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Brian May: 'Taylor Hawkins single-handedly made Queen cool again'

In the aftermath of Taylor Hawkins’ death last month, tributes poured in for the Foo Fighters drummer from an endless line of musical peers, including Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, Ozzy Osbourne, John Mayer, Sam Fender and Ringo Starr.

Among those who paid tribute to the late drummer was Queen guitarist Brian May. The pair had been friends for many years and had even collaborated on a few occasions. “Taylor was very close to [Queen], he’s been in my studio a few times. In my life, I talk to him often. I talked to him just a week ago from when we lost him,” May said in an interview with Variety. “We talk about stuff, talking about Dave [Grohl], about what life is like, his joys, frustrations, being in Foo Fighters.”

As it turns out, Hawkins was a huge Queen fan, and it was mainly through his passion that Foo Fighters often covered the legendary British rock group. During Foo Fighters’ last performance at Lollapalooza in Argentina, Hawkins took over singing duties for a cover of Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’ while Grohl sat at the drums.

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May continued, discussing his bond with Hawkins, “We instantly bonded because Taylor and Pat Smear were the most informed Queen fans, they knew more about us than we did,” he said. “We were just shocked to find out how much they felt about us.”

Queen were one of Hawkins’ first rock infatuations, and at the age of 10, he went to see them live at his first concert. He brought much of his admiration for Queen to his own performance. 

It seems that May was both shocked and humbled to hear of Hawkins’ love for Queen. “The funny thing was, he turned out to be the greatest Queen fan in the world,” May said to Planet Rock. “That was always a shock to me because he seemed to be a lot cooler than we were. I think Taylor Hawkins single-handedly made Queen cool to a new generation. He knew everything about us… everything!”

May elaborated, “He and Pat Smear gave us an award at some ceremony – I can’t even remember what it was now – but it became obvious at that point really early on that they knew everything. They knew more about us than we knew! It’s always been a great thing.”

Watch Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins induct Queen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ceremony in 2001 below.