Red Hot Chili Peppers honor Taylor Hawkins at Jazz Fest

Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith
Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Yaamava’ Resort & Casino (Getty Images)

At New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this past Sunday, The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed in place of Foo Fighters. Foo Fighters dropped out of the festival due to the untimely death of its long-time drummer Taylor Hawkins.

Taking to the mic at the end of its set, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith spoke about Hawkins’ death, and honored his memory with a few poignant words.

“We just found out about this two weeks ago, because Foo Fighters were supposed to play here tonight,” Smith said to the crowd, per Consequence Of Sound. “We love Foo Fighters, and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins. This means a lot to us to be able to play for them.”

Before leading the audience in shouting, “We love Taylor,” Smith revealed that members of Foo Fighters and Hawkins’ wife, Alison, were watching the performance from the wings of the stage.

“[Alison] He 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 be nothing but a positive experience,’” said Smith in an interview with Billboard prior to the tribute. “So we’re going to do all that and she’s going to be part of that and I’m very honored that we can do that with her. We’re going to play our hearts out.”

Another ode to Hawkins during the concert came in the form of a hawk outline on Smith’s drum set—similar to the tattoo the Foo Fighters drummer had on his arm. The name “Taylor” was written within it the hawk, according to‘s festival recap.

New Orleans Jazz Fest is one of many performances canceled by Foo Fighters, after the band decided to call-off all remaining tour dates in order to grieve Hawkins’ tragic passing on March 25. At this year’s Grammy Awards, Hawkins was honored with a video of the drummer set to the group’s song, “Hero.” The band also won three Grammys in the rock categories.


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