Here’s a question some people are quietly asking about the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows

Both Taylor Hawkins tribute shows were unqualified successes. But very quietly, some people have been asking a simple question: Why did Taylor get such extravagant send-offs? Other famous musicians have died but didn’t have massive events in their honour on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here’s an example of the emails I’ve received:

Something struck me about the 2 concerts Dave Grohl put on for Taylor Hawkins at Wembley and LA. I understand why Dave Grohl would want to pay tribute to Taylor, but artists like Neal Pert, Chris Cornell, and others never had a tribute like this one. Why this one for Taylor Hawkins?

Did Dave Grohl put these two massive shows together to make up for the money lost because the Foo Fighters had to cancel a big tour because of COVID? Did this have anything to do with not having proper cancelation insurance? Did they owe Live Nation something as a result of having to call off that tour?

This may or may not be a good example, ZZ Top knowing Dusty Hill was ill had a replacement for him and continued the tour. I am sure after a brief break for grieving. Dave could easily have found a drummer and rescheduled.

It’s a good question that few want to ask lest they be called disrespectful. Here’s my answer:

  1. Taylor was in one of the biggest and most-connected bands in the world. They knew everyone and everyone knew them.
  2. Dave Grohl was Taylor’s best friend in the whole world. They were closer than brothers.
  3. The guys in the Foos are super-close and extremely supportive of each other. These shows were both part of the grieving they needed to do.
  4. Taylor was genuinely liked by everyone who met him. I met him a bunch of times and he was really, really nice. EVERYONE said the same thing about him. A celebration of his life was in order.
  5. Dave is widely acknowledged as the nicest dude in rock. He’ll go to the wall for family and friends. And he has friends in high places everywhere.
  6. The Foo Fighters are managed by a VERY powerful company that is extremely well connected. A couple of calls and…
  7. Insurance? I’d be SHOCKED if the Foos weren’t insured up the ying-yang for every possibility and eventuality. Remember how shows had to be canceled because of Dave’s broken leg medical emergency? And given the long lead-up to tours, I’m sure they have the foresight to take out special COVID insurance.
  8. Bottom line? Dave wanted a tribute to his friend. And with the resources he has at his disposal, what Dave wanted, Dave got. Nothing wrong with pulling out the all stops to honour your best friend.

Nothing nefarious here. Taylor just had some great people in his corner.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37441 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

25 thoughts on “Here’s a question some people are quietly asking about the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows

  • Chris Cornell did have a pretty big tribute concert. Wasn’t as immediate, happened in 2019, but just sayin’.

  • Food for thought: The Foo Fighters employ a large group of people for their tours and Dave would wanna find a way to help those people out as well (who would have all been pinched the last few years by the pandemic and then the untimely death of the band’s drummer). There are lots of reasons this was a big deal but I suspect the largest reason was the massive amount of industry goodwill a really likeable and nice guy rock star generated with his peers as well as the Dave Grohl nice guy reputation (which is actually real).

  • Plus, all the proceeds went to charities that the Hawkins family chose. Music Support and MusiCares

  • A little more about Taylor Hawkins. Many, if not most, of the tribute artists had a personal and/or professional relationship with Taylor… This alone makes for a considerably large show regardless of Dave Growl’s status. IMO.

  • You made important points, and from statements of Taylor’s character and associations in music running like wildfire all over the internet, he deserved it. His life deserves remembering in the biggest way, to be a light of guidance for kindness and connection and showing love. No ego, just purity and friendship.
    The question of money could easily have been answered to anyone, because it was openly posted that it was going to charities. Taylor’s tribute was this big and still couldn’t show all the people who honor him, because of the person Taylor was. They were honoring him because of love, not profit.

  • Taylor Hawkins was beloved by all who knew him and he had Dave Grohl as a best friend who wanted to make sure that Taylor was honored properly….and that is just what he did .

  • I was at the L.A. show and it was nothing short of epic. Anyone who questions why other bands never did anything like this when band mates died, knows F-all about Foo Fighters. That has to be one of the most insulting questions ever. The money went charity. I’ve worked with Music Cares, and this charity does remarkable things for music. Honestly, I just think the reason other bands never did this is because they during think of it. Niw, watch for the copycats.

  • How many people died in south america for Talyor to get his drugs?

  • Thank you for writing this and making great points to shut down the critics.

    These concerts were a fantastic way to raise a lot of money for charities.

    The Foos and the Hawkins Family were decent enough to welcome the fans into the fold, to grieve and celebrate Taylor together. What is there to moan about in that!

  • Where the heck can we watch these tributes after the fact in Canada….legally? It should be available to pay for at the very least on a streaming service………

  • Two words why…

    Step back and look at this through the eyes of Dave… he’s fresh into his 20s, soaring to unfathomable fame, literally being in the biggest band in the world, then…Kurt dies.

    Dave retreated from the entire world. He didn’t even think he would be able to sit behind a kit again, the haunting memory of his front man gone too soon and along with him died Dave’s “job” (no one knew foo fighters would be as big as they’ve become).

    Now let’s look at how he’s handling Taylor’s death… his best friend, his brother, for over 20 years…
    In my opinion this was not a recoup of finances… it was Dave grieving and dealing with this tremendous loss in the biggest most honorable way possible… just watch the video of Dave singing “Times Like These” at the first show, and you’ll see the answer in his eyes. This man is bearing his soul and being completely vulnerable in front of not only thousands of fans, but some of his biggest idols.

