When joy leaves the stage
“One of these days, your heart will stop and play its final beat.”
This lyric from the song “These Days” by Foo Fighters from their 2011 album Wasting Light has been on a constant loop in my head all weekend, and, frankly, it won’t stop. On Friday, March 25, 2022, the soul and drumming backbone of Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins’ heart, stopped and played its final beat. It was news that shook me to the core, and while I was a massive fan of the band, I struggled to understand why his death had such a profound impact on me.
Perhaps it was the fact that he was only 50, which seems far too young for someone so seemingly vibrant and full of life. Maybe it was because I knew what devastating impact it would have on his wife and three kids who would now be without him. Perhaps it was the knowledge of the deep sadness his best friend and bandmate, Dave Grohl, must have felt – especially being aware that he went through something very similar almost 30 years ago when his bandmate in Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I grasped that I felt for all of us because a constant beacon of light had been extinguished. Watching Taylor Hawkins – whether he was behind the kit driving the band or singing one of his beloved Queen songs to thousands of fans – he exuded infectious and contagious joy. It was a joy that he freely gave, and we willingly accepted.
I’m not going to spend time going into the history of Taylor Hawkins and how he came to join Foo Fighters 25 years ago – there are plenty of places for that to be explained better than I ever could. However, imagine being the drummer in a band started and fronted by someone universally recognized as one of the top five rock drummers ever. Now, imagine doing that without crumbling to the pressure and expectations of fans while smiling at every possible moment. Instead, he always rose to the occasion with his raw power, precision, and the joy he always had when sitting behind the drum kit.
In my mind, that was Taylor Hawkins. He was joy.
Even though people love to use the words interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between happiness and joy. While happiness is something one chases, joy is a state of mind. Taylor Hawkins, in all his rockstar glory, just exuded joy. I only hope to show that joy in all that I do - both work and play.
That’s the lesson I’ll take from Taylor Hawkins – in everything you do, find the joy. I'm not sure there's a better compliment that can be given to a person than to say they freely gave joy to others.
Later in the song referenced above, the lyrics continue, “one of these days, I bet your heart’ll be broken.”
Today is one of those days, but I’ll forever embrace his legacy of unabashed joy. My hero has left the stage for the final time, but his joy will remain forever.
Prayers, light, and love to the family of Taylor Hawkins and every single life he touched through his interminable gifts – both musically and as a human.