Looking back on a very busy 2015 for him and his Foo Fighters bandmates, drummer Taylor Hawkins says, “It was a crazy year. After [Dave Grohl] broke his leg, we were in Europe when the Paris thing was going on, and we were supposed to play Paris four days later. It was such a blessed year for us as far as all the great things we were given by the world, but it was a lot.”
So in typical rock and roll fashion following an album and tour, the Foos have “nothing on the books,” Hawkins says. That is not slowing Hawkins down though: He has a full slate planned for 2016, starting with his cover band, Chevy Metal.
For Hawkins, Chevy Metal is the ideal way to stay active while the Foos aren’t working on a project. “It’s something I can do that’s fun and keeps me playing,” he says. “I want to be able to, when I hit 55, say, ‘I’m only going to play drums when I want to now.’ So I’m like, ‘F—, I could take a year off, but I can go out and make some money and keep playing.’ I want to do a lot of stuff. I just figure it’s better to stay busy. None of us can sit around doing nothing.”
While Chevy Metal busts out familiar songs, including hits from Van Halen, Motley Crue and more, Hawkins sees the group as being unique from other all-star cover bands such as Camp Freddy. “We don’t play it true to the song. We do our own versions. We don’t do ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Start Me Up.’ We do some pretty popular songs, but we did ‘The Width of a Circle’ the other night — that’s Bowie off Man Who Sold the World,” he said. “I like doing stuff like that. Like we do ‘A Quick One’ by The Who — stuff that’s fun and interesting.”
Hawkins’ goal is to turn fans on to some great tunes. “A lot of times people don’t know the songs and they ask what it is afterwards.”
Despite the fact they don’t do the obvious songs, Chevy Metal are developing a following. “We are doing a lot. We’re getting really good offers and fun trips,” he says. “I make them family trips sometimes, and it’s just a way to stay busy and have some fun. And we’ll do a bunch of charity events. I’m gonna do an autism benefit in the summer.”
In between Chevy Metal gigs, Hawkins will release another album of original material, though he hasn’t decided under which moniker yet. “I’m writing music, I’m talking about collaborating with certain folks, and I’m figuring out how to make a record. I’ve pretty much, since 2004, put out a record every time we’ve had a break,” he says. “I made a couple with Coattail Riders and we just did a show together for the Drum Off. But I don’t know. It’ll be a low-key affair like it usually is, and the 10,000 people that buy all the Birds of Satan and Coattail records will buy this record or stream it, we’ll go out and do some shows. I’m just staying busy and loving playing music just as much, love it, having a blast.”
Whatever he does, he is intent on having fun, like in Chevy Metal where he gets to pay homage to his heroes, including Bowie. Hawkins admits the rock legend’s death hit him hard. “I’m really bummed about Bowie, ugh. I’m just having a hard time with him not in the world anymore. It’s like when Freddie [Mercury] died back when I was a kid, like 1991,” says the unabashed Queen superfan. “I was like, ‘What? He’s not walking on this planet anymore? The planet’s not as good anymore.’ This planet just got not as good because David Bowie isn’t walking around on it anymore.”