Red Hot Chili Peppers Invite Taylor Hawkins’ Wife for Celebration at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest
The bond between Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Foo Fighters stickman Taylor Hawkins has been well established, with Smith posting a touching video tribute to Hawkins after his death. Now, Red Hot Chili Peppers are stepping into Foo Fighters' headline spot at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and they plan to celebrate Hawkins while doing so.
According to Smith, the band has invited Alison Hawkins, Taylor's widow, to join them at the concert, and they intend to keep things upbeat during the music weekend. The band will take the stage this Sunday (May 1).
“We’re taking Alison, his wife, with us and it’s going to be a celebration,” Smith told 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 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 honored that we can do that with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.”
Foo Fighters revealed that after Hawkins' March 25 death while on tour with the band that they would understandably be bowing out of their 2022 touring plans. With the group set to headline multiple festivals this year, a number of name acts have filled the void, with Chili Peppers handling headline duties at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
The two bands had a long-running friendship, with the Foo Fighters even opening for the Chili Peppers on their 1999 Californication tour. Smith also joined the Foo Fighters for a guest appearance during a 2015 show in New York City.
Smith told Billboard that he found Hawkins' death "shocking," but feels the drummer's 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,” Smith says. “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— out of him.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers will play at 5:30PM on the Festival Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this Sunday (May 1).