Aliso Beach drum circle celebrates the life of Taylor Hawkins

Drum circle participants gathered to celebrate the life of Laguna Beach High School alumnus and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins on Thursday. Photo by Mitch Ridder.

The life of Foo Fighters drummer and Laguna Beach High School alumnus Taylor Hawkins was celebrated by about 200 people who attended a drum circle held Thursday.

KX FM radio station and Morning Show Host Ed Steinfeld organized the sunset gathering at Aliso Beach.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Hawkins as a member of Foo Fighters in 2021. Hawkins died March 25 in Bogotá, Colombia. He was 50 years old.

Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas The Washington Post reports. The family moved to Laguna Beach. During his life, Hawkins played multiple charity benefit concerts.

LBHS graduate Taylor Hawkins, drummer of the Foo Fighters, pounced on the drums and splashed in the cymbals to the delight of concert-goers.
A Bluebird Park concert in 2021 included a surprise appearance by Foo Fighters’ drummer and local boy Taylor Hawkins. Photo by Ted Reckas

In July 2012, Hawkins rocked the White House restaurant for a Mauli Oli Foundation benefit. His band Chevy Metal played a Wheels 4 Life fundraiser at the Ranch at Laguna Beach in October 2014.

Hawkins had also been involved in supporting Laguna Beach schools. He donated an autographed drumhead and a set of drumsticks, signed by him and bandmate Dave Grohl, to the SchoolPower gala auction 2019, SchoolPower executive director Sarah Durand said.

Drum circle participants gathered to celebrate the life of Laguna Beach High School alumnus and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins on Thursday. Photo by Mitch Ridder.
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  1. According to online reporting by multiple media outlets, including the LA Times on March 26th, he had a history of drug use, including a heroin overdose in 2001 that left him in a coma.
    Meanwhile, reading a lot of other media interviews it is interesting that he’s being portrayed as having some kind of positive radiating, inspirational life, a great loving dude…..couldn’t his disposition have been due to the gamut of drugs he must have constantly been under the influence of?
    He claimed back in 2019 (interview in KERRANG! Magazine) to have survived and used that 2001 as a life changer. “I go mountain biking now.”
    My brother Richard, 2 years older than I, overdosed at 30 on a speedball injection (heroin & cocaine) back in 1974 or 1975. He was supposed to be babysitting my high school aged younger brother & sister while my parents went to a movie.
    They came home to find him on the bathroom floor, dead.
    Neil Young sang that “Every junkie’s just setting sun.” (The Needle & The Damage Done”)
    This SHOULD be a lesson for locals, musicians and music fans, but glorifying, praising him sends the wrong message.
    Lifting him up as some classic local surf dude avoids the hard truth: Maybe starting in high school, maybe when he began his musical career, he succumbed to the temptations and the damage that drugs rain down on relatives, personal family and business associates.
    I don’t pity him, I was in a band for about 6 years, right after I got out of the Marines, but saw the horror show, the rabbit hole hard drugs led too…culminating in my own brother’s death.
    This guy danced with death and lost.
    Deal with it, but don’t admire or act grateful.
    Wake up people!

  2. Roger, I am so sorry you feel that way. He was a person who had positive effects on many. How very inappropriate to make such assumptions with so little knowledge. I was always taught that if you can’t say something nice, it’s best to remain silent. I choose to remember him as the darling little boy who introduced himself to me with his precious Texas accent. As stated above you obviously know nothing about him.

  3. Don’t be sorry Ellen, you & Mike raised 2 great sons during the same period that Taylor went through our local school system. I know 2 others, Russ & Raella Hill + John & Lynn Chaldu. Like you their progeny turned out to be conscientious contributors to society, are stellar examples that prove kids CAN be raised in a surf town with easy access to drugs but chose the better path.
    Ultimately, it’s the individual’s choice, blaming society or making them victims ignores individual responsibility and accountability. That’s as delusional as drug addiction.
    But frankly, instead of reading what I wrote, you chose to dote on that “darling little boy” instead of what he was for several decades: A drug addict. Like my brother Richard (who was probably a darling little boy too), who let drugs take over his life beginning at 15 where we grew up in the LA Harbor Area (Wilmington).
    We were surrounded by a criminal and drug culture, Richard embraced rather than rejected it as I and my other 4 siblings did—–Estranged from his wife, he OD leaving 2 sons and daughter. Healing took us years, really took its toll on my folks.
    So for all of the pleasant, peaceful and bluntly stress free and fun atmosphere of Laguna, Taylor chose a similar path. I grew up hearing gunshots in the night, here in Laguna it’s the sound of big surf.
    Why he continued, knowing he’d leave behind a loving family and friends tells you just how selfish drug addicts are.
    It’s silence that is this type of person’s best friend: His death should be taken as a lesson, not be used for that “if you can’t say something nice” tired trope.
    And alleging that a drug addict had positive effects when his life was a lie? Like I wrote, how much was him, and how much the drugs? Do you know?
    Did you know he used hard drugs and neither said or did anything, or did those around him know? If drug addiction is really a plea, a cry for help, how is it possible that no one heard his call?
    What’s inappropriate is a society that refuses to to face facts, we’re a culture awash in drugs, have been for may years, their availability unbridled.
    How many other parents went through and continue to deal with the fallout of addiction as it has cascaded through their families?
    Facts don’t cease to exist because you ignore them. Nostalgia, mindless adulation don’t move the adverse and destructive societal needles: He obviously liked to avoid or escape reality.
    Ignoring the negative aspect of his death is a form of denial where a teachable moment is in full view.

  4. Oh Roger, Surprised by someone like you whom is so intelligent to recognize that people whom are challenged by addiction should not be regarded for their success’s and talents. You do not know Taylor yet you have condemned him too unworthy of admiration. I am sad you know nothing about the brain and addiction, the pressure to live up to a standard set by others,but continue on with what he was meant to do..does mean something. My children, knew him, sang with him, played music with him, he had the ultimate sweet disposition that drew people to him..he was gifted..never disregard your fellow man, no matter what vices he may have had. Addiction is a disease, normally held in genes and through the family, mostly very talented and creative people are affected, they have so much to offer and are so very loved by others..please don’t dismiss these angels that are sent for us to learn from..

  5. Barbara Rathbun, what a measured and eloquent response. You really nailed it with “he had the ultimate sweet disposition that drew people to him…” Like you, I believe this was his true nature; not one brought on because he was under the influence. What nonsense! So many of us can’t be wrong about that. This is why so many people around the world from varying walks of life mourn his passing and appreciate all that he left behind. I hope his family can take some comfort from that.

  6. I know nothing about Taylor, but I was a professional drummer, albeit not a hard rock drummer like Taylor. I grew up in Laguna a generation earlier. If I know anything, playing drums is a physical act, unlike any other instrument. Take a tap dancer and mix with a passionate conductor and an aggressive piano player, and you begin to get the idea. Taylor was a hard-hitting drummer. I can only imagine the physical difficulties he dealt with while touring for 30 years with another groundbreaking drummer who transformed into a singer, Dave Grohl.
    For Mr. Butrow to glibly write an opinion about a fellow Lagunian with such condemnation is beyond the pale and plain mean. He knows nothing, like me, about Taylor’s difficulties in life or in drumming.


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