In the world of music, artists often draw inspiration from their musical idols. Taylor Hawkins, the former drummer of the Foo Fighters, is known for his candidness when discussing his influences. He openly admitted to “ripping off” two legendary musicians, Roger Waters and John Lennon, on one of his tracks. Let’s delve into Hawkins’ revelations and explore how his creative journey led him to pay homage to his musical heroes.
Unleashing Creative Freedom with a Side Project
While serving as the drummer for the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins embarked on his solo venture with Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders in 2006. This project provided him with the opportunity to explore his musical influences outside the confines of the band. With no pressure to cater to fan expectations or label demands, Hawkins had the freedom to experiment and indulge in his creative instincts.
Influences from Syd Barrett and Roger Waters
During an interview with Newsquest in 2006, Hawkins discussed the inspirations behind his album. He revealed that the song “Running In Place” drew lyrical inspiration from the experiences of Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. Hawkins explained how the lyrics reflected a period of his life when he was going through a nervous breakdown, likening it to Barrett’s mental decline. He described the lyrics as “like Syd Barrett and Roger Waters.”
“‘Running In Place’ are lyrics I wrote when I was going through a nervous breakdown some time ago. It was like Syd Barrett and Roger Waters”.
“When Syd lost his wife, he began to lose his mind, and after a while, you get tunnel-vision and start to become unrealistic, so these were lyrics I wrote down to this song during that time in my life, conversating with myself, saying don’t go crazy. You finally come out of it, and after that, you end up saying goodbye to old friends and reality”.
“‘End of The Line’ is an untrusting love song, ‘Drive me Insane’ is about my wife, she drives me insane but I love her. ‘Pitiful’ is a John Lennon rip off, Roger Waters ripped off Lennon and I’ve ripped it off Roger Waters”.
Embracing Untrusting Love and Lennon-inspired Riffs
Hawkins further unveiled the influences behind other tracks on his album. “End of The Line” emerged as an untrusting love song, while “Drive me Insane” depicted the complexities of his relationship with his wife. However, it was the song “Pitiful” that Hawkins unabashedly described as a “John Lennon rip off.” He acknowledged that Roger Waters had also been inspired by Lennon’s work and stated, “Roger Waters ripped off Lennon and I’ve ripped it off Roger Waters.”
Revealing radio station KLCS in 2015, he stated:
“I learned from John Lennon and Paul McCartney and George Harrison that it was okay for us to write about our lives, and what we felt — and to express ourselves… That we could be free artists and that there was a value in that freedom. And there was”.
“Pitiful” delves into a dark period of Hawkins’ life when he was grappling with substance abuse and feelings of despair. The musician revealed, “It was a long time ago when I was abusing drugs, I was feeling weak and sorry for myself. So there’s meaning to every song.” The verses of “Pitiful” have nothing to do with the chorus, similar to Lennon’s “I Am The Walrus,” showcasing Hawkins’ use of wordplay.