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Taylor Hawkins allegedly raised concerns over Foo Fighters’ touring schedule prior to his death

Taylor Hawkins
(Image credit: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

Late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins voiced concerns over Foo Fighters’ touring schedule to his band, its management and his friends in the months before his death, according to a new article from Rolling Stone.

The lengthy report titled ‘Inside Taylor Hawkins’ Final Days as a Foo Fighter’ features quotes from over 20 of Hawkins’ friends and musical peers - specifically Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron - as well as Hawkins’ former drum tech, Chad ‘Yeti’ Ward and an unnamed “colleague and friend” who asked for their identity to remain anonymous.

The article claims that Hawkins expressed discomfort with the volume of live dates to Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters’ management as well as his friends, telling Matt Cameron that he “Couldn’t fucking do it anymore.”. 

Rolling Stone also states that the title approached Hawkins’ family, the band and its management, (Silva Artist Management) for interviews surrounding the subject which were declined, however the management company did address and dispute the claims via a representative (detailed further down this page).

Matt Cameron, Taylor Hawkins & Chad Smith

(Image credit: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

The piece features a number of details, starting with a quote from Pearl Jam and former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, who says, “[Taylor] had a heart-to-heart with Dave 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.” Rolling Stone makes the suggestion that despite Hawkins’ apparent request to ‘scale back’, his friends believe that he agreed to continue touring in order to be a team player,

“[A band like that] is a big machine with a lot of people on the payroll”, Cameron continues. “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.”

The anonymous friend mentioned above adds, “The fact that he 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."

Taylor Hawkins & Chad Smith

(Image credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Heifer International)

Further illustrating Hawkins’ desire for a less intense schedule, Rolling Stone recounts reports from December 2021, where Foo Fighters cancelled shows after a “member of the band” was taken ill, revealing that Hawkins lost consciousness while on board a plane in Chicago.

"That was one of the straws that broke the camel’s back." Chad Smith told the publication. "After that, he had a real important heart-to-heart with Dave and the management. He said ‘I can’t continue on this schedule, and so we’ve got to figure out something.’”

“He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs and stuff. He was dehydrated and all kinds of stuff.” Smith adds that following the incident, Hawkins told him “I can’t do it like this anymore.”

The article goes on to talk about Hawkins’ time in the band, before returning to the subject of the band’s touring schedule once restrictions from Covid had been eased, contrasting Foo Fighters’ regrouping with that of Pearl Jam in 2021 - with PJ playing four gigs compared to Foo Fighters’ 70 dates.

“They were the first ones to go back at it super hard, and [Taylor and I] definitely had discussions about that,” Matt Cameron says. “He was a little apprehensive, understandably, just because of all the Covid bullshit that was going on. So there was all these different factors that were weighing on him stepping back into the ring.” 

Taylor Hawkins & Matt Cameron

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty)

A representative for Foo Fighters and its management is quoted throughout the piece, repeatedly stating that Hawkins didn’t raise the alleged concerns with the band or management, saying “No, there was never a ‘heart-to-heart’ - or any sort of meeting on this topic” [regarding the touring schedule], adding “[Taylor] never informed Dave and [management] of anything at all like that.”

Regarding the report of Hawkins losing consciousness on a plane, the representative said, “This is not true”, while adding that there was “no limit” put on the number of live dates Hawkins agreed to play, and that “The touring schedule had been established and in place for well over a year.”

A preliminary autopsy of Hawkins’ body found that his heart weighed around 600 grams - almost double the average weight - when he passed away. Rolling Stone references its own interview with Hawkins from July 2021 - the day of the band’s return to the live circuit.

As well as detailing Hawkins’ stage fright and anxiety (“I’m in hell”), it references that Hawkins told the publication that a doctor had diagnosed him with sleep apnea and an enlarged heart. “Your heart’s big because you exercise a lot - it’s like a runner’s heart.” Hawkins said he was told by a doctor, adding “I’m healthy.”   

Taylor Hawkins died on 25 March in Bogota, Colombia. Despite urine toxicology reports indicating there were 10 notable substances in his body-  including marijuana, antidepressants, opioids and benzodiazepines -  at the time of his death, an official cause of death has still yet to be announced. 

Meanwhile, Matt Cameron recently paid tribute to his friend Taylor, playing guitar and singing for a cover of the Hawkins-penned (and sung) Foo Fighters song, Cold Day In The Sun during Pearl Jam's set. He was joined by drummer, Mark Guiliana.

Smith - who was on stage -  also recently took the opportunity to honour Hawkins during the Red Hot Chili Peppers' headline set at the New Orleans Jazz Festival while Taylor's wife Alison and Dave Grohl looked on from the side of the stage.

Matt Cameron has since released a statement addressing the article, saying his quotes were "taken out of context and shaped into a narrative I never intended". Chad Smith is yet to publicly comment on the Rolling Stone article.

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.