The late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was invariably a force for good. One of music’s biggest optimists with a large heart to boot, the drumming legend always gave us a reason to be hopeful and look into a future that isn’t as bad as the doomsayers might have us believe. Added to this was the fact that he was a real champion of music and art in general, making his loss even harder to bear. However, he gave us many special moments that mean his spirit will live on forever.
One of the best gifts Hawkins gave us was when he revealed that he didn’t believe that rock music was truly dead. He defended rock music from its detractors and admitted that he hoped the next Kurt Cobain was out there, waiting to take the genre to the heights it once enjoyed.
We’re all familiar with the narrative that rock is dead, given the proliferation of electronic-leaning music over the past two decades and the fact that guitar bands seem to be lacking any originality and wow factor.
However, this didn’t phase Hawkins, and in a 2017 interview with Fuse when asked whether he agreed with the narrative that rock is dead, he gave an extensive but slightly meandering answer that displayed the unwavering optimism that he was famous for. Whilst he admitted that he had to search for good rock music, he clarified that the genre isn’t totally dead.
“I think there’s good stuff out there, but I think you have to really go hunt for it,” he said. “I mean, when I was in high school, like Gun N’ Roses was the biggest band in the world and the biggest thing on the radio.” He appended, “obviously, that’s not the kind of thing that’s happening right now.”
Hawkins continued: “I always like to think that there’s a Kurt Cobain somewhere in his parent’s basement, hating his parents, and hating the world, getting ready to like rewrite rock ‘n’ roll with a guitar and a bass and a drum set. Because I love rock ‘n’ roll. We like a human feel to music, and I feel like that’s kind of missing a lot.”
“It just so happens that right now hip-hop and sort of throwaway pop music, well, I call it throwaway pop music, my kids wouldn’t, but I do, just happens to be what’s at the top of the charts for the most part. Except for a couple of weeks ago when we had a number one record!”
Foo Fighters bandmate Pat Smear then added, “I don’t remember where it was, the U.S. or somewhere, but I remember because everyone asks us, ‘Is rock dead?’ ‘Are you keeping rock alive?’ And our album went to number one somewhere. But there was one place in particular where the top three albums were all rock albums. I’m like, ‘What happened to rock is dead?’”
“They’ve been saying that to us since the late ’90s,” Hawkins declared. “I remember doing interviews for ‘Nothing Left to Loose,’ and some German guy said, ‘So, why do you play rock music still? It’s dead form of art. You know, it’s dance music now, correct? You don’t know that, you guys are playing a dead form of music.’”
The defiant drummer concluded: “And we’re like, ‘Well, it’s not dead at our shows. It’s alive and well.’ Like I said, hopefully, there’s some genius pissed off at the world, ready to take it all up again.”
Watch the interview below.