Why Foo Fighters Fans Are Already Upset With New Drummer Josh Freese
It’s only been about two weeks since Foo Fighters announced that Josh Freese (Weezer, Guns N' Roses, Nine Inch Nails) is their new drummer. Somewhat unsurprisingly, fans on Reddit are already voicing complaints about how he compares to late drummer Taylor Hawkins (who died unexpectedly on March 25, 2022).
In a thread entitled “Does Freese” started on the band’s official Reddit page three days ago (May 31), one user posted:
He’s clearly a great drummer. But after watching some of the recent live performances with Josh Freese I’ve concluded that compared to Taylor he really rushes the beat. Taylor was a very “in the pocket” drummer so to speak. Freese plays like a machine but you can hear the rest of the band struggling to keep up with him. ‘Everlong’ was so so fast. It just makes the loss of Taylor hit home even more. He was the perfect drummer from FF. This is just my opinion and of course ymmv.
Between then and now, said thread starter has received numerous replies that also criticize Freese’s technique. For instance, someone else wrote, “[He’s] rushing. Definitely rushing. There was one track during the live stream that was super fast. Afterwards, Pat [Smear] said ‘That was Shane Hawkins tempo!’”
That said, just as many Redditors – if not more – came to Freese’s defense. Specifically, one fan cheered: “I’m actually stoked they are faster. Monkey wrench almost sounds like a hardcore song now. I really hope they let Josh play the way he’s been playing.”
Likewise, another user declared:
It’s literally Josh Freese’s job to play in a way that satisfies the needs of his employers. It’s how he’s had the career he’s had for the last 25 years, and it’s why he’s universally considered one of the best drummers alive. If Dave has any issues with what he’s doing, I guarantee it’s being discussed, will be discussed after this run, or has already been addressed in rehearsals that I’m willing to bet went on longer than any of us know.
I’d highly doubt Dave’s asking him to adhere to every specific fill and nuance Taylor ever recorded or performed live. He’s nothing if not one to want music to reflect the humans playing it, so it’d make sense to think they worked together to get to a place where he’s playing with respect to the legacy of the music, but also has the freedom to be himself as a musician. Is it weird, as a fan, to hear things done differently than they’ve been down for the last 25 years? Of course.
But the only constant is change, and changing a member will ALWAYS change nuance. It just will. But JF is hands down the best drummer for this band now, and we should trust that these guys maybe know what they’re doing after all these years instead of armchair quarterbacking bpms and time stamps.
Of course, some people have shared more neutral, understanding and unemotional responses, such as one person who expressed: “Give them time to adjust and correct. These are his first few live shows. There's going to be a learning curve even for the most experienced person.”
You can read the entire Reddit thread here.
Obviously, people had passionate reactions to Freese joining the Foos as soon as it was announced, too.
In addition to the aforementioned global live stream, the new Foo Fighters lineup has played a handful of concerts so far (with their first one taking place at New Hampshire’s Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on May 24, 2023). Thus, fans arguably already have enough evidence with which to judge how Freese is fitting into his new role.
In other news, Foo Fighters’ latest studio LP, But Here We Are, came out yesterday (June 2). Seeing as how it was recorded prior to Freese officially coming aboard, it finds frontman Dave Grohl playing all the drums (thereby earning his first drum credit on a Foo Fighters album since 2005’s In Your Honor).
So, what do you think of Freese joining Foo Fighters? Any thoughts on But Here We Are? Let us know!