Lessons On Grieving As A Fan

Taylor Hawkins (1972 – 2022)

April 1, 2022

Last Friday, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died suddenly.

I’ve been beside myself ever since. Just gutted.

I’m not quite can’t-get-out-of-bed depressed, but definitely waking-up-puffy-eyed-from-crying-myself-to-sleep sad. I’ve had to get creative with my makeup application this week.

Within five minutes of meeting me, everyone learns two things:

1) My favourite band of all time is the Smashing Pumpkins
2) followed very closely by Foo Fighters.

I’ve seen these two bands perform live a combined 60 times. That’s not a typo.

Full disclosure: I became a massage therapist in no small part because I wanted a job where I could listen to music all day. In massage therapy school, people would often ask what we wanted to do when we graduated. My classmates had aspirations of running clinics and working with sports teams.

“I’m going on tour with Foo Fighters as the band’s massage therapist!” I would tell people. That never happened, but a girl can dream.

Me in massage therapy school, donning a Smashing Pumpkins shirt, matching toque, and Foo Fighters wristband

Grieving the death of a musician as a fan is a special kind of pain. It’s not necessarily easier or harder than losing a friend or family member, but it’s certainly different.

I’m no expert on grief. I’m just a human with a human brain who’s currently sad. These are some of the lessons I’m learning…

Fandom is a lifestyle, not a hobby.

First, a bit of an explanation…

When you’re a hardcore megafan of a band, it can become almost cult-like… almost.

We fans eat, sleep, and breathe our favourite bands. Even if we don’t listen to them every day, we’ve weaved them into our daily lives.

We name our pets and kids after the band members. We set their photos as the desktop on our phones and computers. We use their song titles as our passwords to literally everything. I’m confident I could hack into the bank account of every Smashing Pumpkins fan out there.

We forge friendships based solely on our mutual love of our favourite bands. I have my Foo Friends and my loyal troupe of Pumpkinheads and Sad Machines (the nicknames for Smashing Pumpkins fans, although I’ve always thought we should be called the Pumpkin Patch).

We wait in line for hours with our fellow fans to hopefully get a photo or autograph, we take road trips to see them perform in different cities, we stalk their tour bus together, and we plan our vacations around their tour schedule.

Some of us even permanently brand their logos and album covers on our bodies.

Tattoo by Lila Way / Photo by Jade Maravillas

We use our fandom as a means of connecting with others. I couldn’t tell you the names of my former coworkers’ partners or children, but you’d best believe I can recite all of their favourite bands.

To megafans, the bandmates begin to feel like family members, and our fellow fans are our brethren.

Fanatics, man. We’re a special bunch. We’re a part of something that’s bigger than ourselves. Many people feel this way about religion (or sports, I’m told).

I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t healthy. But I’m far too invested to turn back now!

Grief is a communal experience.

When a famous musician dies, you grieve alongside millions. While I don’t wish my pain on others, there’s something morbidly comforting about knowing people all over the world were crying with me when the news broke on Friday night.

You don’t get that kind of global camaraderie when you lose someone who isn’t famous. There’s something beautiful and unique about grieving as a fan—a connectivity that transcends borders.

Grief can be an intensely isolating experience. When you’re grieving, it feels like the world around you keeps turning when yours has come to a standstill. You’re not alone when you’re a fan.

You never know what people are going through.

I’ve been in a gloomy haze since hearing the news last Friday night. It’s all I can think about.

But the people I’ve been interacting with? The neighbours I pass on the street, the folks at the gym (my 20-something-year-old personal trainer miraculously hadn’t heard the news), the contractors who are repairing my floor as I write this… They have no sense of the pain I’m in.

And I them.

My grief is uniquely mine and people have no idea what I’m going through unless I tell them. The same goes for all of us. You honestly never know what someone else’s lived experience is.

I try to remind myself of this whenever I see someone acting like a jerk. Maybe they’re just hurting.

Grief is inescapable.

When you visit my Parkdale home massage studio, you’re invited into my world. My home is a miniature Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, only it’s exclusively dedicated to mid-90s alternative rock.

First, you’ll be greeted by my cat, Dave Grohl. Yes, that is his real name.

Dave Grohl aka My Beloved Chonkers

Next, you’ll see the photo of me with Foo Fighters that’s hanging proudly in my foyer. I camped out overnight on Yonge Street and skipped my university convocation ceremony for that photo opportunity. No regrets.

Dave Grohl said I got all dolled up!
(That’s Taylor Hawkins in the yellow shirt)

You’ll then walk past the shrine of autographed Foo Fighters memorabilia alongside my unreasonably large CD collection.

Yes, I still buy CDs.
Photo: Teri G

Finally, you’ll receive a massage while I play my No Pan Flute playlist, which features the prettiest Foo Fighters songs.

