Foo Fighters have announced that their new drummer is Josh Freese. Freese, session drummer who recently played with with the Offspring, follows in the footsteps of the band’s beloved late percussionist Taylor Hawkins, who died last year. The band revealed the news on Sunday (May 21) during their livestream Foo Fighters: Preparing Music For Concerts, a studio session recorded at the group’s 606 studios in Northridge, California.
Not including Dave Grohl, Freese is the third drummer to join Foo Fighters; before Hawkins, William Goldsmith performed on the band’s 1997 album The Colour and Shape.
The livestream opened with an extended bit where they teased that famous drummers would join the lineup. Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers (a friend of the late Hawkins) showed up to say he was being blocked in by a different car outside the studio. Tommy Lee popped in with some takeout for the band. Tool’s Danny Carey showed up to drop off some dogs he groomed for the group. The camera finally panned over to Freese, who expressed frustration that they hadn’t already started rehearsing.
Freese is a prolific session and touring drummer. As a session musician, he recently played on the new M83 and 100 gecs albums. Over the past decade, he’s contributed to new records by Lana Del Rey, Rob Zombie, Bruce Springsteen, A Perfect Circle, Sting (with Shaggy), and many more. He’s toured and recorded with Danny Elfman, was a member of Devo’s recent live lineups, and in the past, has been a member of Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, the Vandals, Weezer, and Sublime With Rome. During the livestream, Freese talked to Grohl about covering Top 40 hits in a band at Disneyland when he was 12.
Hawkins died at age 50 while on tour with Foo Fighters last year in Bogotá, Colombia. They canceled their remaining shows. The band returned to the stage for two all-star Hawkins tribute shows at the end of 2022. Freese performed with the band during those shows, and in a social media post, he said specifically requested to play Hawkins’ own set.
“Without hesitation I said, ‘Taylor’s drums need to be up there and I want to play on his exact set up,” he wrote. “‘I want THAT energy to be up on THAT stage. I want to sweat all over the same drums he was sweating all over every night…don’t change a thing.’” Freese and Hawkins didn’t grow up knowing each other, but had a connection as Orange County guys. “We always had that funny little bond and he’d always remind me that he was tired of hearing about ‘that other young guy from OC who was already making records and touring’ when he was a teenager. I’d then ask him if he wanted to trade bank accounts with me, LOL! Fuck man, the whole thing sucks. He would’ve loved that show more than anyone though.”