Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith and Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron have apologised for comments they made about their friend Taylor Hawkins in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
In the article, published on Monday, quotes from Smith and Cameron spoke of Hawkins’ final months and his reported struggles with Foo Fighters’ extensive tour schedule.
“He had a heart-to-heart with Dave [Grohl] and, yeah, he told me that he ‘couldn’t [expletive] do it any more’ – those were his words,” Cameron was quoted as saying by Rolling Stone. “So I guess they did come to some understanding, but it just seems like the touring schedule got even crazier after that.”
In another quote, he said: “[A band like that] is a big machine [with] a lot of people on the payroll. So you’ve got to really be cognisant of the business side of something when it’s that big and that has inherent pressure, just like any business.
“He [Hawkins] tried to keep up. He just did whatever it took to keep up, and in the end he couldn’t keep up.”
Cameron also spoke of Hawkins’ apprehension at going back on tour following the pandemic. “[Foo Fighters] were the first ones to go back at it super hard, and [Taylor and I] definitely had discussions about that,” Cameron said.
“He was a little apprehensive, understandably, just because of all the Covid [expletive] that was going on. So there was all these different factors that were weighing on him stepping back into the ring.”
Smith told the publication that Hawkins had spoken to him about an incident in December 2021 when he lost consciousness on a plane from Chicago. “He just said he was exhausted and collapsed, and they had to pump him full of IVs and stuff,” Smith said. “He was dehydrated and all kinds of stuff.”
While it has not been confirmed, it is assumed the incident Smith is referencing occurred before the band’s scheduled appearance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The band were forced to cancel their performance at the last minute when an unnamed member was taken to hospital.
In an exclusive interview with The National at the time, concert promoter John Lickrish recalled receiving the news at 2.30am. The band had flown from Los Angeles to Chicago by private jet, where they were due to board an Etihad Airways flight direct to Abu Dhabi.
“It was the band’s management telling me that once the plane landed, a member of the band had to be rushed to a hospital in Chicago,” he said.
“My immediate reaction was to see if the person and the band were OK. Then the situation really hit me because the advance team from the Foo Fighters were already here in Abu Dhabi. The show was being set up, even the band’s gear had arrived.”
However, a representative for Foo Fighters told Rolling Stone that Hawkins did not lose consciousness on the plane and never raised concerns about being overworked.
Following the article being published, both Cameron and Smith have issued separate apologies for their quotes in the piece.
“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,” Cameron wrote. “My quotes were taken out of context and shaped into a narrative I had never intended.
“Taylor was a dear friend, and a next-level artist,” he said. “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 apologise that my participation may have caused harm to those for whom I have only the deepest respect and admiration.”
Smith’s statement echoed Cameron’s sentiment, describing Hawkins as “one of my best friends.”
“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,” Smith said.
“Instead, the story they wrote was sensationalised and misleading, and had I known I never would have agreed to participate. I apologise to his family and musical friends for any pain this may have caused. I miss Taylor every day.”
Hawkins was the long-time drummer of Foo Fighters. His body was found in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota in Colombia on March 25. He was 50.