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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith honours Taylor Hawkins at VMAs

"Fly on, Hawk. Fly on, brother"

By Hollie Geraghty

Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Picture: Clara Balzary)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers paid tribute to Taylor Hawkins at the MTV VMAs yesterday (28 August), dedicating their award to the late Foo Fighters drummer.

The band was honoured with the Global Icon Award at the ceremony, which took place at the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey. In their acceptance speech, drummer Chad Smith honoured the late Hawkins, who died in March this year, aged 50.

“There’s another musical icon, a global icon, and his name is my brother Taylor Hawkins,” Smith said. “And I want to dedicate this to Taylor and his family. I love him. And I miss him every day. Fly on, Hawk. Fly on, brother.” Last year, the Foo Fighters were honoured with the same award.

Smith is among a host of acts that will pay tribute to the drummer at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in Los Angeles on 27 September, alongside the likes of Travis Barker, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Mark Ronson, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, and more.

The London date will take place 3 September at Wembley Stadium, and boasts a star-studded line-up in including Liam Gallagher, Ronson, Nile Rodgers, The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, 12-year-old viral drumming sensation Nandi Bushell and more.

The VMAs ceremony is not the first time Smith has remembered Hawkins, who also led a tribute to the late drummer at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest in May, where the Foo Fighters were originally scheduled to perform.

Towards the end of the Chili Peppers’ 90-minute set set, Smith addressed the crowd. “We love the Foo Fighters and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins. It’s meant a lot to us to be able to play for them.”

He acknowledged that Hawkins’ family and Foo Fighters members were in attendance, before initiating a cheer from the crowd of: “We love you, Taylor!”

The drummer has previously described Hawkins’ death as “shocking” to Billboard, adding that they wanted the Jazz Fest to be a “celebration”.

The upcoming London tribute show will be streamed on Paramount+ in the US, MTV’s YouTube channels globally, and Pluto TV internationally. You can find information on how to watch here.