All of this makes grieving a beloved musician that much harder. There isn’t a single room in my home that’s devoid of Foo. I’m reminded of them at every turn and it hurts like hell.

Grief doesn’t need to be earned.

I’ve met Foo Fighters several times, but I don’t really know them, and they certainly don’t know me. Dave Grohl doesn’t know my favourite band is the Pumpkins. (Rude!)

Who am I to cry this hard over Taylor’s death, and for this long? I’m just a silly little fangirl. I don’t deserve condolences.

Grief can feel like a pie. There’s only so much to go around, and I haven’t earned a slice.

As it turns out, you don’t need to know a person to feel a profound sense of loss. Every Harry Potter fan knows what it’s like to sob over the death of a fictional character.

And you don’t need someone to love you back in order to love them fiercely. Anyone with cats knows this.

Grief isn’t a pie. Grief is an ocean. There’s room for everyone, it comes in waves, and it will drown you if you let it.

If you’re feeling sad right now, come swim with me. We can help keep each other afloat.

Grief is irrational.

I probably shouldn’t feel the way I’m feeling right now. There’s no logical reason why Taylor’s passing has impacted me more heavily than losing some of my relatives—people who actually knew and loved me.

But grief isn’t rational. It doesn’t always make sense. I don’t create the rules; I just feel them.

Parents love to tell us non-parents that they never truly knew love until they had children. I believe that. Evolutionary biology dictates you have to love your children in order to further the species.

I see no evolutionary benefit to me obsessing over my favourite bands. I’m not saying my love of the Foos is more pure or genuine… but I’m not not saying that either.

See? Irrational!

Some people won’t get it (and that’s ok).

When you lose one of your favourite musicians, you may expect to hear from certain people in your life, like your best friends and closest family members.

Some of the people who know you best won’t say anything. You may never know why. Maybe they didn’t think you’d be this upset. Maybe they have their own stuff going on in their lives and they’re waiting for you to check in on them. Remember what I said earlier about never knowing what other people are going through?

Plenty of people will think you’re overreacting. (Not me; I get you. Cry your tears, girl.)

Almost Famous: Mandatory viewing for all music fans

I say this not to make anyone feel guilty. Death is complex and difficult and I won’t fault anyone for not wanting to talk about it, or talk to me when I’m a blubbering mess.

Unmet expectations are a huge source of unnecessary suffering, and this is something I’ve been actively working on releasing in recent years.

Fun fact: My New Year’s resolution in 2020 was to let go of expectations. Well played, 2020. Well played.

We megafans are cut from a different cloth. We’re downright WEIRD. Some people will never understand us, and that’s ok. You have to let people not get it. To be honest, I’m perplexed by people who don’t have a favourite band. What do they do with their time?

On the flipside…


Some people will surprise you.

When the news broke on Friday night that Taylor died suddenly while on tour, my phone erupted—phone calls, voice notes, broken-heart emojis, private messages from every communication app I have on my phone… all within minutes.

The recurring theme? You’re the first person I thought of.
My interpretation? I see you.

That sentiment gets me teary-eyed even now.

In the following days, I continued to receive more texts and emails from friends who were learning the news. People were genuinely concerned about my wellbeing. Some checked in multiple days in a row.

I even heard from my clients. Imagine hearing about the death of a rock star and thinking, “I hope my massage therapist is ok.”

I received messages from some of the unlikeliest people—my old boss from HMV 20 years ago, coworkers from my record label days, former classmates and colleagues, internet friends I’ve still never met in person, my business coach who shared a heartfelt piano rendition of their hit “Everlong,” and a whole host of people who don’t know me all that well.

Even my anatomy instructor from massage therapy school sent her condolences. That one still gets me. (Love you, lady.)

My anatomy binders from massage therapy school, both featuring Dave Grohl

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this understood. It’s normal for people to have consoled me like this when my dad died. But a rock star? The drummer of my second favourite band?

I mean, how lucky am I?


You are memorable.

When you’re a fan of a band, especially one of the biggest bands in the world like the Foos, it’s easy to feel invisible. This band is my everything, but to them I’m just a face in a crowd, a stranger in a sea of millions.

No matter how many times I’ve met them, or how hard I hope for a glimmer of recognition from the band, I’m ultimately just some random fangirl who plastered her suburban childhood bedroom with their posters and never grew up. I call this experience the Insignificance Complex.

Behold! My childhood bedroom in all its glory!

What I’ve learned is that fandom makes you memorable.

Do you have a favourite band that you talk about ad nauseam to anyone who will listen?

There are people out there who think of you every time they hear a song or read a headline about that band. It could be old friends and partners, former coworkers and teachers, and even someone you casually met at a party because you were wearing a band shirt.

