The Foo Fighters have unveiled their new drummer following the death of their former percussionist Taylor Hawkins: veteran session musician Josh Freese.
Freese has earned a long and star-studded list of credits in his three-decade career. The 50-year-old drummer has been a member of Devo since 1996 and the Vandals since 1989. He has also toured with Offspring, Guns N’ Roses, Danny Elfman, Weezer, Sting, Paramore, Nine Inch Nails and 100 GEC.
The band revealed the news on Sunday in an in-cheek livestream titled Foo Fighters: Preparing Music for Concert, promising “a few surprises.”
The livestream, recorded in their studio, began with the band calling in several famous cameos to tease the identity of their new drummer.
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith made a loud entrance – only to complain that someone was blocking his way into the car park. Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe appeared with a food delivery, while Danny Carey of Tool appeared with a pair of poodles.
A voice then interrupted the proceedings, and the camera cut to an agitated freeze, waiting off-camera behind the drum kit. “Sorry!” He shouted. “Can we just, like… play a song?”
The livestream featured an eight-song set, including new tracks from the Foo Fighters’ upcoming 11th album, But Here We Are.
In January, the band announced that they would remain together and continue to perform following the death of Hawkins, who died at the age of 50 while on tour in Colombia the previous year.
“Without Taylor, we would never have become the band that we were,” they wrote in a statement. “And without Taylor, we know we’re going to be a different band going forward.”
Freeze’s first show with the Foo Fighters will take place on May 24 in New Hampshire, the opening leg of a global tour that will run through the end of 2023.
The tour is the first time the band has performed live since their two memorial concerts for Hawkins last September, where an all-star lineup of musicians including Paul McCartney, Queen and Mark Ronson paid tribute to the late drummer.
Freese himself performed with the Foo Fighters at those concerts, playing on Hawkins’ drums.
“I was asked which drum I wanted to use,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “Without hesitation I said, ‘Taylor’s drums should be up and I want to play his exact set-up.'”
No cause of death has been declared for Hawkings, but a toxicology report showed traces of 10 substances in Hawking’s body, including opioids, marijuana and antidepressants.