    Dave Grohl is my hero… and he’s EXTRA-ordinary 🙂

  • Glad to see this because critics of the tributes were really getting ridiculous. It was openly posted that the proceeds did go to charity. Each family and band does what works for them. Recently a cranky music podcaster who shall remain nameless implied that somebody needed to get moving with putting a tribute together for Eddie Van Halen. Wolfie had some definite things to say about that. We really need to get off peoples cases and mind our own business. Dave did an amazing sendoff for Taylor. Some other bands have done smaller events. And some families / bamds have chosen not to do one at all. All of those choices are OK. And none of them are our business.

  • Not at all surprised that the greatest rock band in the world would want to do something so widely remarkable and epic as to what they did in Taylor’s honor and memory. Let’s not forget that Dave also lost his legendary mom this past summer. Dave Grohl might just be the nicest man in this world.

  • Nobody asked these questions. Clearly, because you’re a journalist, you fabricated this entire subject then answered your own questions. Shame on you, Cameron. Seriously. Stop creating fires, stoking them safely so you’ll appear the hero, then putting them out. This is BS journalism at best.

    • Uh, people HAVE been asking these questions. I’ve received dozens of emails on this subject. Stop projecting.

      And who’s Cameron?

  • I have absolutely NO problem whatsoever with Dave’s and the Foo’s wanting to put together these tribute shows for Taylor. However what I do take issue with that they managed to sweep under the proverbial carpet not highlighting the cause of his death, a drug overdose, during those shows. Countless numbers of people die from OD’s every year and what an opportunity to get the prevention message out there than these two shows. Taylor was certainly dabbling and using and paid for it with his life needlessly and died alone in a hotel room. This wasn’t his first OD either so he knew what consequences are. I thought he was sober, as I read an interview somewhere where he was talking about his overdose and subsequent recovery. Essentially he said his recovery Involved a lot of mountain biking. I hadn’t heard of that program before but if it works for him, great. Relapse is prevalent in addiction and he needed help, clearly. If the band, Dave, knew he was using at all on the road shame on them for not educating themselves and intervening. I have a hard time believing Dave knew as he lost another brother to this insidious disease. Drug addiction is serious business, and once you know you are an addict, having a problem which causes serious problems in your life, you can’ t go back to being a recreational user, period. And for the nay sayers out there, would you, knowing that you have an addictive side of yourself and in the past had an over dose that put you in a coma, roll the dice, on any given night hoping it did not get out of hand? Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, try as you might, but you can’t put it back in. Addiction is the very same way.

  • I’d like to thank you for putting these articles out there. Questions surrounding a beloved musician’s death remain Unanswered. Giant, multi-continent tribute shows were performed (& justly so) but failed once again to give his fans any real closure about What Actually Happened. We need journalists like you to keep digging (staying as respectful as possible) to get as much of the truth out as possible. Let’s face it, Taylor Hawkins died from *Something*. It would sure be nice to know what that was, so that pointless speculation can End & Real Closure can be had..

  • “Why did Taylor such extravagant send-offs?” I am not sure who is asking that. I think it is more like “who can has an editor, and make the word pies” does anyone really read this once they see an easy error like that. Dang, we all make mistakes but I do not publish articles so….. Yeah. I stopped at that line.

  • Anyone who emailed you “quietly asking” as to “why not Chris Cornell” is a real dum-dum because they had quite the tribute concert for him.

    Ditto goes for anyone who thinks they weren’t insured… especially during Covid. It is literally impossible to mount an international tour in giant arenas without insurance.

    And it’s quite public that the money from these concerts are going to charity. They don’t owe some nefarious promoter money. Someone has been watching too much Sopranos.

    I’m sorry that you are on the receiving end of so many emails that defy not only logic but a quick google search.

  • Ok to the people asking what happened? Why did he die?….. Quite frankly….. it’s none of our business!! He died of a heart attack that’s all we need to know!! And to the person who rather charmingly insinuated it was as a result of illegal substances….. how the F*** do you know!? All too many people have died as a result of prescription medications…. Fact of the matter is we don’t know what happened, we don’t know the circumstances! We don’t know if he was troubled, if he was ill or if it was misadventure and guess what WE DON’T NEED TO KNOW!! Not every part of a celebrity’s life is our business allow his family and friends some bloody privacy!!

  • Taylor Hawkins literally sang at Chris Cornell’s tribute show. You were so eager to foment controversy that you didn’t do a single bit of research.

    • What are you talking about? I’m simply replying to a bunch of emails that I received. There’s no controversy. It’s clarification. Stop being a troll.

  • Well said. The thing people need to understand is that these kind of tributes are organized by the people involved with the musician being honored. So if the Foo Fighters wanted to go big, then that’s it. Same when Freddie Mercury died, his bandmates started making calls and they got pretty much every popular act from the early 90s to play in that concert. If any deceased famous musician didn’t get the same treatment, it’s just because the people around them didn’t feel like doing something big or didn’t think that was the best way to honor their lives.

  • efrickingnuf already! I’m waiting for the conspiracy theories to start.

  • I’m sure the band must have been insured, but isn’t it possible that the insurance company decided not to pay any claims based on: the Dec loss of consciousness incident, the enlarged heart, the reports that he tried to get the number of dates reduced bc of his health, and the band’s reasonably presumed awareness from all this that he may not have been well enough to complete a lengthy tour? Couldn’t the insurance Co look at all this and say, you were on notice that he was not well and didn’t take reasonable precautions or make alternative arrangements to prevent this?


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