Foo Fighters announce new drummer: Who is Josh Freese?

The veteran musician has worked with some of the biggest rock bands and features on more than 300 recordings

Josh Freese will join Foo Fighters as the new drummer. Getty Images
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The Foo Fighters have announced a new drummer, 14 months after the death of Taylor Hawkins.

During a live stream event on Sunday, the US rock band named Josh Freese as their newest member, joining the line-up alongside Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Rami Jaffee.

In the video, the band took part in a skit teasing that three famous drummers – Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool’s Danny Carey – were in the running for the gig.

But Freese soon appeared sat behind a drum kit. “Um, excuse me?” he said. “Can we play a song or something?”

Fans then got a glimpse of him performing with the band for the first time, as they played several tracks from their coming album, But Here We Are, which is set for release on June 2.

Who is Josh Freese?

Freese, a veteran musician and long-time friend of the band, has performed with the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, Offspring and Weezer during a career spanning more than five decades.

He has performed on more than 300 recordings, working with names including Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey and Michael Buble, spanning genres from rock to pop to country.

Freese also performed alongside Foo Fighters at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts held in London and Los Angeles last year.

Taylor Hawkins’ legacy

Foo Fighters’ long-time drummer Hawkins died on March 25 last year at the age of 50.

Announcing his death, the band said: “The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.”

Several other musicians shared heartfelt tributes to the drummer, including Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Morello and Finneas.

Musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Liam Gallagher, Mark Ronson, Brian May and Nile Rodgers performed at the two concerts held in tribute to Hawkins.

Foo Fighters in Abu Dhabi

Foo Fighters fans in the UAE will have a chance to see the band’s new line-up in person later this year, when they headline the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after-race concert in November.

The Abu Dhabi concert is the only international show the band announced this year and forms part of their comeback tour as they hit the road again for the first time without Hawkins.

The Abu Dhabi show should also be particularly poignant for the Foo Fighters after they cancelled their 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race day concert following what event organisers described as “unforeseen medical circumstances”.

Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl on stage at Lollapalooza in 2022.  AFP

The National went on to reveal a band member was taken to hospital from an airport in Chicago, while the group was travelling to Abu Dhabi.

A later controversial report by Rolling Stone investigating Hawkins's final months featured an interview with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, who referred to a December 2021 incident in which Hawkins “was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs”.

While unconfirmed, it is assumed that the incident Smith referred to occurred before the band’s scheduled appearance in Abu Dhabi.

Foo Fighters will play their first public show in eight months on May 24 in the US city of Gilford, with the show kicking-off a five-month North American tour ending on October 15.

Updated: May 22, 2023, 7:45 AM