Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 1, 2022, taking on the headline spot after Foo Fighters bowed out of the show. Following the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins on March 25, Foo Fighters have canceled their 2022 touring plans. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters band members have been linked for years, establishing a friendship that has even translated into their careers. Red Hot Chili Peppers have graciously taken on the role and responsibility of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival headline by planning to honor Hawkins in their performance.
After posting a “touching video tribute” Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has followed up by invited Alison Hawkins, Taylor Hawkins’ widow, to join them at the concert to celebrate him and his life. In describing the plans for the show, Smith said in an interview with Billboard: “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 honored that we can do that with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.”
Smith also discussed his shock at Hawkins’ death, but he finds comfort in knowing that Hawkins’ energy is still out there: “His creative energy is out in another universe somewhere and he was able to express that here in his short life… 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.”
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival performers and audience will surely feel Hawkins’ physical absence, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers performance will acknowledge and celebrate his life and energy in an upbeat memorial.
Photo Credit: Stephen Hoffmeister