Aside from Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins was the most prominent member of the Foo Fighters from his arrival in the band in 1997 up until his untimely passing this week, aged 50. But Hawkins was active in the music industry prior to getting the Foo Fighters gig and he continued to collaborate with other artists throughout his tenure.
Famously, Hawkins’ first major role was playing drums for Alanis Morissette on her Jagged Little Pill tour. Hawkins features prominently in the recent HBO Documentary, Jagged, which relives Morissette’s heyday.
Before he’d appeared on a Foo Fighters record, Hawkins played drums on the track ‘Cyborg’ from Queen guitarist Brian May’s 1998 album, Another World. Hawkins’ first Foo Fighters album was 1999’s There Is Nothing Left To Lose, which gave rise to the hit singles, ‘Learn to Fly’, ‘Generator’ and ‘Breakout’.
In 2007, not long after the release of Foo Fighters’ sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Hawkins played drums on the Coheed and Cambria album, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow. The following year Hawkins played on a handful of tracks on Help Wanted, a solo album by former Jane’s Addiction bass player, Eric Avery. He and Grohl split drumming duties on Harmony and Dissidence, the third album by Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett’s Jackson United project.
Hawkins was no mug with a microphone in hand, either. He performed backing vocals on ‘Crucify the Dead’, from Slash’s 2010 self-titled album (Ozzy Osbourne sang the lead). Prior to that, Hawkins had sung lead vocals on Foo Fighters’ ‘Cold Day In the Sun’ from the band’s fifth album, In Your Honor.
Hawkins launched the side project, Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders, in 2006, teaming up with Jane’s Addiction’s Chris Chaney and guitarist Gannin Arnold on the band’s 2006 self-titled debut. The Coattail Riders’ most recent release, 2019’s Get the Money, featured guest appearances from Grohl, Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, The Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and country pop artist LeAnn Rimes.
Not content with just one side project, in 2014 Hawkins launched The Birds of Satan with bass player Wiley Hodgden and guitarist Mick Murphy. The band’s lone album, The Birds of Satan, came out in April 2014 and featured songwriting contributions from Grohl and fellow Foo Fighters, Pat Smear and Rami Jaffee, and Yes vocalist Jon Davison.
In 2019, Hawkins played drums on the track ‘We Could Have It All’ from Pink’s Hurts 2B Human LP, which was produced by Foo Fighters collaborator Greg Kurstin. He played drums on ‘Night Crawling’ from Miley Cyrus’ latest album, Plastic Hearts and various tracks on You And Me, the 2021 solo release by Heart’s Nancy Wilson.