You pop into people’s heads more often than you’ll ever know, and that belief feels better than feeling small.


Grief is currency.

Grief is the price we pay for loving someone or something. If you’re grieving, it means you’re loving, which means you’re living.

Grief is a hefty price tag, but it’s an investment I’ll continue to make, because the return is massive.

I like to think Taylor would be ok with it all. If someone pulled him aside when he was a kid and told him he would get to spend his life touring the world, playing music with his best friends, and meeting all of his idols, but the catch is that it would end shortly after his 50th birthday… he’d be all in.

“Bring it fucking on!” he’d exclaim. After all, he was ultimately a 50-year-old fangirl.

Taylor loved music just like we love music. And what’s better than love? Nothing, that’s what.


So, what do we do now?

We grieve. We remember. We pay tribute. We connect. We create (I write).

Eventually, we smile. We reach the point where the joy of listening to their songs outweighs the pain.

And then we do it all over again when the next one dies.

Bring it. Fucking. On.

##

“I walk through this crazy life of a musician like a little boy in a museum, surrounded by the exhibits I’ve spent a lifetime studying. And when I finally come face to face with someone who has inspired me along the way, I am thankful, I am grateful, and I take none of it for granted.

I’m a firm believer in the shared humanity of music—something that I find more rewarding than any other aspect of what I do. When the one-dimensional image becomes a living, breathing, three-dimensional human being, it fills your soul with reassurance that even our most cherished heroes are flesh and bone.

I believe that people are inspired by people. That’s why I feel the need to connect with my fans when they approach me. I’m a fan, too.”

– Dave Grohl, The Storyteller

Comments

  1. I loved this, Nicki! Thank you for writing it. This band is why we became friends and I’m so grateful!

      1. Absolutely love it and agree with every word.
        I couldn’t get my head around how sad I was feeling about someone dying that I have never met. I was sad at the thought it being the end of the Foo’s, still not sure how Dave will come back from this.
        I have so many life changing memories of watching my favourite band.
        Thank you for sharing this will us. Take care xx

        1. Author

          Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad this resonated with you. You’re definitely not alone in your sadness.

          1. I love this and to other’s who don’t understand people like us to me aren’t passionate probably about anything?! We will all grieve as long as it takes and pray for Taylor’s family, friends, the band and of course Dave!!! Your well written and can’t wait to read more soon so rock on and let the tears flow when needed girl as will I your fellow Fo follower!!!❤

          2. Author

            Thanks so much. I cried every day for two weeks, but now I’m slowly crawling out of my pit of despair. It’s nice to feel seen and understood, if only by strangers.

        2. I had the same thoughts. What will become of Foo? What will the next incarnation be? The Grammy’s tomorrow, (if) when they win, who will be there? I know Violet sang for the Joni Mitchell honor the other night, and her mother & sister were there. When will we see the guys?

          1. Author

            It’s all speculation at this point. I’m confident the band will take the time they need to grieve and make the best choices for them. It hurts to know I won’t be seeing them this summer, but I’m more concerned about the band taking care of themselves and each other.

          2. Thank you Nicki! I am 48 years old, and a single mom. You had better believe that I have been grieving HARD! I have never met Taylor or any of the other Foo Fighters, but watching them interviewed and listening to their music over the years has made me truly love them and consider them family. I wasn’t able to eat for days after I heard. It’s nice to hear from someone who understands. Your article is so appreciated.

          3. Author

            I’m so sorry you’re hurting right now. You’re definitely not alone. Here’s hoping the pain subsides and you get back to eating again soon.

      2. There are others (like me) who were never big fans, we knew a few songs. Life went on, then I heard the drummer of the Foo Fighters died. I read an article and saw his face, his smile, his eyes alight with a joy that was hard to miss. To see his excitement, to hear it in interviews. To see the brotherhood between he and Dave Grohl…my heart broke for the loss that all who loved him felt, his family, his wife, kids, friends, bandmates and his many fans. While my being a fan is newborn I grieve alongside you all. I pray he sees and feels all the love

      3. This was a wonderful read. It helped capture what I’ve been unable to explain and why I’ve been so sad. I don’t know the Foo Fighter’s personally. I’m just a fan. A fan whose favorite #1 band is Foo! When I posted on social media about Taylor, friends, co-workers past and present commented that they thought of me when they heard the news. And in some small way it was comforting to know people were thinking of me, even as I was struggling to understand my grief. Thank you for your words and kindness from one fan girl to another.

        1. Author

          It is comforting to know people are thinking of us. It means they love us. Hang in there, Foo friend.

