In the months leading up to his death, FOO FIGHTERS drummer Taylor Hawkins reportedly felt hesitant about returning to the road after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and wasn’t sure he would be able to remain a full-time member of the band if they continued to tour at the same pace.
The claims were made by a number of people, including several of the drummer’s best friends, who were interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine about his career, legacy, and outlook near the end of his life.
PEARL JAM and SOUNDGARDEN drummer Matt Cameron, a close friend of Hawkins‘s for decades, told Rolling Stone: “[Taylor] had a heart-to-heart with Dave [Grohl, FOO FIGHTERS leader] and, yeah, he told me that he ‘couldn’t fucking 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.” A rep for FOO FIGHTERS denied that Hawkins ever raised these issues, saying “No, there was never a ‘heart-to-heart’ — or any sort of meeting on this topic — with Dave and [Silva Artist Management].”
“Honestly, I think he was just so tired,” Hawkins‘s longtime friend and former boss, singer Sass Jordan, said. “Tired of the whole game.”
A colleague and friend of Hawkins‘s, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The fact that he finally spoke to Dave and really told him that he couldn’t do this and that he wouldn’t do it anymore, that was freeing for him. That took fucking balls. That did take a year of working up the guts to do.” A rep for FOO FIGHTERS said: “He never ‘informed Dave and [management]’ of anything at all like that.”
In addition, multiple friends told Rolling Stone Hawkins lost consciousness on board a plane in Chicago last December. News reports from the time described him anonymously as “a member of FOO FIGHTERS.” “He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs and stuff,” his friend, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS drummer Chad Smith, told Rolling Stone. “He was dehydrated and all kinds of stuff.” When asked if FOO FIGHTERS had comment on accounts that Taylor had lost consciousness on the plane, a rep said, “This is not true.” After the incident, Smith said Hawkins told him, “I can’t do it like this anymore.”
Cameron told Rolling Stone that he believes Hawkins agreed to continue touring with FOO FIGHTERS at the required pace to be a team player.
“[A band like that] is a big machine [with] a lot of people on the payroll,” Cameron said. “So you’ve got to really be cognizant of the business side of something when it’s that big and that has inherent pressure, just like any business.”
Rolling Stone says that it repeatedly asked Hawkins‘s family members and bandmates for interviews for the story, but Hawkins‘s family declined to comment.
Hawkins was found dead on March 25 at the Four Seasons Casa Medina hotel in Bogota, Colombia while FOO FIGHTERS were on tour. An official cause of death for Hawkins hasn’t yet been released, but on March 26, Colombia’s attorney general’s office issued a preliminary toxicology report, saying that medical examiners found evidence of 10 types of substances in Hawkins‘s body, including opioids, benzodiazepines, marijuana and antidepressants.
Rolling Stone‘s full report can be found at this location.