Chad Smith Doesn’t Have Regrets About Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Woodstock Performance
Woodstock ’99 was supposed to be about peace, but the festival quickly became a nightmare due to poor organization and a raging audience. Red Hot Chili Peppers was scheduled to perform as the festival’s final act, but things wouldn’t go as planned. However, while chatting with Raised On Radio, drummer Chad Smith said that he enjoyed the festival and had no regrets about their show.
As RHCP was getting ready to take the stage, the audience was given hundreds of candles to pay tribute to those who died in the Columbine shooting. The organizers were well intended, but it surely wasn’t a good idea as the raging crowd decided to set things on fire.
Meanwhile, Jimi Hendrix’s sister visited the Chilis backstage to ask the band to pay homage to her late brother. RHCP accepted to pay tribute to Hendrix, but unbeknownst to them, their song of choice was a bit ironic. The band decided to play Hendrix’s track, ‘Fire,’ as there was an actual fire outside, and well, it didn’t seem too good for them.
Since there have been numerous rumors and accusations against the Chilis and their performance, Netflix and HBO recently released two different documentaries, ‘Trainwreck: Woodstock 99” and ‘Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage,’ about the festival portraying RHCP in a bad light. Chad Smith addressed these documentaries while discussing the festival.
“There was this movie about this Woodstock Festival not too long ago,” told Chad. “In the late ’90s, we played, and obviously, a bunch of other bands played. And it was not a positive experience for a lot of people, but some people loved it. I knew people who were like, ‘It was the greatest thing I’ve ever done.’ But two hundred fifty thousand people, you may get a lot of varying experience.”
He continued, “But you know, I think I didn’t want it, but we were portrayed like the bad guys because there was fire happening, and we played Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire’ song at the end. How did we do that?”
Smith then addressed how they were blamed for the chaos. “Everybody, you know, you got your narrative. It’s easy to do that. But yeah, I don’t have any regrets about playing that show. It was fun for me. I saw people having a great time. We played our show, and we left. The next day I saw the news.”
The drummer discussed how they were portrayed in the news. “‘This guy played, and it was all fun, and when the Chili Peppers came, hell broke loose.’ To me, it [the fire] looked like a tiny little hamburger stand, a grease fire. It was like a mile away.”
The festival was a poorly organized disaster from the very beginning, but RHCP was blamed primarily due to their performance of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire.’ However, even though the Woodstock ’99 was a disaster, its predecessor wasn’t that great either. Check out how Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick criticized Woodstock ’69 and Joni Mitchell as she recalled the festival.