Taylor Hawkins’ first posthumous release – a cover of Johnny Winter’s 1970 track ‘Guess I’ll Go Away’, which the late Foo Fighters drummer recorded with Johnny’s brother, Edgar Winter – has been revealed.
It comes as part of a new tribute album, ‘Brother Johnny’, that Edgar released yesterday (April 15) in his sibling’s memory; the Texan blues-rocker died in 2014 at the age of 70.
Hawkins sings the lead on his and Edgar’s cover of ‘Guess I’ll Go Away’, retaining the swampy hard-rock bite of the original, but modernising it with tighter and more crisp production, contrasting lead guitars and layered vocals, and a heavier focus on the brash and thrashy drumming. Edgar plays organ on the track, while guitar duties were handled by Doug Rappoport.
Have a listen to Hawkins and Edgar Winter’s cover of ‘Guess I’ll Go Away’ below:
In a statement shared on his website, Edgar explained that he “wanted a younger, more energetic, modern approach to the vocal” on the ‘Brother Johnny’ redux of ‘Guess I’ll Go Away’. He was introduced to Hawkins by producer Ross Hogarth, who Edgar noted was “very close friends” with the late multi-hyphenate.
Edgar went on to praise Hawkins for his “sincerity, positive energy, and pure enthusiasm” in the recording process, continuing: “He had a unique spontaneous style different from anyone I’ve ever worked with before. I can be very opinionated – but as soon as heard what he was doing, I knew it was best to step back, stay out of the way, and let him do his thing. That session was an experience I will never forget.
“When I tried to open a business discussion, he simply would not hear of it. He said, ‘I don’t want ANYTHING for doing this, I just want’a get out there and rock.’ And rock HE DID! I don’t know if it was out of respect for Johnny, a desire to help me in what I was doing, compassion for the nature of the project, or his friendship with Ross. Most probably all these things – but whatever it was, he gave it his ALL!”
Edgar closed his statement with a tribute to both Hawkins and Johnny, writing: “The name of the song is ‘Guess I’ll Go Away’. Now, both Johnny and Taylor have gone away [to a place] no one can know, but which we all one day must travel. Although I know Johnny has departed this world, I still think of and speak to him every day, and will now see Taylor’s face along side his.
“Wherever that way may lead, I wish them peace and love on the journey, knowing I will join them soon – as we all will someday. Taylor, Monique and I both thank you with all our hearts.”
In addition to Hawkins’ role in ‘Guess I’ll Go Away’, the ‘Brother Johnny’ compilation features input from the likes of Ringo Starr, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Campbell, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Keb’ Mo’ and Joe Walsh. It’s available to stream now via Quarto Valley Records, with a vinyl release currently slated for June.
Hawkins died last month at age 50, just hours before the Foo Fighters were scheduled to perform in Bogotá, Colombia. According to a preliminary toxicology report, multiple drugs were found in his system; health officials said that Hawkins died in his room at the Casa Medina hotel, and had called emergency services to report chest pains shortly beforehand.
Tribute was paid to Hawkins at the 2022 Grammy Awards, where the audience was show a montage of the late drummer’s performances and backstage antics. In a speech given during the ceremony, host Trevor Noah said: “Our thoughts go out to Taylor’s family, his friends, the Foo Fighters family and all of their fans around the world.”