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Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute to Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins

Drummer Chad Smith initiated a cheer of "We love you, Taylor!"

By Hollie Geraghty

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith paid tribute to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins (Pictures: Wikimedia creative commons/ Stefan Brending/ Alamy)

Red Hot Chili Peppers paid tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins during Jazz Fest in New Orleans yesterday (May 1).

The band closed out the festival in place of Foo Fighters, who cancelled all 2022 tour dates following Hawkins’ death on March 25.

Towards the end of the Chili Peppers’ 90-minute set set, drummer Chad Smith, who was a close friend of Hawkins, 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!”

Smith had “Taylor” and a hawk silhouette emblazoned on his drum kit, like the one Hawkins had tattooed on his arm.

In a pre-show interview, Smith explained that the set would pay tribute to the late Foo Fighters drummer.

“We’re taking Alison, his wife, with us and it’s going to be a celebration,” he told the Billboard.

“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’.”

He 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.”

Smith also described Hawkins’ death as “shocking”, adding that he believes his energy still exists.

“His essence of his creative energy is out in another universe somewhere and he was able to express that here in his short life,” he said. “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 f*ck out of him.”

Many artists have paid tribute to Hawkins including Billie Eilish, Brian May, Johnny Marr, Elton John and Coldplay. Travis Barker also got a hawk tattoo in memory of his fellow sticksman.