Rock Candy

NEW YORK - JUNE 11: Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters performs during MTV2's "24 Hours Of Foo" at the MTV Times Square Studios June 11, 2005 in New York City.

Well, it was another year where the Grammys, once again, showed their lack of respect for rock, and for rock’s fans. Those fans reasonably expected some sort of Foo Fighters tribute, since the band was scheduled to perform, before drummer Taylor Hawkins' untimely death just nine days earlier. The Grammys literally had a timeslot planned for the Foo Fighters, and last week, the Grammy producers even announced that there would be a tribute.

That tribute turned out to be a one-minute-long video, before their annual “in memorandum” segment. You could almost hear the collective “jaw drop” of the rock fans who still bother to tune in. To be fair, organizing all-star tributes isn’t an easy task, and they really aren’t easy when you have just a few days to pull it off. But the Grammys have made last-minute adjustments before: Aretha Franklin famously filled in for opera singer Luciano Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammys.  Justin Timberlake and Al Green did a last minute duet when Rihanna pulled out of the show in 2009. And, of course, Jennifer Hudson performed an incredible tribute to Whitney Houston in 2012, when Houston died the night before the ceremony. And they could have done something like that last night.   Last night, we were disappointed, but not surprised.

The Grammys would not have needed to call in any musicians from out of town to fly to Vegas to perform: they had everyone they needed to do an incredible a version of “Walk,” or “Times Like These” (but probably not “My Hero,” which they used in the video – since that song was recorded before Taylor even joined the band; Dave Grohl actually plays drums on that classic). Here’s the scenario we dreamed up: even if just half of these artists were able to participate, it still would have been a great tribute.

  • Brandi Carlile on vocals and guitar

    Brandi Carlile

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Brandi Carlile performs onstage during the 64th annual GRAMMY awards on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

     

    Brandi has some history with Grohl: Dave and his mom Virginia interviewed Brandi and her mom Teresa for the documentary series From Cradle To Stage. And while you might think that her style doesn’t lend itself to rock, you should check out her performance with the surviving members of Soundgarden from last year. They even recorded studio versions of  “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” and “Black Hole Sun” together. Respectfully, Brandi can sing Chris Cornell’s songs, she can sing Dave Grohl’s.

  • Chris Stapleton on vocals and guitar

    Chris Stapleton

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Chris Stapleton performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Brandi also performed at the Chris Cornell tribute concert in 2019; so did Chris Stapleton, who dueted with Brandi on “Hunger Strike.” The dude can sing rock music, and he’s an amazing guitar player.

  • H.E.R. on vocals and guitar

    H.E.R.

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: H.E.R. performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    H.E.R. is also a great guitar player and singer, and she has performed with Stapleton before, at last year’s CMT Awards.

  • Billie Eilish on vocals and Finneas on guitar

    Finneas and Billie Eilish

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: (L-R) Finneas and Billie Eilish perform onstage during the 64th annual GRAMMY awards on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    We know Billie Eilish is a fan; she paid tribute via her Taylor Hawkins t-shirt, which she wore during her performance last night. And her brother Finneas clearly can rock out on guitar.

  • Keith Urban on bass or guitar

    Keith Urban

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Keith Urban speaks onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Yes, Keith Urban is one of country music’s guitar gods, but he’s a multi-instrumentalist who played bass on one of his many huge hits, 2015’s “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” He’s also one of music’s biggest mensches: by all accounts, he’s a great guy and a huge music fan of all genres.

  • Stewart Copeland on drums

    Stewart Copeland

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Stewart Copeland of Divine Tides attends the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Stewart Copeland of the Police was one of Hawkins’ favorite drummers, and was also a friend of Hawkins. And he accepted a Grammy at the Premiere Ceremony, where most of the awards, including three that the Foo Fighters won, were presented; Copeland won best New Age Recording for Divine Tides.

  • Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak on drums

    Silk Sonic

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: (L-R) Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars of Silk Sonic accept the Record Of The Year award for ‘Leave The Door Open’ onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

     

    Silk Sonic’s Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak are both amazing drummers. Paak played drums during the show’s opening performance. Mars plays drums on some of his own records, including the massive hit “Uptown Funk.”

  • Lenny Kravitz on drums

    Lenny Kravitz

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Lenny Kravitz performs onstage with H.E.R. during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Lenny Kravitz, who played guitar and sang with H.E.R.,  often plays drums on his own albums.

  • Questlove on drums

    Questlove

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson speaks onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Oscar-winner Questlove was on hand to pick up a Grammy for his amazing documentary Summer of Soul, and was a fan of Taylor’s as well.

  • Mastodon's Troy Sanders, Brann Dailor and Brent Hinds on bass, drums and guitar

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Mastodon (Troy Sanders, Brann Dailor and Brent Hinds) attend the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

    Metal was an important influence on Hawkins, and still is on Dave Grohl, and Mastodon is one of the greatest metal bands of this millennium. And while their music tends to be more complex than that of the Foo Fighters, they have paid tribute to both ZZ Top and Alice In Chains.

  • Justin Bieber on drums

    Justin Bieber

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Justin Bieber performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Yeah, Justin Bieber – he’s actually a good drummer. Check out his drum battle with Questlove from a few years back.

  • Travis Barker on drums

    Travis Barker

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Travis Barker performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Travis Baker was there to perform with Lenny Kravitz and H.E.R. and he’s a big fan and a friend of Hawkins.

  • Any of the above!

    Again, to be fair: it’s not easy to put those kinds of things together, even when everyone is in the same town.  Alternatively, the Grammys also could have done something in the spirit of the Foo Fighters and invited a new band to play a Foo Fighters classic. The Linda Lindas are an exciting new band; so are Radkey, who Grohl featured in his documentary What Drives Us, and who opened for Foo Fighters last year.

    But instead of doing anything that would pay tribute to an iconic musician from a great band, they seemed to take the opportunity to use the time that the Foo Fighters would have played for other performers. It was more than disappointing, it was disrespectful. And it gives little reason for rock fans to tune in to the Grammys in the future.