The Foo Fighters introduced a new drummer, Josh Freese, just before the release of their album next month and their first tour since the death last year of the rock band’s previous drummer, Taylor Hawkins, which devastated the group and its fans.
Freese, 50, was featured Sunday in an hourlong streamed rehearsal, “Preparing Music for Concerts,” which featured a mix of jokes, surprise cameos by other drummers and a couple of poodles.
It started with the group’s lead singer, Dave Grohl, and other members of the band standing around with their instruments in a darkened studio, bantering about whether any of them ever punched someone onstage.
Suddenly there is a knock on the door. There are greetings of “hey!” as Chad Smith, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, enters. He gestures with his drumsticks. “There’s a white Mercedes blocking me,” he says, and then leaves.
Then Mötley Crüe’s drummer, Tommy Lee, bursts in, carrying bags of P.F. Chang’s Chinese takeout. Cheers all around. “Put it in the kitchen for us,” Grohl says.
Danny Carey, from Tool, is the next to come through the door, twirling his drumsticks in one hand and in the other, clutching a leash tethering a pair of large poodles that he says he has just groomed. He then leaves.
A frustrated voice suddenly calls out from the darkness, from someone who had seemingly had enough of the intrusions: “Excuse me!”
The camera swings in his direction. It was Freese, seated behind an array of drums. “Guys could we just like, I don’t know, play a song? Or two? Something?”
The successive appearances of one top rock drummer followed by another was a way to tease the big news after, as Variety reported, the band went to “great lengths” not to reveal the identity of its new drummer.
Freese is a veteran drummer who has performed with the Offspring, Sting, Weezer, Nine Inch Nails and others.
The Foo Fighters were devastated after Hawkins died in a hotel in northern Bogotá, in Colombia, where the band had been scheduled to play. A beloved member of the group, Hawkins joined the band for its “There Is Nothing Left to Lose” album, which was released in 1999, and played on its next seven albums.
The streamed event on Sunday included “Rescued,” the band’s first new song since Hawkins’s death, which appears to reflect their lingering grief.
Last September in London, Hawkins’s teenage son, Shane, performed “My Hero” with the band in a tribute concert to his father. At that concert, Freese, on drums, said he wanted to play on Hawkins’s set.