Songwriter U: Taylor Hawkins—His Legacy Lives On

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The news of Taylor Hawkins’ death struck the music community like a tidal wave. It was shocking, to say the least, and my deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, bandmates, and the entire music community.

It was hard not to notice the complete outpouring of love on social media and heart-felt musical tributes paid throughout the world from fans and rock stars like Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus. 

What made Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters unforgettably good?

There were a number of things, but a couple of things stand out.

He’s not only a drummer, but he’s a fantastic musician and a great songwriting drummer. All of his parts were really well crafted for the song and you can tell he gave a lot of thought and time to his art. 

Especially if you watch any of the documentaries he was in; you could tell he was hard on himself and pushed himself to get the best he could. It seemed to be worth the trouble though because, through his process, he acknowledges that he ends up getting a drum track he’s really proud of.  

And did you ever notice from all his pictures and videos that he’s smiling and enjoying what he’s doing? How could you not?

Photo by Paul Rovere/The Age/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Every time there’s a picture of him playing, he’s smiling. Some call it his trademark smile. And it’s real. He loved playing the drums and you felt it all the way to the back of the arena. 

Unfortunate as his death is, it carries with it a map for us to follow. Everyone’s response was about how amazing he is as a drummer and how wonderful of a person he was… It almost shadows this tragedy with a feeling of camaraderie, respect, and love.  That kind of reaction is powerful, and I hope it guides us as we make decisions about who we choose to be, as our life and music continue on. 

It makes me wonder if we can consciously keep his legacy alive via the best form of flattery; imitation. How can we help our love for music and for people shine through in our craft? Could we concentrate more on that and honor this great person?   How can we carry that dedication and love for music and channel it into our songwriting with care, to create something great that we’re proud of?

Could we have more Taylor Hawkins in the world who love the craft, embody compassion, are caring, nice, and who ALSO create great work?

Well, that’s what he showed us we can do.

You can have all of that. Talent and friendship. Hard work, creativity, and joy.

We lost a titan of rock, a man with the energetic and technical ability to blow minds in the arena, but also one with a kind heart that amplified his talent and set the world on fire.

Mike Meiers is an Emmy Award-Winning songwriter, producer, and guitar coach. Mike currently writes for indie artists, has had placements for MTV, VH1 NPR, FOX Sports, History Channel, Showtime, and Target. He’s also the founder and coach at Songwriting For Guitar, helping songwriters enhance their guitar skills so they can write better songs and get them out into the world!

If you love fun and educational podcasts with caffeinated hosts and insightful guests, visit and subscribe to the Songwriting for Guitar Podcast.

Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images

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