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

29 April 2022, 15:58

Red Hot Chili Peppers want to celebrate Tahylor Hawkins at New Orleans Jazz Festival
Red Hot Chili Peppers want to celebrate Tahylor Hawkins at New Orleans Jazz Festival. Picture: 1. Press 2. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty

By Jenny Mensah

The Unlimited Love outfit will replace Foo Fighters at the top of the bill at the event after the tragic passing of their drummer.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers plan to celebrate the life of Taylor Hawkins during their stand-in headline set.

The Black Summer rockers are set to fill in for Foo Fighters' slot at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, after the band cancelled all forthcoming tour dates due to the tragic death of their drummer on 25th March.

Speaking to Billboard about the event, which they will headline on Sunday 1st May, RHCP drummer Chad Smith said: "We’re taking Alison, his wife, with us and it’s going to be a celebration."

He continued: "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’.”

The percussionist, who is a close friend of Hawkins and asked him to be his son Beckett's godfather, added: "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."

READ MORE: Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith talks friendship with "beautiful" Taylor Hawkins

Chad Smith previously shared his sadness at the passing of the Foos drummer and "called him one of his best friends".

Asked about his untimely death, the drummer told Howard Stern: "I loved Taylor. He was one of my best friends. We're still so shocked and saddened by his passing."

"And he loved life," he added. "He was a real beacon and full of positive energy. I'm gonna miss him so much. He was a godfather to my son Beckett. We spent a lot of time together. These guys loved him too. We toured together a lot back in the late '90s and 2000s. We played a lot of shows with the Foo Fighters."

Speaking of the outpouring that's followed from all across the world, the rocker reflected: " It showed how much he was so loved".

READ MORE: Royal Blood pay tribute to Taylor Hawkins at The O2, London

The RHCP drummer isn't the only Chili Pepper to open up about the loss of Hawkins, with bassist Flea also paying tribute to him on Radio X.

Asked how he felt when he heard the news, the rocker told Johnny Vaughan: "Absolutely shocking. I love Taylor. He was an uplifting dude.

"You know, before I ever met Taylor and long before he every played in the Foo Fighters, one of my best friends growing up, my friend Tree who I started a music school with, he was teaching music in a music school down in Orange County in LA and he said ‘Man there’s this kid here selling guitar strings and he’s a star. He’s a drummer and I’m telling you he’s going to be a rock star’ and it was Taylor.”

“I’ve always loved Taylor," added the musician. "I had fun with him. We toured with them for years and years and you know, he’s best friends… was extremely close with our drummer Chad Smith and it’s a very devastating experience for Chad and everyone who was close to him, because he was a kind, generous, just fun dude and a killer drummer.

“And love to his family and love to everyone that knew him and god bless his beautiful heart”.

Asked if there was anything he would have wanted to say to the Foos drummer that he didn't get to tell him, the 59-year-old rocker reflected: “Nah, man. I’m pretty up front with my feelings. I was always like, ‘Taylor I love you dude, you rock’. That’s what I would have wanted to say. ‘You’re a beautiful person’ and I’m sure I told him that.”

READ MORE: Chad Smith supports daughter Ava Maybee on American Idol