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The reason why Taylor Hawkins refused to play Led Zeppelin songs with his cover band


Like most people that have picked up a drumstick, the late Taylor Hawkins was inspired by John Bonham and the work of Led Zeppelin. However, there was a reason why he refused to take on their songs with his cover band Chevy Metal.

Hawkins formed the side-project during a period of downtime with Foo Fighters, and it was nothing more than a leisure activity. There was no stress involved in the band, and the only ethos was to have a good time by covering songs close to their heart from the 1970s. It began naturally and was a great source of joy for the drummer, who had free reign to do whatever he liked under the guise of Chevy Metal.

Chevy Metal was never a priority for Hawkins, but he found himself returning to the project whenever he got some downtime. He played with the band purely for his love of old-school rock while also allowing him to return to playing sweatpits.

Their most covered song during their time together was ‘Stay With Me’ by The Faces, which Chevy Metal played on 40 occasions. Other favourites in their sets include ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack’s, ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss You’, but Led Zeppelin was always off the cards.

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It’s a surprising shun from Hawkins because of his love for Led Zeppelin, and he also regularly covered them with Foo Fighters. During their show at Wembley Stadium in 2008, Hawkins took up vocals as Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones joined them to perform Zeppelin classics ‘Rock and Roll’ and ‘Ramble On’.

Jones will also be participating in a tribute concert in memory of Hawkins in September at the same venue they once performed together and created musical history. Explaining his decision to refrain from sprinkling a portion of Led Zeppelin into Chevy Metal concerts, Hawkins once said: “I try to stay away from stuff that I feel is kind of like too much of a wedding-band type situation.”

He continued: “We do play The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ and stuff like that, but we’d never play Led Zeppelin. I feel like everybody covers Led Zeppelin always. I’m not saying it’s easy to play. I’m just saying that we just don’t. It’s not faithful.”

Hawkins never expanded on what he meant by saying it wouldn’t be “faithful” to cover Led Zeppelin. Yet, seemingly, he wanted Chevy Metal concerts to have a unique feel to them, and therefore there was a strict ban on Zeppelin material.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of Hawkins taking on a Led Zeppelin classic, watch the iconic footage below of him teaming up with Page and Jones at Wembley.

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