Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes has told Sky News that performing at the tribute concert in memory of his friend Taylor Hawkins was “one of the most incredible moments of my life”.
The singer-songwriter took the mic for a cover of David Bowie‘s Modern Love alongside Chic’s Nile Rodgers at the epic six-hour Foo Fighters event, before his band performed their own favourites Richard III, Alright and Caught By The Fuzz later on.
Held in honour of Hawkins, who died unexpectedly in March aged 50, the tribute show featured dozens of the late drummer’s favourite musicians and songs in what was an emotional night at Wembley Stadium – the crowd’s cheers lifting Dave Grohl when he broke down during his performance of Times Like These.
“It was a beautiful night,” said Coombes. “I sang Modern Love with Nile Rodgers and it was just one of the most incredible moments of my life. I mean, that song means a lot to me. It was a song that was a big part of my wedding.
“To be able to sing it with Nile Rodgers at Wembley Stadium was quite something. I will never forget it. And what an amazing day for Taylor, what an incredible celebration for Taylor.
“I couldn’t imagine that it would be like that but being there on the day and seeing how it all came together, all the work that was put into it, all the love in Wembley Stadium, it was kind of overwhelming.
“I think if he was looking down, Taylor, he would kind of say, ‘Dude, what’s all the fuss!’ But he’d be like, ‘Oh my God, this is insane’.”
Behind the scenes footage of Supergrass on tour with the Foo Fighters in the 1990s was shown to the crowd ahead of their performance, with actor and comedian Jason Sudeikis explaining how Hawkins was a big fan of the British band and considered their self-titled third album – released in 1999 and featuring hits including Moving and Pumping On Your Stereo – as “one of the all-time best”.
On stage, Coombes paid tribute to the drummer before the band performed their 1995 breakthrough hit, Alright, saying: “Taylor Hawkins, forever f****** young.”
“He was just a fan, a fan of music,” said Coombes. “In his downtime he would create side projects, he would record at home, he would make music…
“Through lockdown, I mean, nobody particularly enjoyed it, but he embraced that period of time to explore musical things, which was exciting… he was just a beautiful, beautiful guy. And yeah, we’re going to miss him a lot.”
The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts were set up by the Foo Fighters and Hawkins’ wife, Alison, and another gig is planned to take place in Los Angeles later in September, with proceeds going to the Music Support and MusiCares charities.
Coombes was speaking on the red carpet at the premiere of Moonage Daydream, the upcoming David Bowie documentary which is the first to be officially sanctioned by his family and estate since his death in January 2016.
“We grew up listening to him, he’s been a huge inspiration,” the singer said. “Everywhere you turn, every record you go to, there’s something kind of magical and beautiful and pioneering.”
The Supergrass singer said he met Bowie once, when the star invited the band to perform at the Meltdown festival he curated in 2002.
“I actually met him on my way out. I was leaving… and I saw him down the hallway and he was going the other way and I just kind of shouted, ‘David!’, like a really nerdy teen. And he turned around and came over and was like, ‘Oh, hey Gaz, how are you doing?’ The fact that he knew who I was was a beautiful thing.”
Noel Gallagher was also among the stars at the premiere, and told Sky News how Bowie inspired him when making his last record with his band, the High Flying Birds.
Moonage Daydream will release exclusively in IMAX cinemas on 16 September and in cinemas UK-wide from 23 September