When the Red Hot Chili Peppers take the stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 1, the band will honor the legacy and spirit of the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
RHCP, who last performed at Jazz Fest in 2016, steps in to fill the Foos slot after Hawkins died on March 25 in Bogota, Colombia while the Foo Fighters were on tour. The Foo Fighters subsequently canceled the remainder of their 2022 broadcasts.
For Chad Smith, a good friend of Hawkins and fellow RHCP drummer, the gig is a time to celebrate Hawkins.
“We’re taking Alison, his wife, with us and it’s going to be a party,” Smith said. Billboard. “That’s what she wants. She doesn’t want it to be anything other than, “Let’s celebrate the music, let’s celebrate our friends, let’s celebrate Taylor.” That’s what he would want and he would be very happy for you to play and he would want it to be just a positive experience. So we are going to do all of this and she will be part of it and I am very honored that we can do this with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.
The history and friendship between the two bands goes back decades, including the Foo Fighters opening for the Chili Peppers on the latter. Californication tour in 1999. Following Hawkins’ death, Smith released a moving video filled with images of the two musicians together over the years and clearly relishing each other’s company. The video ends with Smith nodding to Hawkins when RHCP received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 31.
Smith calls Hawkins’ death “shocking”, but feels strongly that his energy still exists, even though it is on another plane. “The essence of his creative energy is somewhere in another universe and he was able to express it here in his short life,” Smith said. “Wherever he is, I strongly feel and believe he is doing his Taylor Hawkins like only he can. He is doing it elsewhere and giving that love and life to everyone wherever he is now that he is. did it here. So that comforts me a bit, but I miss the f— out of it.