a show scheduled at the Formula One race in Abu Dhabi. At the time, the Associated Press reported, “Emirati state-linked newspaper The National quoted concert promoter John Lickrish as saying that a member of the band was rushed to a hospital from an airport in Chicago, where the band stopped on the way to Abu Dhabi. He didn’t elaborate on what happened but said the band managers had called him to cancel.”
Smith confirmed that the undisclosed Foo Fighter that needed medical attention was Hawkins. “He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs and stuff. He was dehydrated and all kinds of stuff.” Smith would say that after this plane incident, Hawkins told him, “I can’t do it like this anymore.”
Hawkins also expressed concerns about the Foo Fighters returning to performing/touring in 2021. Rolling Stone said they interviewed the Foo drummer before the band’s California club show in June 2021 reporting, “When Rolling Stone interviewed Hawkins at his Los Angeles house the morning of that show, the drummer didn’t share his bandleader’s exuberance, likening his stage fright to being ‘in hell.’ He also revealed that a doctor had told him he had sleep apnea and an enlarged heart. ‘Your heart’s big because you exercise a lot — it’s like a runner’s heart,’ he said the doctor told him. Nevertheless, Hawkins proudly said, ‘I’m healthy.'”
Rolling Stone added, “He told Cameron that morning that he was playing a gig that night, when few other bands were venturing out. ‘[Matt was] like, ‘You’re doing a show? F—. What the f—?’ Hawkins recalled. ‘I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I’m scared, actually.’ I was feeling nice not doing anything. It’s nice being a loser for a year and a half.'”
Despite all of these revelations, a rep for the Foo Fighers told Rolling Stone, “No, there was never a ‘heart-to-heart’ — or any sort of meeting on [the touring schedule] — with Dave and [Silva Artist Management]…He never ‘informed Dave and [management]’ of anything at all like that…The touring schedule had been established and in place for well over a year.” The rep also denied Hawkins collapsed on the plane back in December 2021.