Red Hot Chili Peppers Give Tribute Speech to Taylor Hawkins at Festival
Red Hot Chili Peppers made good on their promise to honor the late Taylor Hawkins during their performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Sunday (May 1).
In an onstage speech that ended with a call for crowd participation, Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith gave a heartfelt tribute to the Foo Fighters drummer who died in March.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers took Foo Fighters' spot at the 2022 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest after the Dave Grohl-led band called off all their scheduled concerts to mourn their drummer.
Addressing the audience at Jazz Fest, Smith began, per Consequence, "We just found out about this two weeks ago, because Foo Fighters were supposed to play here tonight. We love Foo Fighters, and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins. This means a lot to us to be able to play for them."
Smith had previously honored Hawkins with a tribute video. The Peppers and Foo Fighters have a long-running friendship — the Foos even opened for RHCP on a 1999 tour; Smith also joined them onstage during a 2015 New York City gig.
Ahead of Sunday's Jazz Fest gig, he explained to Billboard the Red Hot Chili Peppers' plan to honor Hawkins at the show.
"We're taking Alison, [Hawkins'] wife, with us, and it's going to be a celebration," Smith revealed. "That's what she wants. She doesn't want it to be anything other than, 'Let's celebrate music, let's celebrate our friends, let's celebrate Taylor.'"
Still mourning the musician, Smith continued to Billboard, "His creative energy is out in another universe somewhere, and he was able to express that here in his short life. Wherever he is, I feel strongly and believe that he is doing his Taylor Hawkins as only he can. He's doing that somewhere else and giving that love and life to everybody wherever he is now."
Smith added, "So that gives me a little bit of comfort, but I miss the f— out of him."
The cause of Hawkins' death is still being determined after he was found dead in Bogota, Colombia, on March 25, just before Foos were to play the city's Festival Estereo Picnic. A preliminary toxicology report showed Hawkins had 10 different substances in his system at the time.
Chili Peppers just released their new album, Unlimited Love, which features "Black Summer," "Poster Child" and "These Are the Ways." They'll be touring the rest of the year.
See fan-captured footage of the Jazz Fest tribute below.