New York Technology helped the Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins record with two of his rock idols on his solo project, but the drummer doesn’t think much about how it has impacted the music world on the whole.
Hawkins has a disdain for current recording practices and blames it mostly on Pro Tools, the digital audio workstation software that’s used by most artists.
“It’s ruined music as far as I’m concerned, at least rock ’n’ roll,” Hawkins said. “It’s great for dance music.”
Hawkins’ latest solo release, “Red Light Fever,” is far from the disco world. The album showcases Hawkins’ 1970s rock influences. A highlight of the project for Hawkins was getting Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor to play on the record. Though they didn’t record in the same studio, they were able to collaborate by sending tracks back and forth over the Internet.
“It’s one of the only good things the computer has done for music,” he said.
It’s not the 37-year-old’s only lament about rock today. Hawkins has spent much of his summer playing the album on the road, mostly in Europe. Hawkins said overseas audiences have a special appreciation for rock that appears to have been lost in the United States.
“America is tough for rock music,” he said sadly. “Rock ’n’ roll used to be the main music for the youth, and it’s not so much anymore. It’s hip-hop and stuff.”
In Europe, his band is likely to play in larger venues.
“Rock and roll is still a stronghold there,” he said. “They seem to embrace rock ’n’ roll musicians.”
Not that Hawkins’ musical inspirations are completely rooted in rock music.
“I love Donna Summer, and I love ABBA. I love late ’70s disco. I love the Bee Gees,” he said proudly. “I just love that period of recording.”
“Red Light Fever,” released in April, is the second album from Hawkins and his band, the Coattail Riders. The album not only features Hawkins’ on drums, but also as a frontman.
“I sing and play drums pretty much the whole time,” said Hawkins, who equates his double duty to “running and making dinner at the same time.”
Hawkins is able to explore his different musical talents while the Foo Fighters are on hiatus. However, he has no desire to come out from behind his drum set once his solo project comes to an end.
“In the Foo Fighters, my main job is to be the drummer, and that’s enough,” he said.