I started a story today that I don’t feel it right to continue just yet. Not with the music industry having just suffered another great loss. While I am choosing not to continue a series of personal stories right now, and while these are not my own, I am here to continue a series of stories. This is the story of the loss of just one of the countless musicians who have passed away far before their time due to a lost battle with mental health and addictions.
Today I share the grief of the loss of a man who gifted his personality, his talent, and his devotion to the world and did so as a member of the Foo Fighters for 25 years. A powerhouse band that was birthed by Nirvana’s drummer, Dave Grohl, following the untimely loss of Kurt Cobain. Taylor Hawkins was a truly outstanding and dexterous musician whose presence was infectious and who was well-known for his kind-heartedness.
Hawkins will be forever remembered by his wife and three children, but also by the millions of people who enjoyed the amazing music that he made through his astoundingly accomplished career, the memories he created with the world, the memories he helped to create through his music, and the hearts that he touched along the way. He is fondly remembered by everyone that he worked with over the years and there has been an outpour of sadness and support from fellow musicians and fans. Most of all, Hawkins will be remembered as an overwhelmingly loved individual and if that is not troublesome, I don’t know what is.
This was a man who, to the naked eye, had everything one could ever want out of life. He was in a world-famous rock band, travelling around the world doing what he loved with his best friend by his side. They were photographed standing stageside enjoying other bands at festivals, Hawkins was reported to have gone to make a surprise visit to a young fan just shortly before his passing, the man seemed to have it all going for him. But he was suffering. He had been struggling for a long time.
The Foo Fighters’ drummer was on tour in South America when he died, 50 years young. While the details of his death have not been confirmed, there have been reports of heavy drug use and 10 substances, including anti-depressants and opioids, were found in an autopsy of Hawkins following his death. The legacy of the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer will live on for decades to come and we can only hope that it inspires future generations of musicians to practice caution when indulging in lifestyles that are closely associated with being a touring musician, to take their mental health seriously, and to recognize warning signs in their music industry colleagues.
“I don’t think that glamorizing that lifestyle is a good thing – I just don’t. I think it’s a bad message,” Hawkins said in an interview with Beats 1’s Matt Wilkinson.
“I think people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, kids are gonna f*** around, they’re gonna experiment. If you have an addictive personality or you’re a f***ing dumb kid, you’re gonna get drawn into it. You gotta be careful, man.”Taylor Hawkins
May we take that message and push towards an end to glamorizing an unhealthy lifestyle in the memory of a great man who was taken too soon, a victim of being drawn into it himself.
For now, may we remember him through one of his favourite Foo Fighters songs.
‘This Is A Call’ was the Foo Fighters’ first album. At the time the band was a one-man Dave Grohl show, the project to follow the loss of his friend and bandmate, Kurt Cobain, after he took his own life and the curtain called for Grohl’s last world-famous rock band, Nirvana. Our hearts are with you, Dave. They are with all of you.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, please reach out to your local crisis center.