Dave Grohl's Friendship With Taylor Hawkins Explained

The rock scene suffered a tragic loss when Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died at the age of 50 on March 25, 2022, just as the band was preparing to play at the Estéreo Picnic Festival in Bogotá, Colombia (per Variety). Fans as well as fellow rock icons have taken to social media to pay their respects to the late musician, with many looking back on his 25-year stint with Foo Fighters and his legacy as one of modern rock's most powerful and talented drummers.

Aside from his obvious skills behind the drum kit, one other thing that comes to mind when it comes to Hawkins is his friendship with the Foos' singer, guitarist, and founder, Dave Grohl. Although the Foo Fighters are, according to Grohl, one of the few acts whose members genuinely like each other despite all the trials and tribulations inherent to being a band member (via The Sun), Hawkins and Grohl's status as best buddies is arguably the one that truly stands out. After all, Hawkins was the longest-tenured member in the group's history outside of Grohl and founding bassist Nate Mendel; there's also the whole "birds of a feather" thing, what with Grohl's well-documented background as Nirvana's last, and most notable drummer. 

That said, here's a closer look at Dave Grohl's friendship with Taylor Hawkins, starting with the very first time these two kindred spirits met.

It didn't take long for Grohl to conclude Hawkins was his 'spirit animal'

The year was 1997. With one successful album under their belt and a second one on the way, the Foo Fighters were on the rise. Unfortunately, they were short one member early that year, as drummer William Goldsmith had recently quit due to creative differences — barely playing on your upcoming album will do that to you. Goldsmith was soon replaced by Taylor Hawkins, who was, prior to that, the drummer for Alanis Morissette's backing band, and as Dave Grohl explained in a recent interview with 95.5 KLOS (via Rock Celebrities), he initially thought that Hawkins might not be interested in joining the Foos because he was backing up one of the rock scene's brightest stars. Still, the foundation for a long creative partnership was there, as both men hit it off instantly during their first meeting.

"The first time we met, we were at some radio show backstage, and he came up with a beer in his hand," Grohl recalled. "He's like, 'Hey, man, what's up? I'm Taylor, I play with Alanis Morissette. Dude, I love your record, it's so cool!' He was such a spaz. I was like, 'Wow, you're either my twin or my spirit animal, or my best friend!' In the first 10 seconds of meeting him. And, of course, I'd seen him play the drums, and I thought he was an amazing drummer."

Sure enough, when Grohl called Hawkins and mentioned in passing that his band was looking for a drummer, Hawkins immediately volunteered his services. "I think [Hawkins joining Foo Fighters] had more to do with our personal relationship than anything musical," Grohl noted.

Hawkins' 2001 overdose nearly made Grohl quit music

During a Foo Fighters tour date in 2001, Taylor Hawkins overdosed on heroin and was hospitalized in London, where he spent the next two weeks in a coma. As he revealed to The Guardian in 2011, this was a very stressful experience for Grohl, who had seen many friends die of fatal drug overdoses through the years. There was also the fact that another friend and ex-bandmate, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, overdosed just weeks before his death in April 1994.

All this emotional stress nearly drove the Foo Fighters founder to retire from music altogether. "When Taylor wound up in [the] hospital I was ready to quit music," Grohl said. "Because, to me, it felt like music equaled death. I started praying. I've never been to church in my life, and I'm walking back from Taylor's hospital to our hotel every night, praying out loud in the streets of London."

Fortunately, Hawkins woke up from his coma, and as The Guardian pointed out, this was all but confirmed when, from his hospital bed, he jokingly told Grohl to "f*** off." He would later tell Beats 1 (via NME) that the overdose was a "real changing point" in his life, as it convinced him to get clean for his own sake — and for the sake of his band.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Grohl described Hawkins as his best friend in recent interviews

In the years that passed since Dave Grohl declared, just minutes after meeting him for the first time, that Taylor Hawkins was his "spirit animal," the two men developed what many sources, including NME, have referred to as a "bromance." This was evident in the publication's February 2021 cover piece, where Grohl told the story of his first meeting with Hawkins — and how quickly they became best friends. He also opened up about the moment Hawkins became a Foo Fighter. "When he joined the band, his drumming was the least important factor – I just thought I want to travel the world with this guy, I want to jump on stage and drink beers with this person," Grohl told NME's Nick Reilly. "That was my biggest concern."

Likewise, Grohl's comments to 95.5 KLOS several months later reinforced the "bromance" narrative and emphasized how his friendship with Hawkins helped them make such great music, especially while playing live, in their two-and-a-half decades as bandmates. "Our musical relationship, the foundation of that is our friendship, and that's why when we jump up on stage and play, we're so connected because we're like best friends, and it's great," he said.