Chad Smith pays tribute to Taylor Hawkins as RHCP step in for New Orleans Jazz Festival headline slot

Chad Smith, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
(Image credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith took a moment to pay tribute to his good friend and late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins during the band’s headline set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this weekend.

Foo Fighters were originally due to headline, but RHCP stepped in following Foo Fighters’ cancellation of all scheduled tour dates in the wake of Hawkins’ death. Chad Smith took to the mic at the end of the band’s set - during which his DW kit was adorned with a black resonant head featuring Hawkins’ Hawk logo with ‘Taylor’ written inside.

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

"The guys in the band are here, they’re supporting. Taylor’s wife Alison is here, the whole family. We love them, we love Taylor.” Smith added, before asking the audience to join him chanting ‘We love Taylor’.

Before the event, Smith told Billboard about the band’s plan to make the set a celebration of Taylor’s life, “We’re taking Alison, his wife with us and it’s going to be a celebration. 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.'

“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 has paid tribute to his close friend Taylor - who was godfather to Smith’s son Beckett - multiple times since Hawkins’ passing. During the RHCP’s Hollywood Walk of Fame induction Smith said “I have to give a shoutout to my brother Taylor Hawkins. I love you, Taylor. He would laugh and make a smart ass comment about this whole thing."

More recently, Smith shared a compilation video featuring clips of him and Taylor over the years, as well as a short piece of footage of his son Beckett jamming with Taylor Hawkins’ son, Shane at Hawkins’ home studio. 


Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.