Introduced by legendary comedy duo Cheech & Chong as one of their “favorite bands of all time,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey on Sunday (Aug. 28) as the recipients of the 2022 Global Icon award — commemorating the win with a two-song performance and some very emotional acceptance speeches.
The band kicked off their performance with “Black Summer,” the lead single from their 2022 album Unlimited Love, getting the Prudential Center crowd’s hands swaying in the air. They then transitioned into the funky slap-bass grooves of their 2003 By the Way single “Can’t Stop,” the group working themselves into such a frenzy that drummer Chad Smith tossed his drumstick in the air during a break and missed catching it on the way back down.
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“I did want to thank the sassy.mistress known as MTV for supporting us for 1000 years or more,” frontman Anthony Kiedis began the band’s acceptance speech following the medley. “But really, really, really, I want to think Flea and John and Chad Smith… for giving me a purpose in life for the past 40 years.”
Smith’s kit displayed a “TAYLOR” decal on the bass drum during his performance, in tribute to the late Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters, the VMAs’ 2021 Global Icon recipient. “There’s another musical icon — global icon — and his name is my brother Taylor Hawkins,” Smith explained in his speech. “And I wanna dedicate this to Taylor and his family — I love them, and I miss him every day. Fly on, Hawk.”
Bassist Flea was the most effusive of all in his speech — expressing his love not only for his bandmates, family and fans, but also for “cockroaches and dirt and trees, and every human being… and deer and deer antlers, and birds and sky.” He ended by concluding: “Everything that isn’t love is cowardice.”
Unlimited Love debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart earlier this year, while “Black Summer” topped Billboard‘s Rock & Alternative Airplay chart. The group has won eight competitive VMAs in their career — most recently taking home best art direction in a video in 2006 for “Dani California.”