It's been nearly three weeks since, but the news is still difficult to digest. The 50-year-old drummer, who is a band leader and best friend, only experiences cognitive dissonance. He is gregarious, powerful, and lovingly affectionate to his band. But he's still an individual.
Foo Fighters have become so popular for several weeks, ranging from "Everlong," "Best Of You," and "Times Like These." When I wrote about a last year, I realized that my fascination with them was less casual than I imagined. As a result of Tom Petty's & The Heartbreakers' social media success, you don't have to pay attention to their music.
While Grohl's reimagined them as a one-man project of another famous tragedy involving a different bandmate, they evolved into a real band that added to their personality. Hawkins, the drummer in a band founded by the most respected drummer of his generation, quickly established a relationship with Grohl that was both a little brother and partner-in-crime.
When Hawkins came out from behind the drums to sing Queen's "Somebody To Love," complete with vocal gymnastics, it would be a stretch to call Hawkins the co-frontman of Foo Fighters, but he was certainly the second most prominent guy in the band, even more than Pat Smear, the other former member of Nirvana in Foo Fighters. This was revealed in interviews, where Hawkins was usually the only other Foo seen next to Grohl as figurehead
Hawkins was, in a sense, the band's identity for Foo Fighters, the person who made this one-time solo venture feel like a real gang. But more than that, Hawkins earned his share of the spotlight. If you have a handsome blonde who can still pull off drumming shirtless early into middle age, you give him where audiences can see and appreciate him. Anything less is rock'n' roll malpractice.
All of this leads to a sensitive, unsettling question that only Grohl and his partners can answer. There is certainly no rush to answer it. Grief is a long, difficult road, and it will need to be addressed before this question can be resolved. It might take one month. or one year. But eventually, the following will have to be addressed: Can Foo Fighters continue as a band without Taylor Hawkins?
I admit that this question has been on my mind lately when it comes to Hawkins' passing. But some might argue that it is appropriate even now. Death in general is the one issue that is universally troubling for those who remain among the living. I'm no different in that regard. I'm dreading Taylor Hawkins' death at an early age.