    1. Nicki, thank you for such a great analysis of what so many of us feeling! 2 Friday nights ago I landed in San Diego to visit my kids. As my phone cycled off airplane mode I saw 2 texts from them. They said call as soon as you get off the plane. I called my son immediately. I sensed something was up when he said once you get off the plane call us back. As I ended the call, the next text that popped up was from a friend sharing the Foo Fighters tweet about Taylor Hawkins. My kids didn’t want to break the news while I was stuck on a plane with hundreds of strangers. I suppose they figured I might be visably shaken with no escape. I was. My next text to them was “are you guys ok? I’m so sorry.” Many of the thoughts you shared went through my mind. I was irrationally saddened by the death of a stranger. I was worried about his family, friends and fans, but most of all I was worried about Dave and the band, more people I don’t know.

      Death is permanent. We all know this, but we forget what this really means until we lose someone and are punched in the gut with the true meaning of “NEVER AGAIN”.

      You have summed up what I have never been able to! Music is a drug and I’m addicted. I feel sorry for those who don’t get it and I feel like family with those who do. Thanks for boiling it down cuz!

      If music is your drug, it helps you celebrate, grieve and heal. My wife, Kristina, died 4 years ago after a long struggle with cystic fibrosis. 10 of those years were made possible because she had a double lung transplant in 2008. My kids and I were crushed and music saved us. I literally don’t know what we would have done without it.

      Our last Christmas gift from Kristina was tickets to see the Foo Fighters near our home in South Florida. A few months after she passed away we went to that show without her. We felt the love from the band and the fans wash over us in waves. It helped us grieve.

      At her celebration of life after several beers and much talk of how short life is, a friend from Portland said guess where the Foo Fighters are playing this summer? A few more beers and an hour later we had 3 flights to the Pacific Northwest and tickets to the show. The excitement of the trip numbed the pain and the electricity of the show cauterized our wounds. We’ve seen them multiple times since then. It’s our medicine. We have a fever and the only prescription is more cow- BELL. We were front row at their Shaky Knees show in Atlanta in October. 54 year old men don’t usually get in line at 10 am to see a band play at 8 pm, but the aches and pains of being an old fucker go away once the band runs on stage. I even made a sign for the occasion, ” chug one with me and my daughter/congrats Foos, see ya in Cleveland!”. They didn’t see my sign and they didn’t see me in Cleveland, but I saw them as Sir Paul inducted them to the Rock Hall. I thought of my wife and how much she would have loved seeing this in the town where our babies were born and where we saw the Foos for the first time on the Nautica stage with a mere 2,000 other people, more than 2 decades before. I felt her presence and missed her a little less for those few moments.

      Last weekend I felt the shock and sadness of loss for one of the people that unknowingly helped me and my kids through so many hard times. Thank you Taylor for giving so much to so many. You’ll always be in our hearts.

  2. This! All the emotions this week that I’m going through and can’t understand, you’ve mapped it out. Thank you ❤️

    1. Author

      I’m so glad this resonated with you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I understand you.

  3. This is the first thing I’ve read that explains the grief we’ve been feeling for the past week but also explores why. Thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts and feelings out there to help us through this dark time. You are right that we draw comfort from others who are sharing the same pain. I believe that by sharing our thoughts and feelings with other grieving fans, we also help one another bear the weight of the pain.

    1. Author

      What a beautiful sentiment. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words.

  4. I feel you! My wife and myself, eventhough we have different music tastes we both coincide in LOVING the Foo (I love the Smashing Pumpkins too, but The Foo are my all time favorite). Our 2 kids also like The Foo and we were planning on taking them on their first Foo concert this summer. Sadly, tragedy happened and even though my 7 year old doesn’t know that Taylor passed away, I can totally see him wearing a t-shirt of him when he is a teenager, same as me with Kurt Cobain.

    I think one of the biggest attributes that the Foo has tabby to the world is that being cool 😎 doesn’t mean you need to be an asshole as so many other rock bands. That’s what I try to teach my kids.

    All the best

    1. Author

      That’s a wonderful lesson to teach your kids. I’m so sorry you won’t be able to take them to see the Foos this summer. It’s a loss for so many.

  5. This 100% resonates with me right now – all of it – very well said ❤️
    I probably shouldn’t feel the way I’m feeling right now. There’s no logical reason why Taylor’s passing has impacted me more heavily than losing some of my relatives—people who actually knew and loved me.

    But grief isn’t rational. It doesn’t always make sense. I don’t create the rules; I just feel them.
    💔🥁💔

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so glad this resonated with you.

