There are very few drummers that can successfully make that
short walk from behind the drum riser to the front of the stage. Phil Collins
and Don Henley (briefly), regardless of whether or not you care for their music,
were able to sell millions when they put the sticks down. And Ringo Starr… well,
he got a free pass because he was a Beatle. But Dave Grohl is by far the most
successful. There are a slew of young Foo Fighter fans who likely have no idea
he drummed (and probably carried the equipment, drove the van and got last pick
of the groupies) for Nirvana.
It’s no big surprise then that Grohl’s Foo Fighter stickman
would take his turn at the mic. On Red
Light Fever, Taylor Hawkins’ sophomore release, the drummer turned frontman
sticks close to his influences, Queen, a little ELO, some Led Zeppelin and the
Foo Fighters naturally.
The record, a big improvement from his debut, starts off
strong with the Queen-worthy “Not Bad Luck” – complete with a “Bohemian
Rhapsody”-like chorus – and the I-swear-it-could have been a Foo Fighters track
“Your Shoes.” With some impressively gnarly guitar solos and Hawkins pleasantly
raspy vocals, the album has a very laidback sunny California
vibe, which is not exactly shocking considering Hawkins is a laidback sunny California guy.
The album loses momentum about half way in with some
paint-by-number rock ballads (like the unimpressive “Hell to Pay” and the
mediocre rocker “Sunshine”), but the early tracks are almost enough to save the
Though Red Light Fever is ultimately a mixed bag, in the end Hawkins ends up a little more Dave
Grohl than Ringo Starr on the drummers as rock star scale.
Standout Tracks: “Not
Bad Luck,” “Your Shoes” and “It’s Over” JOHN B. MOORE