RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS‘ Chad Smith has apologized to Taylor Hawkins‘s family for the comments he made about the late FOO FIGHTERS drummer to Rolling Stone magazine.
On Monday (May 16),Rolling Stonepublished a report which contained claims made by a number of people, including several of Hawkins‘s best friends, that in the months leading up to his death he felt hesitant about returning to the road after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and wasn’t sure he would be able to remain a full-time member of the FOO FIGHTERS if they continued to tour at the same pace.
In the article, Smith confirmed to Rolling Stone that it was Hawkins who lost consciousness on board a plane in Chicago last December. News reports from the time described him anonymously as “a member of FOO FIGHTERS.” “He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs and stuff,” Chad, told Rolling Stone. “He was dehydrated and all kinds of stuff.” After the incident, Smith said Hawkins told him, “I can’t do it like this anymore.”
Earlier today, Smith released the following statement via social media: “Taylor was one of my best friends and I would do anything for his family. I was asking 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.”
The Rolling Stone report also included several quotes from PEARL JAM and SOUNDGARDEN‘s Matt Cameron, a close friend of Hawkins‘s for decades, who told the magazine that “[Taylor] had a heart-to-heart with Dave [Grohl, FOO FIGHTERS leader] and, yeah, he told me that he ‘couldn’t fucking do it anymore’ — those were his words. So I guess they did come to some understanding, but it just seems like the touring schedule got even crazier after that,” Matt said.
A couple of hours before Chad issued his statement, Matt took to his Instagram to write: “When I agreed to take part in the Rolling Stone article about Taylor, I assumed it would be a celebration of his life and work. My quotes were taken out of context and shaped into a narrative I never intended.
“Taylor was a dear friend, and a next level artist. I miss him. I have only the deepest love and respect for Taylor, Dave and the FOO FIGHTERS families.
“I am truly sorry to have taken part in this interview and I apologize that my participation may have caused harm to those for whom I have only the deepest respect and admiration.”
One person who seemingly corroborated Cameron‘s comments to Rolling Stone about Taylor‘s state of mind prior to his death is Hawkins‘s longtime friend and former boss, singer Sass Jordan, who was quoted in the report as saying: “Honestly, I think he was just so tired. Tired of the whole game.”
A colleague and friend of Hawkins‘s, who asked to remain anonymous, concurred, saying: “The fact that he finally spoke to Dave and really told him that he couldn’t do this and that he wouldn’t do it anymore, that was freeing for him. That took fucking balls. That did take a year of working up the guts to do.”
Cameron told Rolling Stone that he believes Hawkins agreed to continue touring with FOO FIGHTERS at the required pace to be a team player.
“[A band like that] is a big machine [with] a lot of people on the payroll,” Cameron said. “So you’ve got to really be cognizant of the business side of something when it’s that big and that has inherent pressure, just like any business.”
A rep for FOO FIGHTERS denied that Hawkins ever raised any of the issues brought up in the Rolling Stone report.
Rolling Stone says that it repeatedly asked Hawkins‘s family members and bandmates for interviews for the story, but Hawkins‘s family declined to comment.
Hawkins was found dead on March 25 at the Four Seasons Casa Medina hotel in Bogota, Colombia while FOO FIGHTERS were on tour. An official cause of death for Hawkins hasn’t yet been released, but on March 26, Colombia’s attorney general’s office issued a preliminary toxicology report, saying that medical examiners found evidence of 10 types of substances in Hawkins‘s body, including opioids, benzodiazepines, marijuana and antidepressants.
Rolling Stone‘s full report can be found at this location.