  6. Thank you. Even my husband can’t understand my grief over Taylor passing. But I feel like you do. I never got to see the Foo Fighters live, but I have followed Taylor since seeing him with Alanis in 1996. I remember being right up against the stage and just being absolutely mesmerized watching him play. I don’t even think I heard Alanis sing…but I heard every single beat, and it touched my soul. I was a little on the fence about how I felt about the Foo Fighters at first, I was a pretty hard core Nirvana fan and just wasn’t sure I was ready for Dave to move on…but I followed Taylor to them and they have been my #1 band since. This one hurts…this one hurts more than Kurt’s passing. And now one of my biggest regrets will always be never getting to see them live.

    1. Author

      That’s so incredible that you got to see him drum for Alanis! Please tell me you saw the recent Alanis documentary on HBO. There’s so much incredible archival footage.

      Hang in there.

  7. Thank you for this Nicki, this is just what I needed to read.
    Especially the part that maybe Taylor would be ok with it all – that made me smile while thinking of him, and I haven’t done that in a while without tearing up!

    It’s comforting to know I’m not alone with the strange feelings I’m having at the moment – to miss someone you’ve never met but miss them even more now they’re gone is a strange concept to grasp!

    I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to listen to the Foos or read an article about Taylor without an overwhelming sadness…. One of these day’s, I bet my heart won’t be broken…. x

    1. Author

      One of these days we’ll both get there. Today is not one of those days, but soon.

      1. Thank you for writing this and sharing this with us Nicki. Foo Fighters are my favourite band. I also have not been able to think of much else. Grief is a very complex emotion. At the moment when I listen to Foos songs, I will just sit and cry.

        I see by your posters in your room you liked Nirvana too, I love them also. Bare in mind I didn’t start listening to them until I was 14, by that time Kurt had already died, 11 years before.
        My two children enjoy listening to The Foos and I will tell them the stories of Nirvana and Foos, Kurt and Taylor.
        It’s so overwhelming and sad right now, I never got an opportunity to actually meet Foos so you’re very lucky 🙂

        1. Author

          I do love Nirvana, but (unpopular opinion) I prefer the Foos! I haven’t been able to listen to them since Taylor died. One day…

  8. Thank you so much for this. I have been beside myself and full on experiencing the stages of grief. I’ve been a full on fangirl since 1996/1997 and my first concert after cancer surgery in 2006 was foo – I could hardly hold my head up.

    It is the first thing I think of when I wake and the last before I sleep and even during work. It’s awful. This has never happened – not even when David Bowie died.

    Thanks for letting me know it’s OK.

    1. Author

      It’s perfectly ok. I’m with you on all of it. I’m so glad you got to see them live.

  9. I have been trying to make sense of why this hurts so bad. The Foos have been apart of my life since I was around 5 years old. In my 21st year that deep connection to the music and to them only grows. And then I remember it’s not only the music that I love so much about them, about Taylor. It’s the memories I have attached to it. Vivid memories of me jamming every day in the car as my mom played the In Your Honor CD on my way home from elementary school. It’s the feeling of utter fucking happiness I felt when I finally saw them live for the first and only time on my 17th birthday. Shit is life altering and there’s absolutely nothing like it. It’s such a blessing for humans to be able to connect to another human through music. Musicians put their heart and soul into what they love to do, and we, as fans and admirers, deem their music as the soundtrack to our lives. Taylor will forever be on mine. The Foos will FOREVER be on mine. We know all too well that this pain won’t dissipate any time soon or ever, but I have hope that one day the music will inspire other people when I play them in my car on a road trip. Taylor would’ve fucking loved that. Take care of yourself foo fans. Let their music heal you. Let it hold you so tight. He’ll live on through all of us.

    1. My kids, too, grew up with crazy Foo mom. I’m so glad I got them to a couple concerts, and can say in perfect mom voice, “You will thank me for having brought you up properly!” As their music brought everyone joy in good times, you’re right, now it will bring us peace so we can heal.

      1. Author

        Coolest mom ever! Your kids are lucky to have shared these experiences with you.

  10. Thank you for writing this. EXACTLY how I have been feeling. The Foos are and have been my #1 band. You’re right in that others don’t quite get the fanfeels, in good times or like now. You’re awesome for taking the time to express all the feels and share. Times like these…..

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I’m so glad to hear it resonated with you. I already feel less alone just by reading all these comments. I think YOU’RE awesome!

      1. I don’t know you Nicki but this makes me feel like I do!! Thank you for putting our collective feelings so beautifully out there. I’ve been associated with the Foos so long( they are my #1) that I too was lucky to have a lot of people in my life also reach out to me. My license plate is D-Grohl (I’ve had it since the Walk video) & when I park places, strangers have even stopped me. Love, love, love seeing your pictures & hearing your story too!

        1. Author

          I would totally stop you if I saw your license plate! That’s so rad. Keep spreading the Foo love everywhere you drive.

