Chad Smith Talks Bombastic Meatbats, Led Zeppelin and Chickenfoot. - Interview

Chad Smith’s main job is playing drums for the legendary band, Red Hot Chili Peppers. When he’s not doing that, he’s rocking it up in the super group, Chickenfoot. As busy as Smith is, he still finds time to play in his side band, Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats. He recently stopped by to talk about the band and its new live album, “Live Meat and Potatoes.”

Q – Hello, Chad Smith?

A - This is me, this must be (pause) Jason!

Q – It is. How are you doing?

A - I’m well, how are you?

Q – I’m good. You’re obviously the long time drummer for the Chili Peppers and you also play in the super group Chickenfoot with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Joe Satriani. How did you get involved with Chickenfoot?

A - Chickenfooot came about in (pause)… I used to go down to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico - of course down there Sammy Hagar is like the Mayor pretty much - and we met down there and used to have these jam sessions and hung out and became friends. And then around 2008 the Chili Peppers took a break and I said to Sammy, ‘You always wanted to do something. Now would be a good time to play some music, and yeah, that was it.’ He grabbed Joe - he was friends with Sam - and we were off. We made some songs, a couple records, it’s been great fun. It stayed fun. Started as a fun thing and stayed that way which is really nice.

Q – How do you allocate your time with the three bands in regard to touring, recording, all the press stuff, etc.?

A - You just have to find the balance between what works. Of course the Chili Peppers is my main thing and that’s taking a lot of my time now and it has been for the last couple of years but prior to that, the Chickenfoot thing started and the Meatbats did as well, kind of around the same time, I just had some down time and I just like to play. I found some guys that wanted to play so there you go.

The thing with the Meatbats? We’re all LA based; the other guys play with other people as well so it’s kind of a fun thing to do on the side. When everyone’s around we try and plan something out.

Q – The Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot and Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats all have their own style of music, whether it is jazz, punk or rock. Do you prefer playing one style over another? Which genre do you enjoy the most and why?

A - They’re all different because it’d be pretty boring always doing the same thing. With the Chili Peppers we get to play just about anything we want and it’s very satisfying for a musician. The Chickenfoot thing is more for me; the music I kind of grew up with. That hard rock, blues that came out of the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. We’re not trying to do a retro thing or anything but that’s real easy for me to go there and those guys grew up on that stuff so that’s kind of what we do. Those people like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Who, Black Sabbath, I grew up on that stuff so that’s like going back to high school. I just try and be musical and play what’s right for all those different situations.


Q – Bombastic Meatbats’ new album is called ‘Live Meat and Potatoes.’ I got the chance to listen to it a couple times. What I love about it is it seems like you’re out there having fun, just jamming with friends. Why did you decide to put this group together?

A - We were playing - myself and the keyboard player Ed (Roth), Jeff (Kollman) the guitar player – with a guy named Glenn Hughes; he played with Deep Purple and is now a solo artist and we were kind of his band when he would play a few years ago when we were all around together and we were all just jamming on this kind of stuff and… sometimes singers are the last ones to show up for rehearsal; I don’t know why that is because they don’t have anything they have to carry (laughs). We would just play this music and I don’t know if it was me or somebody else that said, ‘Why don’t we just get together and play songs?’ That’s all it really was.

Q – What can fans expect from the live album?

A - On the live record, there’s a lot of improvising, a lot of jamming; we have 10 minute songs and shit. There’s song structure – there are verses, solos and choruses; it just doesn’t have the singing. You have to stay on your toes and make it very interesting for the listener. We have these musical conversations within the songs but I try and do that in every situation I’m in. When there are vocals you have to be very careful not to step on the singer, so in that way that’s different from the other bands.

Q – You kind of add some humor into the mix with some of your song titles like “Oops I Spilled My Beer” and “Pigs Feet” and the fact that the cover mocks KISS’s “Love Gun” album. Does the audience get a lot of the humor being that the songs are primarily instrumental?

A - I don’t know. I guess it’s kind of a lot of inside jokes with the titles and stuff. We don’t have words to sort of name songs so we just have to come up with stuff. Yeah, I think there’s a stereotype that all instrumental music is serious; no humor. Humor is very important in life, music and art. It’s just our personalities. When we get together, we’re knuckleheads. C’mon, our fucking name is Bombastic Meatbats (laughs). We take the music serious but when we perform we’re all kind of nutty. I’m definitely pretty loose and I want it to be fun.

Q – Which artist would you like to work with or tour with that you haven’t yet done so and why?

A - Led Zeppelin was my favorite band. I was jealous when Dave Grohl got to be in a band with John Paul Jones (Them Crooked Vultures). I’d like to play with Jimmy Page; that would be cool.

Q – I love the “Moby Dick” cover on the live album.

A - Yeah, but there’s no drum solo. That would be sacrilegious. That’s an homage. I’d like to jam with Page. He’s come to see us before. He likes the group.

Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats’ new live album, “Live Meat and Potatoes,” is now available at iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/live-meat-and-potatoes/id518961170?ls=1. For more information on Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats, visit them at: https://www.facebook.com/bombasticmeatbats.

BYLINE:

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