Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith Laments Participation in Interview About Taylor Hawkins in New Statement
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has issued a clarifying statement in the wake of a Rolling Stone story on Taylor Hawkins that emerged Monday (May 16). In the article, friends and collaborators of the late Foo Fighters drummer claimed he was unhappy with the Dave Grohl-led rock band's touring schedule and wanted to ease back.
The release of Smith's statement on Tuesday (May 17), which expresses regret for granting the interview and a misunderstanding about the long-running music outlet's overall intentions, echoes the one released the same day by Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, who also lamented his participation in the feature.
"Taylor was one of my best friends and I would do anything for his family," Smith says on social media. "I was asked by Rolling Stone to share some memories of our time together, which I thought was going to be the loving tribute he deserved. Instead, the story they wrote was sensationalized and misleading, and had I known I never would have agreed to participate. I apologize to his family and musical friends for any pain this may have caused. I miss Taylor every day."
Chad Smith Statement – May 17, 2022
Smith, Cameron and singer Sass Jordan (who worked with Hawkins in his early career) all shared similar recollections with Rolling Stone that Hawkins was having a difficult time keeping up with Foo Fighters' touring demands.
"[Foo Fighters] is a big machine [with] a lot of people on the payroll. So you've got to really be cognizant of the business side of something when it's that big and that has inherent pressure," Cameron said after claiming Hawkins and Grohl had a "heart-to-heart" conversation about why the drummer said he "couldn't fucking do it anymore."
"I guess they did come to some understanding," Cameron was quoted as saying, "but it just seems like the touring schedule got even crazier after that. … He tried to keep up. He just did whatever it took to keep up, and in the end he couldn't keep up."
Jordan corroborated the notion and suggested Hawkins was "tired of the whole game" and "finally spoke to Dave and really told him that he couldn't do this and that he wouldn't do it anymore."
Smith, meanwhile confirmed to Rolling Stone that it was Hawkins who was the then-unidentified member of Foos rushed to a Chicago hospital after boarding a flight last December.
"He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs and stuff," Smith told the magazine. "He was dehydrated and all kinds of stuff."
To Rolling Stone, a representative for Foo Fighters denied the story. "No, there was never a 'heart-to-heart' — or any sort of meeting on this topic — with Dave and [Foo Fighters' management]," they said. They added the plane incident was "not true."
The cause of Hawkins' death is still unknown after he was found dead in Bogota, Colombia, on March 25, before Foos were to play Festival Estereo Picnic. A preliminary toxicology report suggested he had 10 different substances in his system when he died. Both Cameron and Smith paid tribute to him after his death. Cameron is currently out from touring with Pearl Jam after testing positive for COVID.
In response to the publication of Rolling Stone's story, Cameron issued the statement seen below.