  11. I feel like I could have wrote this except replace Smashing Pumpkins with Soundgarden. They were and always will be my #1 but Foo was my constant. When the news broke last week I burst into tears. My husband wasn’t home when Chris Cornell died. I had to explain I was like this but 10x worse with Chris

    1. Author

      I loved Soundgarden, too. I was travelling when I heard the news about Chris Cornell and I had no one to grieve with. That’s when turning to the internet can really help. Hang in there.

  12. This was amazing. So amazing in fact that I copied a piece of it to send to my son.

    “Grief isn’t a pie. Grief is an ocean. There’s room for everyone, it comes in waves, and it will drown you if you let it.

    If you’re feeling sad right now, come swim with me. We can help keep each other afloat”

    This is so beautiful. Foos got me through a 6 week bedrest, my mother dying, my husband in the hospital, my husband and I’s separation. And a million days in between. As a 51 year old they have been a constant my entire adult life. The 6 week bed rest? That kid will be 21 next month. We have seen the FF all over the country, they are our “family” band and my son was the one who called me from school last Friday night at 11. I thought something happened to him. As soon as he told me, I burst into tears and told him I had to go. All week we have been texting old interviews and clips back and forth in our family group chat. I can’t make sense of it still.

    It is comforting and lovely to know that we are not alone. My hope is that his wife and children see that their husband and daddy was adored. My heart goes out to them and of course, our beloved Foo Fighters and their families. Sunshine and light. That’s how I describe Taylor.

    Thank you for sharing this. We’ll go on stronger and better. Because that’s what FooFamily does.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. What a beautiful bond you have with your son. He’s lucky to have you.

  13. Firstly, your words “Grief is an ocean. There’s room for everyone, it comes in waves, and it will drown you if you let it. If you’re feeling sad right now, come swim with me. We can help keep each other afloat” – if I haven’t cried before, I certainly have now. Our favourite bands (and their songs) are in our minds at some of our most personal moments. Their music speaks to us. It’s in our minds like they can hear our inner most thoughts. Not many people in our lives know us that well!!! We also like to follow what is happening in their lives… after all, they are always in ours.
    We share their happiness and we are hurt with their sorrow. They just don’t know it. On top of that, they are our idols/hero’s. They are supposed to be immortal. I think their death just reminds us that they’re not the gods that we thought and puts our own mortality to question.
    Thank you for your post, it is beautifully written. I can feel your pain in your words. I hope that if your ocean gets rough that there is a lighthouse nearby to guide you to calmer waters.

    RIP Tayor, knowing you will forever live in our speakers. 🥁🤘🎶

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

  14. Thank you.

    It’s so comforting to read something so honest and personal.

    Completely understand, if you swap out Smashing Pumpkins for Linkin Park, it’s me.

    Sending you my love from the UK x

    1. Author

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I know a lot of fans are still hurting over Chester. Sending you love right back from Toronto.

  15. I just want to say, this made me feel seen. It’s comforting to know that someone feels the same as I do. I’ve never met the Foo Fighters, but I have loved them for 26 years. I first saw them in 1998, and last saw them in 2018, 7 times in all. Their music has been the background to my adult life. Dave Ghrol has always been my ‘hall pass’. I’m so sad I will never see them play together again, I was looking forward to seeing them at the end of the year. I’m so sad for Dave and the rest of the band. They’ve spent more time with each other over the last 20+ years than with anyone else. Their grief must be huge. I’m not sure I’ll be able to not feel devastated by this for a long time to come. Fly high Taylor.

    1. Author

      I’m feeling a lot of the same feelings right now. My heart aches for the band and for Taylor’s family and friends. I’m grateful I got to see them as many times as I did. We’ll always have that.

  16. Oh Nicki, I was just gutted to hear of the news, and did think of you. While I may not understand the depth of your grief, I certainly am a little closer to that understanding now. Thank you for sharing your passion and pain as well as your childhood bedroom with us all.

    You write so expressively, so full of passion. I truly hope writing this was a form of catharsis for you. I’m sure both Taylor, Dave, and the other band members would be grateful for this beautiful tribute. Rock On!

    1. Author

      Oh, Bridget. Thank you so much. I’ll be ok… eventually. Thank you for putting up with my drama!

  17. This really made me think ‘yes someone gets me’ I think I have been in a state of shock this last week. Still can’t quite believe it or maybe I don’t want to believe it.
    I feel like part of me is missing and that sounds weird as I did not know Taylor but have been a foos fan from
    day dot and remember gushing over Taylor when he was Alanis’s drummer.
    Loved how he loved Queen (am from the Uk) and whenever I saw them he would do his bit with that big grin on his beautiful face.
    You encapsulated exactly how we all feel so thank you 💕

    1. Author

      I get you! I’m still in shock, too. I need to keep reminding myself that I won’t be seeing them this summer like I had planned. I love that he played Queen in the UK (and everywhere). I felt the same when he played Rush here in Toronto. He was the ultimate music fan and his big grin will be missed by many.

