Oliver Taylor Hawkins (born February 17, 1972) is an American musician, best known as the drummer of the rock band Foo Fighters. Prior to joining the band in 1997, he was the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette on her Jagged Little Pill and Can't Not tours, as well as the drummer in the progressive experimental band called Sylvia, which, after changing its name to Anyone, went on to sign with Roadrunner Records. His cousin, Kevin Harrell, introduced him to Dave Grohl after camping with him for several weeks in the Ozarks. Hawkins would eventually become the drummer for Grohl's band, Foo Fighters. He was voted "Best Rock Drummer" in 2005 by the UK drumming magazine Rhythm.
In 2004, Hawkins formed his own side project, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, in which he plays drums and sings.
Life and career
Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas on February 17th, 1972. His Family moved to Laguna Beach, California, in 1976 where Hawkins Grew up. Hawkins has a brother, Jason, and a sister, Heather. The family had two cats 'Little A' and 'Floyd'. He attended Thurston Jr. High School and later went to Laguna Beach High School. After leaving the Orange County-based band Sylvia (later emerging as ANYONE), he joined up as the drummer for Sass Jordan, which in turn he left to act as the drummer for Alanis Morissette. He has appeared in Morissette's videos for "You Oughta Know" and "You Learn."
After touring through the spring of 1996, Foo Fighters entered a Seattle studio with producer Gil Norton to record its second album. Conflict reportedly erupted between Dave Grohl and the current drummer, William Goldsmith, eventually causing Goldsmith to leave the band. The band regrouped in Los Angeles and almost completely re-recorded the album with Grohl on drums. The album, The Colour and the Shape, was released on May 20, 1997. Grohl called up Hawkins to recommend a new drummer, and to Grohl's surprise, Hawkins volunteered himself. He then auditioned for and subsequently joined the band, making his debut in time for the album's release.
In addition to his drumming duties with the Foo Fighters, Hawkins is also an accomplished rock singer, guitarist and pianist. His first lead vocal with the group was a cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar". Two versions of the song were released, one as the b-side to "Learn to Fly" and another on the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack album. He sang lead vocals on the original "Cold Day in the Sun," from In Your Honor, which was later released as a single, and the cover of Cream's "I Feel Free," which appeared as the b-side of "DOA" and on the EP Five Songs and a Cover. Hawkins also sang lead vocals for the band's cover of Joe Walsh's "Life of Illusion." Over the years, he has increasingly provided backing vocals on albums and in concert. At times, he has also done lead vocals and guitar while Grohl plays drums, but Hawkins is often limited to singing "Cold Day in the Sun" while drumming. This has led to a running joke whereby Grohl greets the end of Hawkins' stint as lead vocalist with the quip, "You know, for a drummer, you're not a bad singer," to which Hawkins retorts, "Neither are you."
In 2006, Hawkins released a self-titled LP with his side project, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders. He occasionally plays with a Police cover band alternately called "The Cops" and "Fallout."
At Live Earth in 2007, Hawkins was part of SOS Allstars with Roger Taylor of Queen and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Taylor played "YYZ" with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush on stage at a concert in Toronto on March 22, 2008.
Hawkins recorded the drum tracks for the Coheed and Cambria album "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow" as the band's regular drummer, Chris Pennie, was not able to record due to contractual reasons. Also, Hawkins toured with Coheed and Cambria shortly during the months of the album. Hawkins can also be heard drumming on Eric Avery's (formerly of Jane's Addiction) first solo effort, Help Wanted and on Kerry Ellis's album, "Wicked in Rock." Hawkins and Grohl split drumming duties on Harmony & Dissidence, the latest album by Foo Fighters bandmate Chris Shiflett's own side project, Jackson United.
Taylor Hawkins recorded the drum for the track "Anche se," from Vasco Rossi's demo.
Hawkins played on the track "Cyborg," from Queen guitarist Brian May's 1998 solo album, Another World; he also played drums at VH1's Rock Honors 2006 while Queen performed "We Will Rock You." He sang backing vocals on the Queen + Paul Rodgers single, "C-lebrity."
Hawkins was commissioned to complete an unfinished recording of a song by Beach Boys' drummer Dennis Wilson titled "Holy Man" by writing and singing new lyrics. The recording was released in June 2008 as part of a deluxe edition of Wilson's lone 1977 solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue.
While the Foo Fighters were on break, Hawkins played in a three-piece cover band, Chevy Metal, that played lesser known tracks by ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Van Halen, Queen, and Black Sabbath. Hawkins continues to play in Chevy Metal, except with fellow Foo Fighters bandmate Chris Shiflett now on guitar.
Taylor Hawkins appears on Slash's solo album Slash, released in 2010, providing backing vocals on the track "Crucify the Dead," featuring Ozzy Osbourne.
In 2011, Taylor recorded drums for songs by Vasco Rossi.
In June 2012, it was announced that Hawkins was cast in the role of Iggy Pop in the upcoming rock film CBGB.
Taylor recorded the drums on Vasco Rossi's last song, "L'uomo più semplice." This song was released on January 21 in Italy, and it was an instant radio hit.
"My earliest Queen memory is of the movie King Kong. I went to see that movie when I was six years old and a typical '70s kid. On the drive home with my parents, I heard 'We Will Rock You' on the car radio. Somehow in my mind there was now a correlation between King Kong and the sound of Roger Taylor's drums. Somehow they fitted so well with the image of this monster stomping through the city that I couldn't separate the two."
Taylor is also a fan of U2 stating, "To be honest, I'm probably more of an older-U2 fan. I was a really huge fan of Boy, October, War and The Unforgettable Fire. I like their new stuff here and there, but my favorite stuff is really the early, underproduced stuff."
Taylor Hawkins Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 2.