As anticipated, Foo Fighters officially introduced their new drummer during a livestreamed event on Sunday, confirming that it’s the seasoned session musician and long-time friend, Josh Freese.
The band is gearing up for a massive tour, their first without their late drummer Taylor Hawkins, who tragically passed away in Colombia last year. The tour kicks off in New Hampshire on May 24.
While the band had announced their intention to carry on late last year, they made a deliberate effort to keep the identity of their new drummer under wraps. They even played into the suspense during the initial moments of the livestream event titled “Foo Fighters: Preparing Music for Concerts.” The livestream showcased all the band members playfully bantering in their rehearsal room, each with their guitars in hand.
In a playful sequence, three accomplished drummers took turns knocking on the door during the livestream event. First was Chad Smith, the drummer from Red Hot Chili Peppers, who quipped, “There’s a white Mercedes blocking my car.” Next up was Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, saying, “Hey, I got the PF Changs!” Then, Danny Carey from Tool joined in, humorously claiming, “I groomed your poodles for you.” In response, the band members jokingly replied, “We’ll be right there!” and similar responses.
Finally, a voice interrupts with an assertive, “Um… EXCUSE ME?!” This catches the band members’ attention, and they turn to see Josh Freese, who had been off-camera but is now sitting behind a drumkit. Freese humorously remarks, “Can we play a song or something?!” The band then proceeds to launch into songs from their upcoming album, titled “But Here We Are,” set to be released on June 2.
During the performance, the band engaged in typical rock-band-at-rehearsal banter, reminiscent of their early days as musicians. Josh Freese shared an amusing anecdote about a band he played with at Disneyland when he was just 12, humorously called “Polo,” to which one of the band members jokingly responded, “LaCoste opened for you!”
Later, Dave Grohl and Freese delved into musician jargon, discussing a particular part with phrases like “It goes ‘diggy-diggy-diggity baw-baw-baw,'” among others. The band also delivered spirited renditions of some of their previous hits, including a high-energy performance of “Monkey Wrench” with Freese infusing an even more punk-rock vibe into the song.
Although the pre-recorded special might have resembled a public rehearsal or sound check, it was evident that the band needed no further practice. Their performances were incredibly tight, with discussions focusing on only minor refinements.
Josh Freese, recognized as one of the best, most versatile, and experienced rock drummers in the industry today, showcased his ability to step into the shoes of both Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl (the latter being one of rock’s greatest drummers, despite primarily serving as the Foos’ lead singer and rhythm guitarist). Freese’s drumming displayed the perfect blend of stability, power, and flair. If this livestreamed performance was an audition for fans, it’s safe to say he passed with flying colors.
Josh Freese’s selection as the Foo Fighters’ drummer is an unsurprising and fitting choice. He shares a longstanding friendship with both Dave Grohl and the late Taylor Hawkins, and his status as a seasoned session virtuoso is well-established. Freese’s musical journey has seen him collaborate with an impressive roster of artists, spanning a spectrum of genres. His extensive resume includes iconic rock acts like Guns N’ Roses, A Perfect Circle, Puddle of Mudd, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Paramore, the Replacements, Sting, and the Vandals, among others. However, these rock luminaries represent just a fraction of the diverse range of musicians he has worked with.
Throughout his career, Freese has contributed his talents to over 300 recordings, showcasing his remarkable versatility across genres that range from pop and rock to country. His adaptability is exemplified by his performances at last year’s Coachella festival, where he seamlessly transitioned between collaborating with Danny Elfman, renowned frontman of new wave veterans Oingo Boingo and celebrated film composer for Tim Burton, and hyper-pop sensation 100 Gecs. These two radically distinct artists demanded vastly different musical styles, yet Freese effortlessly delivered exceptional performances for both.
Josh Freese’s appointment as the Foo Fighters’ new drummer not only comes with deep musical experience but also addresses several potential challenges that might arise in filling Taylor Hawkins’ shoes:
- Musical Versatility: Freese is celebrated as one of the preeminent session drummers in the music industry. His extensive experience spans numerous genres, making him well-equipped to handle the Foo Fighters’ diverse catalog and dynamic live performances.
- Recognition Within the Music Community: His reputation as a top-tier drummer is well-known among fellow musicians. This recognition ensures a seamless integration into the band’s existing dynamics, as he is respected by his peers in the industry.
- Relative Obscurity to the General Public: While Freese is an established musician, he remains less familiar to the general public. This is advantageous as it eliminates any strong associations with previous bands, allowing him to step into the Foo Fighters without carrying the baggage of previous musical identities.
- Multi-Generational Fit: At 50 years old, Freese shares a generation with most of the other Foo Fighters band members. This age similarity aids in maintaining the band’s cohesion and musical synergy.
- Role Clarity: Whether Freese is joining as a permanent member or taking on a long-term freelance role remains unclear. The band’s representatives have not officially confirmed his status.
“Foo Fighters: Preparing Music for Concerts” is a streaming event available on Live Nation’s Veeps platform. It features exclusive rock performances, behind-the-scenes footage, and surprises, offering fans a unique musical experience. The upcoming Foo Fighters tour, set to commence on May 24, will mark their first without Taylor Hawkins, solidifying the transition with Josh Freese behind the drum kit.