Red Hot Chili Peppers were on hand at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday to receive the Global Icon Award, and with it delivered their first VMA performance in over two decades. During the band’s acceptance speech, drummer Chad Smith remembered his late colleague and friend, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins.
“There’s another musical icon, global icon, and his name is my brother Taylor Hawkins,” Smith said after taking the mic from Anthony Kiedis. “I want to dedicate this to Taylor and his family. I love them, and I miss him every day. Fly on, Hawk. Fly on, brother.”
Legendary comedy duo Cheech & Chong presented Anthony Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante, and Chad Smith as they took the stage, starting with a rendition of “Black Summer” as Kleidis, in a red mesh top, ran around the stage. John Frusciante ripped on the guitar, and Flea head-bopped while playing bass.
The legendary group performed their 2002 hit “Can’t Stop” from By the Way, as Smith threw his drumstick in the air and failed to catch it. (The tricks aren’t going as smoothly anymore.)
Cheech and Chong came back on stage to bring the group their trophy before Kiedis and Flea gave a hippie-like speech.
“I also want to thank planet Earth and the people of planet Earth for listening and caring and paying attention to what we do. It’s a blessing. But really, really, really, really, really, I want to thank Flea and John and Chad fucking Smith for giving me a purpose in my life for the last 40 years,” said Kiedis. “I would have been a free-floating disaster in space if not for these boys. So thank you, boys, for giving me something to do with my life and love.”
Flea’s speech took the prize for the weirdest though (and Dove Cameron’s face said it all): “I love cockroaches and dirt and trees and every human being in the [bleep covered it]. And fishing, and deers, and deer antlers, and birds, and the sky and love. And everything that isn’t love is cowardice. I love you.”
The Chili Peppers last appeared on the VMAs back in 2000, when they were the recipients of that year’s prestigious Video Vanguard Award; they also performed their then-hit “Californication” on the award show.
As opposed to the Video Vanguard Award — this year given to Nicki Minaj — the Global Icon Award celebrates “an artist or band whose unparalleled career, continued impact and influence have maintained a unique level of global success in music and beyond, leaving an indelible mark on the music landscape.” (The Foo Fighters were awarded Global Icon status in 2021.)
Red Hot Chili Peppers, also nominated for Best Rock Video for their Unlimited Love single “Black Summer” and the fan-voted Group of the Year, will next release Return of the Dream Canteen, their second double album of 2022, in October.