Red Hot Chili Peppers to “celebrate” Taylor Hawkins at New Orleans Jazz Festival

"We’re going to play our hearts out," says Chad Smith

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has said that the band will “celebrate” the life of Taylor Hawkins during their upcoming show at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

The ‘Unlimited Love’ group stepped in to replace Foo Fighters at the event following the tragic death of their drummer Hawkins on March 25. Dave Grohl and co. subsequently cancelled all of their scheduled dates for 2022.

RHCP will now headline the New Orleans event this Sunday (May 1). Speaking to Billboard, Smith explained how the set will pay tribute to Hawkins, with whom he was good friends. “We’re taking Alison, his wife, with us and it’s going to be a celebration,” he told the outlet.

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“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. This is what he would want and he would be very happy that you guys are playing and he would want it [to] be nothing but a positive experience’.”

Smith continued: “So we’re going to do all that and she’s going to be part of that and I’m very honoured that we can do that with her.  We’re going to play our hearts out.”

Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers (Jim Bennett/WireImage) + Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters (Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers (Jim Bennett/WireImage) + Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters (Rich Fury/Getty Images)

The drummer said Hawkins’ death was “shocking”, but explained how the “essence of his creative energy is out in another universe somewhere and he was able to express that here in his short life”.

Smith went on: “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 that he did here.

“So that gives me a little bit of comfort, but I miss the fuck out of him.”

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Foo Fighters supported the Chilis on the latter’s Californication tour in 1999, and the two bands have remained friends since.

While receiving RHCP’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame recently, Smith said: “I have to give a shout out to my brother Taylor Hawkins, who I love and we’ll all miss so much.

“He’s flying around […] He would laugh and make a nice smart-ass comment about this whole thing, and I love him.”

Earlier this month, Chad Smith shared a tribute video in which he described Hawkins as “my good buddy, who I’ve known forever”.

Taylor Hawkins was found in his hotel room in Bogotá, Colombia, hours before Foo Fighters were due to headline a festival in the city as part of a South American tour. He was 50 years old. A cause of death is yet to be determined.

An initial toxicology report was carried out by health officials late last month. It found that multiple drugs including opiates, antidepressants and marijuana were found in Hawkins’ system at the time of his death.

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