For the Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins, the covers band Chevy Metal is "like a fishing trip with your friends."
And the trio is tossing its hooks into the waters of Metallica's Orion Music + More festival this weekend.
Hawkins and Chevy Metal are playing one of two Orion pre-parties on Friday, June 7, taking the stage at Detroit's Majestic Theatre for a set of 70s and 80s rock covers, including both favorites and deep tracks by groups such as Aerosmith, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, the Rolling Stones, the Knack and more.
"It's just fun," explains Hawkins, 41. "You get to play different feels and things. And all those are bands that influenced me to being with, but to really dig into those arrangements musically is a blast. We don't do them not for note; we make them our own style."
Hawkins, who also leads another band called the Coattail Riders, launched Chevy Metal around 2001, "to keep my hands moving when I'm not doing Foo Fighters stuff." Though modest at first -- "We set up little gigs at Mexican restaurants near where I live and stuff like that," he recalls -- the group has wound up playing more high-profile shows such as the 2012 "Saturday Night Live" season wrap party in New York, where Mick Jagger joined the group for some Rolling Stones songs.
Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl has been a Chevy Metal guest as well, and Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction joined the group when it played the children's stage at Lollapalooza -- where Hawkins says he "got in trouble" for swearing.
"We've done remarkable things as this fun little cover band," he notes. "But it was never the intention to do anything like that. It's just fun."
Hawkins and his cohorts -- guitarist Mick Murphy and singer-bassist Wiley Hodgden -- are hoping to host some guests from the Orion ranks during Friday's show but aren't sure who will show up, although Hawkins says he's been in contact with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer and Detroit native Chad Smith. "I always put Chad on last 'cause he breaks your drum kit," Hawkins notes with laugh.
Meanwhile, Hawkins' "day job" is in motion as well. He says the Foo Fighters are "getting started" on their next album, though it's in its early stages. "We're getting our ideas together," he notes. "Dave's got his brain working overtime, like usual, and he's got a lot of great ideas, both musically and conceptually -- none that I can speak of at this moment, but it's gonna be cool."
Chevy Metal, the Orwells and the Bronx perform at the Official Orion Music + More Pre-Party on Friday, June 7, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $32.50. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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