Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers Talks About the Band’s Sound and Longevity. - Interview

Chad Smith has been the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer since 1988. When he 's not doing that, he's rocking out in the super group, Chickenfoot, and his own side band, Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats. He recently phoned in to talk about the legendary band that made him famous.

Thanks for calling. Congrats on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Rock Hall induction.

Oh, thank you! Yeah, it seems like eons ago. But nice!

It's not like I talk to you every day so I have to tell you when I do talk to you.

(Laughs) Thank you very much. It was our sincere pleasure and honor.

(Photo credit: Ellen von Unwerth)

I've been a fan of the Chili Peppers for a long, long time, and with the music industry always changing, it seems like your sound has stayed, for the most part, the same. Do you have the key to longevity?

Yes, I have this fountain outside of my house, and I drink from it every day. Don't tell anybody where I live (laughs). You know, we just do our thing, and we've always just done our thing. We're always influenced by everything in life; whatever you do, you're a product of your surroundings, people, places, and things, but we've never tried to be a part of some trend.

What I do like about the Chili Peppers is that I could hear one note and know that it's you guys. You definitely have a unique sound.

Yeah, we do have an identifiable sound. Certainly Anthony's (Kiedis) singing style and voice lends itself to being unique, and nobody sounds like him. The cool thing about it is we can play any style of music whether it's hard and fast, or loud or quiet, slow or medium, whatever it is; rock or funk, and it still sounds like us. I'm proud of that because sometimes bands don't have that strong personality where you go, "Oh, that's boom, right away." There's a lot of generic shit out there. There's a lot of good stuff, too; you just have to go out and find it. The sound of our instruments, the unique chemistry of us, and of course, Anthony's voice makes for something special.

Being a part of one of the most successful bands in history, are there groups out there that you still get excited about?

All the time. We played the Staples Center one weekend and this band, Off! -- they're from California; they're like old school punk rock -- they're like the real thing, good band, good songs, it was very exciting. I was like, "Wow! This is great." It was so great. Then we went up and played a couple nights in Oakland, and we had a band, Little Dragon, from Gothenburg, Sweden, playing with us. They're just a completely different thing; so unique and they're so genuine. So yeah, all the time. A lot of our opening bands are fun for me, and I love to see new music and new people. I love that people come out and support live music. I've been on the road with the Chili Peppers for the last year, and people are coming out to see us from all over the world, and I'm so grateful. We're so appreciative, and it's from playing live and connecting with people, uplifting people. That's what I want to do whenever I play, with whoever I play.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at
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