Hawkins to Cobain: Tragedy, 28 Years Later


Ashley Ragone

On March 25, 2022, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins passed away following an overdose in the middle of the band’s tour. On April 5, 1994, Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Dave Grohl, a member in both bands and close friend of both has suffered indescribable loss in the last few months and more attention needs to be brought to the mental health issues and drug use that has unfortunately come with the territory of musicianship.

Nirvana, a rock band formed by Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, came to mainstream fame in the 1990s for many well-known hits such as Smells Like Teen Spirit and All Apologies. They didn’t shy away from controversial topics such as sexual assault and toxic masculinity. They advocated for minorities, and Cobain was known for testing media expectations especially when he wore a dress for several performances. Dave Grohl was the main drummer for the band, and has been very candid about his experiences with the group. It was only recently that he felt comfortable playing their old songs, as it was hard for him following the tragedy of Cobain. Cobain had publicly struggled with drug use before, having gone to rehab shortly before he took his life. Cobain had gone missing two days before his death, and his death at home in Washington was always the subject of conspiracy revolving around his wife’s potential involvement. In his 2021 memoir The Storyteller: Tales of a Life and Music he has said that he “…was afraid to open up that much, and I finally locked the door and spent two days letting it all out.”

Fast forward from the book’s publication to the beginning of the Foo Fighters tour, where they had just started their shows in South America and played a big musical festival in Argentina. The band had many dates lined up, with many award show appearances to come. The Grammys, which aired on April 3, was supposed to have a performance from the band. Instead, The Grammys hosted a tribute during their In Memoriam service for the late drummer. Taylor Hawkins died while in their hotel in Colombia, having had chest pains earlier but had passed already due to a drug overdose when emergency health workers showed up. His autopsy listed over ten different drugs that were in his system at the time of his death, and it was reported that the pure weight of his heart was far above the average man’s. Fans everywhere were devastated by his death, and in order to grieve the Foo Fighters canceled all of their upcoming tour dates/appearances. Dave Grohl has experienced unimaginable grief between Cobain and Hawkins, these incidents bringing to light the need for open conversation about the dangerous activities surrounding the rock lifestyle; drug use and mental health, despite recent progress, needs to be destigmatized still.


substances in system