  18. Thank you so much for writing this, Nicki! The Foos are my favourite band and I’ve just been so sad all week and can’t stop playing their music, watching videos…I even started watching “Sonic Highways” again on YouTube! I was hoping to see them live again this summer, and it’s just heartbreaking to know that won’t happen and to wonder what the future holds for them. At the same time, like so many others who have commented here, I’ve felt strange about being upset (even though they’re my favourite band!) about someone that I’ve never met and who didn’t know me. It really speaks to the importance of these artists and their influence on our lives, I guess.

    At any rate, I just wanted to say thank you and let you know that this offered me some comfort and a smile. I’ve been thinking that as sad as it is for Taylor to have died so young and so suddenly, he must have loved the amazing life he led. I hope he knew how much everyone loved and respected him!

  19. Thank you so much for writing this, Nicki! The Foos are my favourite band and I’ve just been so sad all week and can’t stop playing their music, watching videos…I even started watching “Sonic Highways” again on YouTube! I was hoping to see them live again in Toronto this summer, and it’s just heartbreaking to know that won’t happen and to wonder what the future holds for them. At the same time, like so many others who have commented here, I’ve felt strange about being upset (even though they’re my favourite band!) about someone that I’ve never met and who didn’t know me. It really speaks to the importance of these artists and their influence on our lives, I guess.

    At any rate, I just wanted to say thank you and let you know that this offered me some comfort and a smile. I’ve been thinking that as sad as it is for Taylor to have died so young and so suddenly, he must have loved the amazing life he led. I hope he knew how much everyone loved and respected him!

    1. Author

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I had tickets for Toronto this July, and it hurts to know that show won’t be happening. I’m sure Taylor felt the love. We Foo fans are a rowdy bunch!

  20. Well said! Social media has meant we’ve been able to connect globally in our shared grief.

    1. Author

      One of the perks of the internet for sure. I’ve been getting messages from fans from all around the world!

    2. Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been wondering many of the same things that you have since Taylor died – why am I so upset? But when you grow up with a band and the songs get you through good times and bad, they become your a bit like your compass. I first saw them in 1999 at a tiny gig in Manchester, UK and Taylor’s energy and humour just had me hooked. He was just so cool, a powerhouse behind the drums and looked like he was having the time of his life every time I saw them live.

      It’s so sad he’s gone, and probably the Foo’s with him. But what a ride.

  21. So glad I came across this post on FB. It was such a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing. You said that grief is the price we pay for loving and this just smashed my tuning fork. I’m not nearly the Foo fan you are but I am indeed a fan, and as a drummer myself hearing about Taylor hit me in the guy harder than I thought it would. It’s hard to believe it still. As a super fan of Pearl Jam reading your post reminded me of the conversation I had with my best friend the night Taylor passed. We had a handful of beers and a brewery. Talked about the Foos, and what an awesome drummer Taylor was. Then we looked at each and we instantly knew what each other were thinking. We teared up and I said “When someone from PJ crosses over we are going to be absolutely devastated”

    The price we pay.
    I’ll continue paying just like you said.

    Thanks again
    Keep on loving with all you have

    1. Author

      I’m a Pearl Jam fan, too. I’m seeing them twice in September! I know what you mean, though. One of my first thoughts when hearing the news was that one day I’m going to have to go through this with the Pumpkins. Brace for impact.

  22. Nicki, thank you for such a great analysis of what so many of us feeling! 2 Friday nights ago I landed in San Diego to visit my kids. As my phone cycled off airplane mode I saw 2 texts from them. They said call as soon as you get off the plane. I called my son immediately. I sensed something was up when he said once you get off the plane call us back. As I ended the call, the next text that popped up was from a friend sharing the Foo Fighters tweet about Taylor Hawkins. My kids didn’t want to break the news while I was stuck on a plane with hundreds of strangers. I suppose they figured I might be visably shaken with no escape. I was. My next text to them was “are you guys ok? I’m so sorry.” Many of the thoughts you shared went through my mind. I was irrationally saddened by the death of a stranger. I was worried about his family, friends and fans, but most of all I was worried about Dave and the band, more people I don’t know.

    Death is permanent. We all know this, but we forget what this really means until we lose someone and are punched in the gut with the true meaning of “NEVER AGAIN”.

    You have summed up what I have never been able to! Music is a drug and I’m addicted. I feel sorry for those who don’t get it and I feel like family with those who do. Thanks for boiling it down cuz!

    If music is your drug, it helps you celebrate, grieve and heal. My wife, Kristina, died 4 years ago after a long struggle with cystic fibrosis. 10 of those years were made possible because she had a double lung transplant in 2008. My kids and I were crushed and music saved us. I literally don’t know what we would have done without it.

