Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins: Computer-made pop music is depressing

Foo Fighters comprise (from left) Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett.
Foo Fighters comprise (from left) Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett.PHOTO: BRANTLEY GUTIERREZ

American rockers Foo Fighters' drummer Taylor Hawkins believes a new wave of rock bands will overtake today's electronic dance and pop music on the charts

As it is to be expected of a die-hard rocker, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins says the electronic dance music (EDM) and pop music that dominate the charts these days have no soul.

"To me, the things I don't love about EDM and pop music is the lack of human feel. I get sad to think that the human feel of music is going to be gone from the mainstream and it's all just going to be sort of this clicking and popping of computers with Auto-Tuned vocals. To me, that sounds so depressing," he says.

He was speaking to The Straits Times in a telephone interview ahead of his band's concert at the National Stadium on Saturday. The show is the American rock juggernauts' first here in more than 20 years.

Foo Fighters last played here at the now-defunct WTC Harbour Pavilion in 1996. Hawkins, who joined the band only the year after that show, says their fans are in for a treat.

"Expect the show to be long - we like to play for a long time," he says of the upcoming concert. "We challenge ourselves to see how long we can do it, how long we can play, how long we can keep it up for.

"You're usually in pain after those shows, but it's worth it," he adds with a laugh.


  • WHERE: National Stadium, 1 Stadium Drive

    WHEN: Saturday, 8pm

    ADMISSION: From $128 from Sports Hub Tix box offices (call 3158-7888 or go to or SingPost outlets

On the line from Japan, where they were due to play the Osaka and Tokyo editions of the Summer Sonic music festival, Hawkins, 45, admits that even his 11-year-old son is not into rock music and likes hip-hop acts such as Drake and Lil Yachty instead.

But he is hopeful that a new wave of rock bands will come to rule the charts again in the future.

"These things are always cyclical. I think it will come back. I'd like to think there's a Kurt Cobain, a Jimi Hendrix or someone in his parents' basement getting ready to explode it all again. I'd like to think it's someone with a guitar and bass and drums."

While he was discussing the lack of rock bands in general on the music charts these days, Foo Fighters - formed in 1994 by frontman Dave Grohl after his iconic former band Nirvana disbanded following singer, guitarist and songwriter Kurt Cobain's suicide - are an exception.

All their albums since 2003's One By One have charted in the Top 3 in the United States. The band have also consistently remained popular among critics and have taken home 11 Grammy Awards. They are also the only band to have four Best Rock Album Grammys to their name.

Hawkins says he and his bandmates, who also include bassist Nate Mendel, guitarist Pat Smear (also from Nirvana), guitarist Chris Shiflett and newest addition, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, are more than happy to show the younger upstarts the ropes.

"We had our time to be new. Now we're sort of enjoying our 'elder statesmen of rock' status and are happy to teach the the kids what it's like to play the guitar and drums."

Foo Fighters, who are touring the world, are also releasing their latest and ninth album, Concrete And Gold, on Sept 15.

Hawkins' reservations about pop music notwithstanding, the new work sees the band work, for the first time, with Greg Kurstin, a Grammy Award-winning producer known better for his work with artists such as Adele, Sia and Kelly Clarkson.

Grohl has hinted that the album features backing vocals from "probably the biggest pop star in the world", triggering speculation that it could be anyone from Adele to Taylor Swift. Other guests who appear on the new album include some unlikely names, such as jazz saxophonist Dave Koz and Shawn Stockman from R&B group Boyz II Men.

Hawkins also confirms that ex-Beatle Paul McCartney plays the drums, not his usual bass, on a song called Sunday Rain. Hawkins wrote and sang on the song, unlike the rest which are written and sung by Grohl.

Hawkins says: "To play with a Beatle is amazing, I love that. I'm blessed - it's yet another amazing thing that's happened to my life."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'Fighting for rock to rule again'. Print Edition | Subscribe