The Foo Fighters drummer passed away last Friday (March 25) at the age of 50 in Bogotá, Colombia while the band were on their South American tour.
“Taylor was very close to [Queen], he’s been in my studio a few of times. In my life, I talk to him often. I talked to him just a week ago from when we lost him,” May said (via Variety). “We talk about stuff, talking about Dave [Grohl], about what life is like, his joys, frustrations, being in Foo Fighters.”
Hawkins was a huge fan of Queen, with Foo Fighters regularly covering the band during live performances. During the band’s last show at Lollapalooza Argentina, Hawkins took the mic for a cover of Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’, while frontman Dave Grohl played the drums.
“We instantly bonded because Taylor and Pat Smear were the most informed Queen fans, they knew more about us than we did,” May said on meeting the pair. “We were just shocked to find out how much they felt about us.”
May went on to described Hawkins as “the best publicist for Queen ever”.
“He’s been so good for our image!” said the guitarist. “Where he kind of regarded us as cool – which at the time a lot of people didn’t.”
He continued: “Taylor wasn’t even my generation. I think of him as a boy – same as I saw George Michael as a boy – to lose them feels all wrong. It makes you feel so frustrated. It makes you feel like you want to negotiate with death.”
The guitarist added: “It makes you feel like if you looked at it enough, if you talk about it enough, if you analyse it enough then maybe you can bring him back, but of course, that’s just not the way it all works.”
Speaking to NME for his Soundtrack Of My Life back in 2016, Hawkins mentioned Queen a number of times. When asked for the song that made him want to drum, he chose Queen’s ‘Keep Yourself Alive’.
“There’s a live version from 1979, which the band apparently hated, but I love it,” he said. “It’s one of my favourite Queen records and some of Roger Taylor’s finest drumming. The Police’s ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’ is another record that made me go, ‘Wow, I want to play drums like that.’ My dream was to sing and look like Roger Taylor and play drums like Stewart Copeland.”
The likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Joan Jett, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Liam Gallagher, Slash and Stevie Nicks have all paid tribute to Hawkins’ life and career since the news of his death was confirmed.
The Grammys will also pay tribute to the Hawkins during their 2022 ceremony tonight (April 3).
An initial toxicology report into the death of Foo Fighters drummer has been carried out by health officials in Bogotá.