This Taylor Hawkins Conversation Has People Wondering About His Last Days

Rock music lost one of its most iconic modern drummers on March 25, 2022, when Taylor Hawkins, the Foo Fighters' drummer of 25 years, was found dead in his hotel room in Bogotá. Aged only 50 at the time of his passing, Hawkins was an integral part of the Foos' hard-driving sound and had long since established an extremely close friendship with the band's singer, guitarist, and founder, Dave Grohl. He was also a versatile musician who showed off his various other talents while playing for multiple side projects ... and occasionally handling lead vocals at Foo Fighters concerts, most notably when the band would cover Queen songs such as "Somebody to Love."

At the time of writing, no official cause of death has been announced, though reports citing Colombian authorities have claimed that a variety of drugs were found in Hawkins' system, including marijuana, opioids, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines (via The Guardian). By and large, though, the beloved drummer's passing remains a mystery, and it is also unclear whether the Foos will push forward after losing arguably the most important member of the band behind Grohl. But with conversations still swirling regarding what might have happened in the lead-up to Hawkins' death, Rolling Stone recently published a story about the musician's last days. The article has garnered a ton of controversy thus far, especially because of one quoted conversation where Hawkins purportedly raised some serious concerns to Grohl regarding their band.

Hawkins allegedly told friends, including Dave Grohl, that he was tired of touring

On May 16, 2022, Rolling Stone published a piece titled "Inside Taylor Hawkins' Final Days as a Foo Fighter," which quoted several of Hawkins' close friends and fellow musicians who talked to the publication about the events leading up to his death. One of the more notable quotes came from Pearl Jam and Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, who claimed that Hawkins had a "heart-to-heart" conversation with Dave Grohl where he admitted to the Foo Fighters founder that he "couldn't [expletive] do it anymore," seemingly in reference to the Foos' touring schedule. "So I guess they did come to some understanding, but it just seems like the touring schedule got even crazier after that," Cameron continued.

Also speaking to Rolling Stone, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers said that the December 2021 incident where Hawkins allegedly lost consciousness on a Chicago flight "was one of the straws that broke the camel's back," prompting Hawkins to tell his fellow drummer, "I can't do it like this anymore." Canadian rocker Sass Jordan, whose backing band Hawkins played for before his well-documented stints with Alanis Morissette and the Foo Fighters, told the publication that she believes the drummer was "tired of the whole game." An unnamed friend of Hawkins also chimed in, telling Rolling Stone, "The fact that he finally 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 all said, Rolling Stone made sure to note that it isn't clear how much of a change Hawkins wanted. The outlet also included many disclaimers in its article, citing a Foo Fighters representative who maintained that Hawkins never had a heart-to-heart conversation with Grohl or raised any concerns about tour schedules or similar matters.

Hawkins agreed to keep touring but was purportedly upset when another show was added

Rolling Stone went on to explain that despite his desire to go on the road less frequently, Hawkins agreed to take one for the team and play a few more shows. "He said, 'I'm just gonna do a couple,'" said the aforementioned friend and colleague who chose to remain anonymous. They added that as far as they know, Hawkins wasn't aware of how many dates he had to play. With the band ramping up its touring activities, Foo Fighters had close to 60 dates lined up for 2022, a substantially more hectic schedule than the prior year's 40 or so shows.

The unnamed friend later claimed that Hawkins called them up to express how upset he was over the Foos' decision to add another date to the tour, an Australian show scheduled for March 2022. Purportedly, Hawkins was assured that the band was going to play fewer shows after he had aired his concerns. "And he had every reason to believe that would happen," the friend told Rolling Stone. "He wanted to believe it." Again, this was refuted by the Foo Fighters' camp, with a spokesperson insisting that there was no limit to the number of shows Hawkins was supposed to play. "The touring schedule had been established and in place for well over a year," the rep continued.

Matt Cameron and Chad Smith claim Rolling Stone took their comments out of context

In the nearly immediate aftermath of Rolling Stone's Taylor Hawkins piece, two of the musicians interviewed by the outlet, Matt Cameron and Chad Smith, took to their respective Instagram accounts to issue statements and accuse the publication of blowing things out of proportion. "My quotes were taken out of context and shaped into a narrative I had never intended," the veteran Seattle drummer wrote. "Taylor was a dear friend, and a next level artist ... I am truly sorry to have taken part in this interview and I apologize that my participation may have caused harm to those whom I have only the deepest respect and admiration."

Smith, who was described by Rolling Stone as fighting back tears while he recalled Hawkins' 50th birthday celebration earlier this year, separately wrote that he expected the outlet's piece to be a "loving tribute" to his late friend. "Instead, the story they wrote was sensationalized and misleading, and had I known I would have never agreed to participate," the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer continued, likewise apologizing to Hawkins' friends, family, and colleagues in the music business for any pain caused by his remarks.

Many fans weighed in on whether Foo Fighters toured too hard for their own good

Even before Cameron and Smith issued their statements, scores of fans shared their takes on the Rolling Stone article and on the possibility that the Foo Fighters' grueling tour schedule might have played a part in Taylor Hawkins' death. In a Reddit thread dedicated to the article, u/weskeryellsCHRISSS pointed out that there have been so many older musicians who essentially "toured to death" despite how hard it was for them to keep up with the demands of the rock scene. "The tragedy is compounded if we don't heed the lesson and build a world where we let ourselves ask for help, and when we listen to guys who need help," they wrote. "If we do build that world then it honors guys like Taylor who deserved to live in it."

Another fan, u/blinkdude, observed how the Foos are indeed a hard-working band but might have taken things to an unhealthy level in recent times. "I will say I've thought for the last five years that they've been extremely active and visible but it was only last year where i went 'man they keep going and going' not thinking of the toll that takes," they remarked.

A third Redditor, u/duggatron, was one of many who took issue with Rolling Stone's narrative (more on that below), stressing that it's unfair to blame Hawkins' death on extensive touring. Specifically, they mentioned how a doctor was quoted as telling Hawkins that he had an unusually large heart because of his intense exercise regimen. "This could very easily be a missed diagnosis of a more serious heart condition, as could a diagnosis of exhaustion around Taylor passing out on the [Chicago] flight," they offered. "The author doesn't really explore the medical side of this story at all."

Others accused Rolling Stone of publishing a 'hit piece'

That same Reddit thread also included comments from users who felt Rolling Stone was pushing a sensationalized narrative — and even making people like Dave Grohl look like the bad guys in Taylor Hawkins' life story. "I'd like to think the people who spoke to RS didn't know this was going to be framed as a hit piece," wrote u/FooArchive. "I bet the Matt/Chad interviews were long & took in every aspect of their friendship, yet the bit they say about Taylor's concern for his workload is the bit they hang the piece on.Misery & Gossip = clicks & cash."

u/macytree posted in agreement, speculating that Rolling Stone cherry-picked comments from its interviews with Matt Cameron and Chad Smith in such a way that Grohl and Foo Fighters management would be painted in a negative light for ignoring Hawkins' alleged request to scale back. "A few people have said that this was an article intended to force Dave's/ the bands hand – to make him/ them say something, and I tend to agree," they wrote.

While not exactly absolving Rolling Stone of any perceived guilt, u/WereJoe opined that the conflicting statements from Hawkins' friends and from the Foo Fighters' camp make for a he-said/she-said situation. "It does come across like somebody is lying though but we have a few of Taylor's friends vs an unnamed Foos rep, does seem fishy," they commented.