After receiving a rousing welcome from the crowd, Copeland sat down behind the drums. Accompanied of Foo Fighters – with Dave Grohl on guitar and vocals – the group first rocked through a rendition of the Police’s 1978 single “Next to You.” From there, Supergrass singer Gaz Coombes joined the ensemble and delivered another Police classic: “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.”
Copeland was a lifelong influence on Hawkins, who remembered under one 2019 interview that he received a copy of the band’s Zenyatta Mondatta album from his brother in 1982. It came with a mission statement. “If you want to be good, play like this guy,” his sibling advised.
Hawkins took the advice to heart and sought to assemble a set piecemeal, bit by bit. He smiled, remembering ordering cymbals out of the Sears catalog as he moved closer to completing his setup. Ultimately, it was a formative time. As he shared later in the interview, he grew to consider Copeland and Queen drummer Roger Taylor his two biggest influences.
The pair would later meet in 2005, and it was a heady experience, as Copeland recalled in a conversation with Variety after his friend’s passing. “The first time I met [Foo Fighters] in 2005 they called out of the blue and invited me up on their jet to fly to San Francisco, do a song with them at a show and then run a runner over to New York where they did 24 hours straight. MTV“, he recalled. “That’s where I got to know the guys. Jesus Christ! That’s some endurance for the young. It was fun.”
The first meeting came before the final police reunion walk it happened in 2007. Copeland admitted that he had not been cutting firewood when approached by the Foos. “I hadn’t seen my drums in a long time, but I only had to go through one song and they knew it.” The Foo Fighters would eventually open for The Police during the Los Angeles stop of their reunion tour.
In Hawkins, Copeland found a kindred spirit that led to a friendship that spanned nearly 20 years. “We enjoyed each other’s company. Much more than guitarists do,” he shared Rolling stones earlier this year. “You’d think we’d be more competitive because there’s only one drum kit on stage and you can have any number of amps. But for some reason we like extra rhythm slapping around U.S.”
Although the late drummer was a Copeland acolyte, the drumming legend was quick to note that Hawkins certainly forged his own path. “The first time I heard about the Foo Fighters was like, ‘Hey, there’s this band out there that sells a gazillion records and the drummer says it’s all your shit,'” he said. Variety. “So I checked it out and I didn’t hear any of my stuff. I heard his stuff. Maybe that could have been the source of his inspiration, but he definitely did his own thing with it.“
Hawkins will be honored at a second tribute concert in Los Angeles that September. 27.
Police albums ranked
They only made a handful of entries, but all offered plenty of rewards.