Last month, rock legend Taylor Hawkins revealed that he was getting his old band back together, planning to release his first new album with The Coattail Riders since 2010.
Back in the mid-‘00s, Taylor Hawkins was living a pretty good life as the highly energetic drummer for the Foo Fighters. However, like his bandmate Dave Grohl, Hawkins found himself making a few songs in his spare time and keeping them back for when the opportunity presented itself.
Soon enough, he had launched a brand new group, with Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders releasing their self-titled debut in 2006. Well-received, Hawkins found time between Foo Fighters releases to ready a collection of new tracks, eventually sharing Red Light Fever in 2010.
Since then, Hawkins has been kept pretty busy by his Foo Fighters commitments, the release of a solo EP in 2016, and his tendency to pop up in other supergroups from time to time.
Now, after announcing a new album just last month, Get The Money was released on November 8th, and features collaborations with the likes ofRoger Taylor (Queen), Joe Walsh (the Eagles), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Nancy Wilson (Heart), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), LeAnn Rimes, and of course, Dave Grohl.
To celebrate the release of the new record, we had a chat with the great Taylor Hawkins to learn more about the album’s creation, what else he’s got on the boil, and what’s next.
Check out ‘I Really Blew It’ by Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders:
Tone Deaf: Get The Money was released earlier this month, what has the reaction been like so far?
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Taylor Hawkins: I read a bunch of the reviews and there’s been some really nice ones and some sort of okay ones, but reviews are probably all in the eye of the beholder.
If you’re into Lana Del Rey, and stuff, then you’re probably not going to love my record. But, you know, a rock fan probably might find something in there, or maybe you won’t.
But, the reaction has been pretty good, so far, for the most part. I would say a ‘B’.
TD: The new record came nine years after Red Light Fever, but you had also recorded a solo EP during that time. What made you decide to do another record as the Coattail Riders instead of another solo release?
TH: I don’t know, I just felt like I liked the name, I just felt like it looked good on a t-shirt. It’s just that simple.
They’re all a different version of the same thing, whether it’s Taylor Hawkins or The Birds Of Satan, which I did before that. That was more of a metal record, you know? But, I don’t know. I think I just saw the pieces when I was making the record, and I thought, “let’s put that back.”
And also, Chris Chaney was very, very involved with the making of this record, and he was always the bass player in the Coattail Riders, so it just felt right, and I just felt, “fuck it, let’s bring it back.”
It’s just a moniker, really. It’s just a name. It could be Taylor Hawkins, it could just be the Coattail Riders, you can call it anything, really. It’s just a name, but I think it looks good on a t-shirt. I think it looks good on the album cover.
TD: When did you start production of this new album?
TH: I’d say about two years ago, maybe even longer. About the time I started touring with [Foo Fighters’ album] Concrete And Gold. I have a little home studio in my back yard. It’s not much — it’s just six or seven microphones, a little recording set up.
It’s not very elaborate at all, but it’s my little spot to go and create, and create without limitations and without any member of any band or without anyone else’s business but my own, and that’s super gratifying for me.
So, yeah, I started it a couple of years ago and pretty much did a new song every month, or so, probably every 15 or 16 days, then I started the weeding out process after that, and I picked out nine of my favourite tracks.
Check out ‘C U In Hell’:
TD: Get The Money sees you working with a bunch of huge names, how did these collaborations come about? Was it mainly through friendships you’ve made, or did you seek anyone out for the project specifically?
TH: It was mainly through happenstances. LeAnn Rimes, I just happened to meet her through my neighbourhood. I happened to randomly meet her at some school event, with our kids going to school, and I had heard her sing somewhere, and I just liked her voice.
I just thought she had a beautiful voice. And we struck up a conversation, and a little bit of a “hey” every time we saw each other. Then, I wanted to have some ladies on the record, that was important to me, so I decided, “well, she’d be perfect to be on a psychedelic, prog, stoner-rock song like ‘C U In Hell’.”
Some of them I did seek out. Some of them I wasn’t able to procure, but for the most part everyone was cool. Chrissie Hynde came through a friend, and she was gracious enough to go to the studio and sing on it, which was awesome. I love her voice and her songs, and I think she’s just a fucking brilliant song writer, and a brilliant singer, so that worked out really good.
Dave [Grohl] obviously is obviously a friend and a bandmate with the Foo Fighters, and Duff [McKagan, Guns N’ Roses] is a friend. Jon Davison is a school friend since I was a kid, and he’s the singer of Yes now.
Nancy Wilson I had met a couple of times. I sort of reached out to her but I was looking for someone to do that song with and she lived around the corner, about five minutes from me at that point. She’s since moved, but she came and did a vocal, and it was great.
TD: Are you hoping they might make an appearance on a future album by the Coattail Riders?
TH: Yeah! Yeah, I’d love to. I tried to get Olivia Newton-John, but I got a polite decline, which is fine. And I asked Terri Nunn from Berlin, I wanted to sing with her. I love her voice, but we just couldn’t seem to make the song… we couldn’t make that work. But hopefully we can do something again at some point, since I love her voice.
I’d love to do something with Alanis Morissette because she was one of the people who helped me get to where I am right now anyways. There’s lots of people I’d love to play with. I’d love to do a duet with Axl Rose, you know?
There’s really no one I wouldn’t be interested in. I’d record a fuckin’ song with Kanye West, I don’t give a shit. I would love to see what that guy would think over at my house, working on a song together. I’m super into mixing it up, as far as that’s concerned.
Check out ‘Middle Child’:
TD: You’ve only really taken this project on the road for Red Light Fever, are there any plans to perform any live shows in the future? Or does the presence of collaborators raise some logistical issues?
TH: It’s not really the collaborators that make it difficult, because you could make it work, it’s just time. We’re already making a new Foo Fighters record, so I just don’t see it happening in the near future. It could happen in the future.
I’d like to, definitely at some point. I don’t know if I could get everyone on the road together from the collaborations, but we’ll make it work.
TD: There was a story earlier this year of you teaming up with Matt Cameron of Soundgarden & Pearl Jam and Buzz Osborne of the Melvins for some recording. Is that something we might get to hear someday?
TH: Me and Matt recorded a couple of songs together and then he and Buzz worked on them separately, and they’re really cool. I’m sure it’ll see the light of day, someday. I just was texting Matt a couple of days ago, actually. He’s a hero, major, major hero of mine, as far as a drummer and a songwriter.
So, yeah, we have a couple of tracks in the can and hoping someday we can put them out. Me and Duff McKagan also have a couple of songs that we recorded together that are just like fun little scrappy garage rock songs that we’ll try to get out at some point.
I just think you should give much as you can with as many people as you can outside of what you normally do. I think it’s good for a musician to do that, I really do.
TD: The album’s out and there’s no plans to tour, what’s next on the calendar for Taylor Hawkins?
TH: Well, like I said, we’re going to do a new Fooey’s record, as you guys call us. Just really a lot of work with the Foo Fighters, I think, coming up. We’re going to be busy. That’s all I can say [laughs]. We’re going to be busy.