    Our last Christmas gift from Kristina was tickets to see the Foo Fighters near our home in South Florida. A few months after she passed away we went to that show without her. We felt the love from the band and the fans wash over us in waves. It helped us grieve.

    At her celebration of life after several beers and much talk of how short life is, a friend from Portland said guess where the Foo Fighters are playing this summer? A few more beers and an hour later we had 3 flights to the Pacific Northwest and tickets to the show. The excitement of the trip numbed the pain and the electricity of the show cauterized our wounds. We’ve seen them multiple times since then. It’s our medicine. We have a fever and the only prescription is more cow- BELL. We were front row at their Shaky Knees show in Atlanta in October. 54 year old men don’t usually get in line at 10 am to see a band play at 8 pm, but the aches and pains of being an old fucker go away once the band runs on stage. I even made a sign for the occasion, ” chug one with me and my daughter/congrats Foos, see ya in Cleveland!”. They didn’t see my sign and they didn’t see me in Cleveland, but I saw them as Sir Paul inducted them to the Rock Hall. I thought of my wife and how much she would have loved seeing this in the town where our babies were born and where we saw the Foos for the first time on the Nautica stage with a mere 2,000 other people, more than 2 decades before. I felt her presence and missed her a little less for those few moments.

    Last weekend I felt the shock and sadness of loss for one of the people that unknowingly helped me and my kids through so many hard times. Thank you Taylor for giving so much to so many. You’ll always be in our hearts.

    1. Author

      Oh, Paul. I’m so sorry. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can only hope that when it’s my time, people honour me by going to rock shows. What a beautiful tribute.

  23. What beautiful writing – I was not a mega fan- I loved the Foos but never saw them live. However a few months ago I watched a documentary on Dave Grohl and spotted Taylor- I was blown away by his sparkling eyes and the sunshine that radiated from him, along with the energy he gave to every performance. All the more striking as I now know how much he suffered from nerves. A beautiful soul who loved music and loved his friends and family- if we take nothing more from his passing then it should be that as a model for life. Go easy and thank you for sharing your thoughts, x

    1. Author

      It’s never too late to become a megafan! I’m curious to know which documentary you’re talking about. Do you remember the name of it?

      1. Very well said Nicki,
        I honestly didn’t know about Megafans, I see from your photos and story what one is now. I have been a Foos fan since the beginning, The Colour and the Shape was in my CD player for what seemed like forever when it came out!! I have felt like shit for this period since Taylor’s death, I’m not a Megafan , however the sense of loss and sadness for his family, band mates and fans alike has been on my mind, his smile, his passion, his friendship with Dave and presence as part of the band has left me very sad, I’m a man, not that we don’t have feelings , just tucked way back for most to not see or notice. I can’t quite put my finger on the feelings, I had a tattoo done after Chris Cornell’s passing, my son is wondering when I’ll get one for Taylor’s passing. I read the other day, “ musicians provide the soundtrack to our lives “ , I can help but think how appropriate that statement is, how helpful it may be and has been through my 50+ years, songs have taken in new meanings for me, even if I don’t know the true meaning !!

        I appreciated your writing of this grieving process, I hope you can grieve peacefully, sadly and happily for what the band has given you over the years .
        “ It’s Times Like These , We Learn To Live Again “
        Maybe one day I’ll book a massage and we can listen to some Foos at the same time😀
        Take care
        Fraser

        1. Author

          It’s not a competition. You sure do sound like a fan to me! Chris Cornell was another tough one for many—such a monstrous talent and so unexpected. I’m getting there, slowly but surely. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  24. Just watched “Count Me In” on Netflix and was reminded all over again. Well said, Nicki, all the way through.

  25. Thank you for this! It made me cry. I didn’t think anyone was like me and you captured it beautifully. My fangirl band has been Green Day since the mid 90s to this day 💚 I have always loved the Foo’s but definitely have immersed myself in all Foo things this last 6 months! You are lucky to have had them as one of your 2 favs! They are amazing! I love your pics! Hopefully I see you at the LA tribute concert! XoXO!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s heartwarming to see so many people resonate with my thoughts—even people with different favourite bands!

  26. you crushed this.
    as a pumpkins fan, and a foo fan, and a depeche mode fan, and an INXS fan, and a massive fan of the dave matthews band, i just wanna say thanks. losing someone that brings you almost indescribable levels of joy, hurts. even if they don’t even know you exist. some people will never get it and that’s fine. those of us that do, are there for one another and thats the best part of the hardest part.

    keep loving and living and listening and feeling.

    thanks again. you rock n rule.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much! I love all those bands, too. We’re a special bunch for sure.

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