Foo Fighters fan who gave Taylor Hawkins a "break" to drum on stage reveals how he was inspired to start a band

30 April 2022, 15:30

Foo Fighters fan Richard Greenbury, his new band and the late Taylor Hawkins
Foo Fighters fan Richard Greenbury, his new band and the late Taylor Hawkins. Picture: 1. Richard Greenbury 2. Brendan Shek 3. Ashley Beliveau/Getty Images

By Jenny Mensah

Richard Greenbury, who played Wheels on the drums with the rockers back in 2019, has paid tribute to Hawkins and revealed how the moment he took over for the drummer on stage inspired him to start his own band.

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Back in 2019, Foo Fighters fan Richard Greenbury told Radio X about the "surreal experience" which saw him join the band on stage for a rendition of their Wheels track at Croatia's Pula Arena.

The British percussionist took a chance and stood in the audience holding a sign, which read: "Taylor if you need a break, I can drum?"

Luckily, he was spotted by Dave Grohl and co and his wildest dreams came true as he was invited up to take Hawkins' place for a full performance of the 2009 track.

Three years on, Richard has looked back at the moment, paid tribute to his musical hero Taylor and revealed how it urged him to make his own music.

Wishing first and foremost to pay his "utmost respects" to the late drummer, his family and the Foo Fighters, Richard told Radio X: "As a lifelong fan of Taylor, his playing and attitude to life has been a continuous source of inspiration and comfort."

Calling the drummer a "musical hero," he added: "I hope my comments come across as intended, as a tribute to a musical hero of mine and a show of gratitude for how a small act of kindness on the bands’ part, has inspired me to create my own music."

Remind yourself of the epic moment Richard joined Foos on stage here:

READ MORE: Foo Fighters fan shares "out of body experience" drumming on stage with Dave Grohl and band

The impact that moment on stage had on forming his own band, Dead Air, cannot be understated. Almost immediately after getting back to England, Richard went home and decided to join forces with his friend Lyle Broom, who plays guitar in the outfit.

"The craziest thing was to think that something like that could actually happen to us," he recalled. "After we got back to the UK, me and my flatmate Lyle just thought, 'F*** it… if that can happen to me then why not give making our own music a go?'

"That’s kind of how the band got going. We both decided that this is what we love doing and grabbed it by horns!"

The friends, who met at the University of Leeds, bonded straight away over music but it wasn't until they encountered frontman and bassist Reuben Moonasar that they completed their line-up.

"We both loved bands like Queens of The Stone Age, Tool, The Chili Peppers, Rage [Against The Machine] and of course Foo Fighters… but we had never really put pen to paper and thrashed out our ideas.

"Then in 2019 after coming back from Croatia, Lyle bumped into Reuben at his record shop in Brixton and the rest as they say is history. Dead Air was formed!"

Dead Air are Reuben Moonasar on vocals and bass, Lyle Broom on guita and Richard Greenbury on drums.
Dead Air consist of Reuben Moonasar on vocals and bass, Lyle Broom on guita and Richard Greenbury on drums. Picture: Brendan Shek

Asked to describe Dead Air's sound, he said: "We jokingly like to describe ourselves as a rock and rock band, we love heavier bands like Tool and Slipknot but at the same time also love disco and rap so our sound really is an amalgamation of all sorts! If you like heavy bass lines, guitar solos and fast drums I think you’ll be ok with us!"

It's pretty clear that Dead Air are having a lot of fun, but are they planning to release any of their music?

"Yes for sure," said Richard. "We spent last summer in 123 Studios in Peckham where Foals recorded their last two records, and have actually released our debut single Am I High? this month.

"We’ve got a music video in the works and loads more originals to get out too so it’s a very exciting time in the dead air camp!"

Have a listen to Ami I High? below:

Talking about how he feels about the experience standing in for Hawkins now in the light of his untimely death, he said: “To be honest I was in two minds about wanting to even talk about it because I did not want in any way to come across as disrespectful.

"I had always wanted to one day talk about how they were the catalyst for me to really pursue music but in light of what has happened it is just so bittersweet.

"All I would like to say is that he was and always will be to me the pinnacle of a rock drummer. Groove, style, impeccable timing, fills… the lot. F***ing legend and I wish I had met him for longer than the 10 mins I stole his drums! All the love to his friends and family who really knew him and I hope they’re all doing as well as they can be."

Visit Instafram/officialdeadair to learn more about the band.

READ MORE: Red Hot Chili Peppers to "celebrate" Taylor Hawkins at New Orleans Jazz Festival