Josh Freese: 5 Things To Know About The Foo Fighters’ New Drummer After Taylor Hawkins’ Death
The Foo Fighters announced on May 21 that Josh Freese is the band's new drummer.The announcement came a year after Taylor Hawkins, 50, died while the band toured Colombia.Josh has played with bands like The Vandals, Devo, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails, and more.
"Can we play a song or something?" With those words, Josh Freese became the man to sit behind the drumkit for the Foo Fighters, picking up the sticks a year after the beloved band lost their founding member, friend, and longtime drummer, Taylor Hawkins. During the May 21 Livestream event, the Foo Fighters announced introduced Josh, 50, as the new addition to the band, joining Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffe.
We'll see you all soon. pic.twitter.com/c7NATC6lzD
-- Foo Fighters (@foofighters) May 21, 2023
The introduction was done playfully, with three legendary drummers first vying for the position. Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith appeared at the band's rehearsal room to complain about a "white Mercedes blocking my car." Tommy Lee of Motley Crue fame said he "got the PF Changs!" Meanwhile, Danny Carey of Tool stopped by to say he "groomed your poodles for you." Ultimately, Josh interrupted all the noise to ask if the band wanted to jam.
From there, the group debuted "Nothing At All," a new song from their upcoming album, But Here We Are. The LP is set for a June 2 release via Roswell Records/Columbia Records. The band released "Under You" last week. The group also announced a run of tour dates, kicking off on May 24 in New Hampshire.
As the world prepares to welcome Josh as the newest Foo, here's what you need to know about him.
Josh Freese Has Been Drumming For Decades.
Josh Freese (b. Dec. 25, 1972) has been playing the drums since he was eight years old. "My dad conducted the Disneyland band since I was born, and I was around big band music a lot," Josh said in a 2014 interview with Vice. "There was always a bunch of instruments around our house, and I noticed there was a drum set up in our attic. I thought there was no chance in hell my parents would let me take it down and set it up for me, but somehow they went for it. My dad played me the most elementary Rock 'n' Roll 101 beat, and I sat down and immediately played it. I fell in love instantly."
Around 8, he started "taking lessons around that time," he said in a 2007 interview with GuitarCenter.com. "For a year or so prior to taking lessons, I'd been practicing to records. When I was 8 years old, it was Van Halen, Devo, Queen, Journey, and The Police.....shortly after that came Missing Persons, The Ramones, and my huge Frank Zappa phase that I went through. Then, of course, jazz fusion phase and then landed on punk rock when I was about 16."
He Got His Start As A Pre-Teen.
"In 1985, when I was 12, I got a job playing in a Top 40 band out at Disneyland," Josh told Vice. For the next 38+ years, Josh has worked as a professional drummer. "Other than a paper route I had for about six weeks when I was 10, this is the only job I've ever had."
Josh Has Played With His Heroes...
"I grew up a huge Devo fan," Josh told Modern Drummer in 2005, "but by the time I was eleven or twelve, I had read many articles in Modern Drummer with Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Chad Wackerman, where they were saying, 'Playing with Frank Zappa was so challenging - playing with Frank was so this - playing with Frank was so that.'" Josh bought all the Zappa records he could, and it seems that he was setting up some kismet. He would have a chance meeting with Ahmet Zappa, Frank's son, who introduced him to his brother, Dweezil Zappa. Josh began touring and recording with Dweezil.
In 1989, Josh - full into his punk phrase - met up with SoCal punkers The Vandals. They were in need of a drummer, and Josh slid in behind the kit. He's played with them ever since and has been on all of their albums, except for Look What I Almost Stepped In, because Josh had other commitments.
In 1995, Josh became a permanent member of the reformed DEVO, playing with another band that inspired him. "[Freedom of Choice] was the first album I got when I was eight years old," he told SPIN. "I sat in my basement and played along to it all the time, so it was crazy when we did that tour last year where we played it top to bottom. It's fun in the way that it's very metronomic and the patterns are very deliberate and kind of nursery rhyme. A lot of people think that it's a drum machine on 'Whip It.' But that's Alan Myers."
...And All Of Your Favorite Bands.
Josh calls himself a "freelance drummer to the stars," and he has the resume to back it up. "Freese ....has racked up more than 500 total recording credits and countless shows--by his own estimate--working with everyone from the Offspring to Paramore to Weezer to Avril Lavigne," wrote Vice in 2014. His AllMusic page shows that he's worked with bands and artists like Mike Ness, Chris Cornell, A Perfect Circle, Rob Zombie, 3 Doors Down, Unwritten Law, Guns N' Roses, Ween, Static-X, Kelly Clarkson, Monster Magnet, Steve Vai, The Replacements, and countless others.
"I always tell people, 'Play with as many people as you can play with, without burning all bridges or fucking things up for yourself,'" he told Vice. "You've got to be sensitive to people's schedules and treat them all like they're the most important one. Get out there and play with whoever you can. You've got to play for free; you can't demand money. Play with everyone for free and just get out there because you never know between making connections with others--not just musically but personally."
Peers & Fans Praised Him Being Picked For The Foo Fighters Gig.
Josh Freese was a friend of the Foo Fighters before he joined the band in 2023. After the world lost Taylor Hawkins, Josh partook in the tribute shows, performing alongside The Darkness' Justin Hawkins and Wolfgang Van Halen for a performance of "All My Life," per Loudwire.
When the Foos announced that Josh would join them on the road as their drummer, the decision was universally praised. "My biggest drumming inspiration and probably the main reason I didn't give up when my first band stopped touring," tweeted Dashboard Confessional drummer Chris Kamrada. "He's living proof of what it takes to handle playing for so many different respectable artists. well done, Foo Fighters."
"Foo Fighters could not have made a better decision," added Steve Stevens, guitarist for Billy Idol. "[Josh Freese] is the best of the best."