The Struts’ Luke Spiller described late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins as “the last of a dying breed” ahead of Saturday’s Wembley Stadium concert in his memory.
He was a close friend of the musician, who passed away in March at the age of 50, and was part of the lineup for the tribute program along with Queen members Led Zeppelin and Nirvana.
He has performed in the 1970s cover band Chevy Metal and Hawkins’ The Struts, which formed in Derby in 2012, supported the Foo Fighters on several international tours from 2017 onwards.
Speaking before the show, Spiller told the PA news agency that Hawkins was a “really scary” person.
He added: “There are people in this industry who sometimes live and breathe their personalities, what they are known for, and what people want and expect from them.
“But he really isn’t. He was always very friendly and approachable from the start.
“You have to come back because one of his biggest charms, I personally think, like many great players, he never felt like he was as good as he was. That’s what made him incredibly humble.”
Reflecting on Hawkins’ commitment to his craft, Spiller added: “Taylor is, I think, the last of a dying breed where they just love music and they’re obsessed with it.
“Literally, you can pick it up instantly, from just a 10 or 15 minute conversation.
“I don’t particularly know why but he sees something in me, he’s going to keep encouraging me.
“He would call me right away and ask me how things were going and make sure I was being taken care of, among many other things.”
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Spiller said he feels “extremely grateful to have known him in the amount of time that I did”.
Hawkins joined the Foo Fighters in 1997 at the invitation of frontman Dave Grohl and after a previous tour with Alanis Morissette.
Spiller said he was once the “other face of the band” and remembered his “charm and character” before adding: “Honestly, he was more than just a drummer.
“He’s a great artist in his own right, a passionate musician, a really good vocalist and leader, and really diverse.
“I think he’s touched people on so many levels across a wide range of genres, because he’s just a great fan of music, not just a particular genre.”
The Wembley concert, followed by a show in Los Angeles, is expected to be the Foo Fighters’ first performance since Hawkins was found dead aged 50 in his hotel room in Colombia in March.
No cause of death has been published, although a preliminary toxicology report revealed traces of 10 substances in his system, including opioids and marijuana.
Spiller took part in the first rehearsals in Los Angeles and described being there as a “strange experience”.
“The band hasn’t even got together to play music since his passing, so it’s a bit – I wouldn’t call it a thick atmosphere – it’s definitely a fun atmosphere. ,” I said.
“Dave even took me aside. I’m saying to him, ‘Dude, I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to come down here today and I’d be happy to be a part of it in any capacity’.
“He said, ‘Look at Luke, this concert isn’t going to be like a ******* funeral. Yes, it will be emotional but we are here to celebrate and have a big party, and enjoy his anniversary, and demand justice for him’.
“That’s exactly why they did it at Wembley. There is no other venue in the world that Dave and the rest of the band can think of more suitable than that.”
The show on Saturday September 3 will be streamed live 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.
Money from ticket sales and merchandise will go to the charities Music Support and MusiCares, chosen by the Hawkins family.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/foo-fighters-drummer-taylor-hawkins-was-last-of-a-dying-breed-says-friend-41955221.html Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins is ‘the last of a dying breed,’ a friend says