Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Music

The Foo Fighters song Dave Grohl wrote for Taylor Hawkins

@TylerGolsen

When Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins passed away before a Colombian show in March of 2022, it threw one of rock’s most solid bands into limbo. Apart from the acrimonious departures of original drummer William Goldsmith in 1997 and guitarist Franz Stahl in 1999, the Foos have experienced surprisingly little turnover in their nearly-three decade long career. Guitarist Pat Smear even returned to the lineup after having left in 1997. Hawkins’ loss is catastrophic for the band, made only more painful by the fact that it had almost happened two decades earlier.

While the Foos were on tour in London in 2001, Hawkins suffered a heroin overdose that left him in a coma for two weeks. When he finally awoke, the band entered a delicate rebuilding period the following months, with Dave Grohl having departed to play drums on Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf. When he returned, tensions began to rise, particularly between Grohl and Hawkins. As the album’s recording continued to drag on, Grohl took on a full-time position within Queens, with both bands on the bill for the 2002 Coachella Festival. Grohl felt that, had the Foo Fighters performance gone badly, there was a real possibility of breaking up the band for good.

“Look, let’s go and do this show, and if we never want to do it again, then let’s not do it again,” was how Grohl put the situation in the documentary Foo Fighters: Back and Forth. Instead, the band rose to the occasion and put on an inspired show. With renewed spirits and enthusiasm, the band regrouped and finished their fourth studio album, One By One, by October of 2002.

In the immediate aftermath of the band’s near-breakup, Grohl wrote ‘Times Like These’ as a call for unity and mended relationships. But it took Grohl another three years to bring in a song that was directly inspired by the hardship and trauma of Hawkins’ overdose. On the 2005 double album In Your Honor, Grohl wrote the song ‘On The Mend’ filled with references to recovery and renewal. Years later, Grohl revealed that the song was directly inspired by Hawkins.

“I don’t know if Taylor knows this: there’s a song on the acoustic record called ‘On The Mend’ that I wrote while he was in a coma from an overdose,” Grohl revealed in the bonus features for Back and Forth. “It’s about Taylor. I’ve never told him it’s about him. Hell no, it’s my love song to a dying best friend, and I put it on the record and I thought, ‘Oh god, he probably thinks this is about him.’”

“But we have never, ever, ever even gotten close to having that conversation,” Grohl reveals. “I don’t want to fucking talk to him about that. I want to talk to him about other shit.” It remains unclear whether Hawkins was ever aware that Grohl had written the song about him, but ‘On The Mend’ remains a poignant ode to survival and rebirth, even as it has now become one of the most bittersweet songs in the band’s entire catalogue.

Check out ‘On The Mend’ down below.