Failed drummer Colin Delaney spoke to one of the most exciting drummers today, Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters, about singing in his new band, playing with Dave and wearing Britney Spears mics.
The name Taylor Hawkins may not jump at you straight away but if I say the Foo Fighters’ drummer you should be picturing a blonde-haired, wild-limbed drummer that’s always pinching the microphone from Dave Grohl in interviews. Now, he’s grabbed the mic for good with his side project Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders.
You recorded this album quite quickly. Does that make it more fun?
I think a lot of the best music comes quickly. Sometimes if it’s been too laboured over it sounds like it’s been laboured over. That’s not always the case. I think there have been a lot of great recordings that took a long time to do, ‘cos they were real studio-type things. You know ‘Good Vibrations’ took a real long time to do. Because this is my first album with my own songs I think it’s important to get the quick energy. No point trying to do Sergeant Pepper’s the first time around.
You obviously played drums and sang on the album. I’m a drummer, a poor one, but I am. What is it with drummers wanting all the limelight?
I don’t know if I want the limelight necessarily. I like to write songs to hear what they sound like after they’ve been recorded and played live. I don’t go out front and sing these songs, I’m behind the drum kit whenever we do play live. I’m not looking for more fame, I just like to play and do something creative. I don’t think this album is gunna make me more famous.
We’re not about to see you become the next Tommy Lee and have your ego become bigger than your rock?
No. I think Tommy Lee is a really great rock ‘n’ roll drummer and I think people forget that, because he’s in the media for everything else other than his drumming. There’s no reality shows or sex tapes. I don’t see that in the future.
Did you have to change your aggressive drumming style to accommodate your singing?
Yeah, it changes a bit, otherwise I could never get my head next to a microphone. I tend to flail around a lot. I didn’t know until I saw it when I was a kid. I wasn’t conscious of it, I just love Keith Moon, Tommy Lee and those kind of drummers. Your body does it naturally to get the job done. I enjoy it. I play a little more controlled actually. I think I keep better time when I sing. I don’t know why. You’d know – you’re a drummer.
A drummer who tried to sing and failed.
Give it another shot. I thought I’d have to have one of those awful Britney Spears-type headset mics. I tried a couple but they just felt so stupid and they never worked so I said fuck it and used a mic stand.
Was it intimidating when you first started with the Foo Fighters to have Dave Grohl looking over your shoulder?
He’s actually been very much ‘do your thing’, especially live, as long as I’m staying true to the thing. They’re pretty crafted drum-lines, so I always stuck to a programme to a certain degree. I feel like I got more intimidated from what other people would say. Well, he’s really nice, he’s really cool and we’re not that competitive. I think Dave is one of the best drummers ever in rock ‘n’ roll. I can’t be Dave. There’s no way, and I don’t try to be, I just try to be myself. There are definitely elements you pick up from just hanging around, trading licks, maybe he shows me a thing or two here and I show him a thing or two there. Dave was always pretty damn cool and wanted to make sure I felt okay about it. The only pressure was what I put on myself, for the most part. When we get in the studio he pretty much knows what he wants to hear from the get-go. He’s the songwriter and even if you’re not a drummer you’ve got an idea of how it should go. I think John Lennon had an idea in his head when he went to Ringo with ‘Come Together’. You’re a fucken drummer, you know. You’re basically there to support the songwriter.
And what would it take to get you to tour http://www.tntdownunder.com/article/2437918549.html[Australia]?
Not much, we’re working on it man. We’ll sleep on people’s floors and play the bad bars.
Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders is out now through Inertia.