Chad Smith

For other people named Chad Smith, see Chad Smith (disambiguation).
Chad Smith

Smith in 2007
Background information
Birth name Chadwick Gaylord Smith
Born (1961-10-25) October 25, 1961
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Genres Funk rock, alternative rock, hard rock, funk metal, heavy metal, experimental rock, jazz-funk
Instruments Drums
Years active 1988–present
Associated acts Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot, Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, Glenn Hughes, HSAS, The Process, Residente, Tom Morello, Dick Van Dyke

Chadwick "Chad" Gaylord Smith[1] (born October 25, 1961)[2][3] is an American musician and the current drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which he joined in 1988. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Smith is also the drummer of the hard rock supergroup Chickenfoot, formed in 2008, and is currently the all-instrumental outfit Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, who formed in 2007. As one of the most highly sought-after drummers, Smith has recorded with Glenn Hughes, Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, The Dixie Chicks, Jennifer Nettles, Kid Rock, Jake Bugg, and The Avett Brothers. In 2010, joined by Dick Van Dyke and Leslie Bixler, he released Rhythm Train, a critically acclaimed children's album which featured Smith singing and playing various instruments.

Widely regarded as one of rock music's best drummers, Spin magazine placed Smith at #10 on their list of the "100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music" in May 2013.[4] Readers of UK-based Rhythm magazine ranked Smith and Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea the fourth-greatest rhythm section of all time in their June 2013 issue.[5] Smith is also known for his charity work especially with young musicians. Smith has been a lobbyist in support of music education in U.S. public schools. Smith is also widely known for the strong resemblance between himself and comedian Will Ferrell, which has led to various comparisons over the years and eventually led to a staged public feud and drum battle for charity.

Early life

Smith was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the third child of Curtis and Joan Smith. He spent most of his childhood in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he graduated from Lahser High School in 1980. He started to play drums at age seven and grew up listening mainly to bands such as Rush, The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Kiss.[6] He also cites Ian Paice, Mitch Mitchell, Bill Ward, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Stewart Copeland, and Neil Peart as early influences on his drumming.[6]

Smith spent his early years in various rock bands including Pharroh and Michigan-based band Toby Redd. Pharroh's percussionist Larry Fratangelo, who also worked with Parliament-Funkadelic, introduced Smith to R&B and funk music and taught him how to play funk. Smith said, "I think up until then, I was a drummer. Once I studied with Larry, I turned into a musician."[7] Funk drummers like David Garibaldi, Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Greg Errico caught his attention and influenced his style a lot.[8] Later, Smith decided to move to California to pursue his musical aspirations.

Music career

Red Hot Chili Peppers (1988–present)

In 1988, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were looking for a replacement for their drummer D.H. Peligro, who had recently been fired. Already into the process of working on their fourth studio album and hiring new guitarist, John Frusciante, the band held open auditions for a new drummer. Smith was one of the last drummers to audition for the band and the band felt that on looks alone, Smith would be the wrong fit as he looked more hair-metal than punk. Nonetheless, the band was blown away by his audition. Singer Anthony Kiedis admired Smith and found his persistence impressive.[9] Smith joined the Chili Peppers in December 1988 and within a few months was recording his first album with the band, Mother's Milk. Smith reflected on joining the band in a 2012 interview by saying “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, cool, they have a record deal. Great! I’d love to be in a band that has a record deal. We started playing, and right away we just hit it off musically. I was like, ‘Man, this is a blast! These guys are great!’ ... We were just doing what we do. We just jammed, which is what we still do today. It’s very similar.”[10]

After a successful world-wide tour in support of Mother's Milk the band released their major label debut, 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik which was hugely successful upon its release peaking at number three on the Billboard charts, and went on to sell thirteen million copies worldwide. It went on to be nominated and win several awards and is listed on many critics lists of the best albums of the year. Shortly into the tour for the album, Frusciante quit the band in 1992 and was replaced by Arik Marshall for the remainder of the tour. Marshall was fired following the tour and briefly replaced by Jesse Tobias who was let go in favor of Dave Navarro in 1994. With Navarro intact, the band would release 1995's One Hot Minute. Navarro too would end up being fired in 1998 following the tour to support the album and replaced with a returning John Frusciante. With Frusciante back, the band released 1999's Californication, their biggest selling album to date. That album was followed by 2002's By the Way and 2006's Stadium Arcadium, the band's first number one album in the United States. Frusciante again quit the band in 2008 and was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer in 2009. With Klinghoffer, the band released their tenth studio album (and Smith's seventh with the band), I'm with You in 2011.

In April 2012, the Chili Peppers were inducted by Chris Rock into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Smith and the Chili Peppers wrapped up I'm With You World Tour in April 2013. The Chili Peppers launched another lengthy tour in May 2013 and it kept them on the road until June 2014. During this time, the band appeared alongside Bruno Mars at the halftime for the Super Bowl in February 2014. Smith confirmed that the Chili Peppers would begin work on their eleventh studio album that same month. Production eventually began in January 2015 with Danger Mouse replacing Rick Rubin as the band's producer. A month later, bassist Flea was injured during a skiing accident delaying production until August 2015. The Getaway was released on June 17, 2016.

Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats (2007–present)

In 2007, Smith, along with fellow Glenn Hughes alumni, guitarist Jeff Kollman and keyboardist Ed Roth, formed an all-instrumental band inspired by their shared love of 1970s funk and fusion. Still unnamed at the time, the group, rounded out by bassist Kevin Chown, debuted at the 2008 NAMM show in Anaheim, California. The band has released two studio albums and a double live disc as Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats since its inception.[8]

Chickenfoot (2008–present)

Following a lengthy world tour in support of Stadium Arcadium, the Chili Peppers decided to take a break in 2008. During this break, Smith joined the hard rock supergroup Chickenfoot, whose other members are Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani and Michael Anthony. The group has released two studio albums, a live album and a box set to date with Smith. Due to touring commitments with the Chili Peppers in 2011, Smith was unable to tour with Chickenfoot and was replaced by Kenny Aronoff. In 2012, Smith rejoined Chickenfoot for a four-song encore and the band briefly reunited for only two shows on May 7, and May 8, 2016 at Harrah's Showroom at South Lake Tahoe.[11] During the show, the band debuted a brand new song titled "Divine Termination." [12] In June 2016, Smith discussed the future of Chickenfoot touring and recording new music saying that "everyone has different things going on. We really enjoy playing together, but with my schedule I don't see us playing too much. I would love to make some new music with those guys, but we'd have to be in the same room at the same time. I just don't know. It's up in the air. I love playing with those guys, though. It's a real treat.[13]

Other projects

Smith is highly sought after as one of the industry's top session musicians. Smith has worked with many big name artists including Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, Dixie Chicks, Jennifer Nettles, Kid Rock and Jake Bugg among many others. Smith has also performed on four albums and one live album with Glenn Hughes.

In 2008, Smith was a judge for the 7th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers that same year.

Smith released 2010's Rhythm Train, a critically acclaimed children's album which he recorded with Dick Van Dyke and Leslie Bixler.[14] In April 2010, MTV named Rhythm Train one of the best children's records of all time.

Smith released The Chad Smith Drum App in March 2012, which is free mobile application for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and features his "Drummer GPS". The GPS section of the app spotlights drummers Smith has been influenced by and those he regards as some of the best drummers around today. The Chad Smith Drum App has received great praise from both fans and from fellow drummers.. In May 2013, Smith launched In Conversation with Chad Smith, his own podcast through MusicRadar where he interviews other musical artists.[15]

Smith joined Sammy Hagar in the studio to work on music for his twelfth studio album. They were joined by guitarist Neal Schon and bassist Michael Anthony and according to Hagar it was the rebirth of his 1980s band HSAS, which featured Schon and two other members.[16] In 2013, Smith joined jazz musician Jon Batiste and bassist/producer Bill Laswell to create a unique musical group to score a film that had yet to be written and will never be made. The album, The Process, was released on November 4, 2014.[17]

Smith appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers from June 15–19 sitting in on drums with The 8G Band.

Resemblance to Will Ferrell

Smith is widely known for his strong resemblance to actor and comedian Will Ferrell, who is almost six years his junior, which he has acknowledged by wearing shirts reading "I Am Not Will Ferrell" in live performances. Smith said that the two first met during the premiere of the film The Ladies Man. He said, "I'm looking at Will and thinking, 'People really think I look like him? I don't fucking look like that. He looks me up and down and says, 'You're very handsome,' and walks away. Totally deadpan. I was like, 'You're funny. You're funny.'"

In February 2014, through Funny or Die, Smith called out Ferrell during his reddit fan interview, blasting his drumming skills by saying, "I've seen your skills. You don't got 'em. Mr. Ferrell is a delusional imposter. It seems to me that he has gone off his meds and he needs to seek professional help because I am obviously more talented and handsome than he is. You know, his cowbell work is well-documented, but his drumset skills are nominal based on Step Brothers film. Other than wiping his testicles on the drums, which of course I give high marks to." Ferrell actually responded during Smith's interview saying, "Hi, Chad. Will Ferrell here. I saw your video and I graciously accept your invitation to a drum battle. If we can raise $300,000 for Cancer for College I will face off with you in the greatest drum vs. cowbell showdown the world has ever seen. We can do it on stage at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert or in front of a mutually convenient public library. Your call. Also, would you rather fight a hundred duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?" Smith replied, "Tell Will Ferrell anytime, anyplace, I'll take him down. I don't want to embarrass him, but I'd say don't bring your family. Especially children. I don't want them to see this." Smith followed it up by tweeting a picture of himself giving blood with the caption, "Gettin juiced for the drum battle."[18][19] Ferrell set up a website where fans could donate to Cancer for College to make the drum battle a reality.[20]

Smith released a promotional image to his Facebook page announcing a 2014 drum-off with Ferrell.,[21] which took place on May 22, 2014 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Smith told Rolling Stone, "We're going to have a drum-off to see who the real Chad Smith is. I'm all for it. But unless Will's been practicing or is secretly a crazy, wild drummer, I think it'll be evident right off the bat who the real Chad Smith is. I'm ready to take him down." Asked to rate Ferrell's skills, Smith replied, "Terrible. I hope he's practicing," to which Ferrell responded, "I have not been practicing. There's no amount of practice that would help me become a good drummer." Smith later said, "Ever since the Super Bowl, this delusional imposter claiming to be me has forced me to defend my identity. What's up with that? I don't understand why he, all of a sudden, decided he wants to be me. It's not enough to be one of the biggest movie stars in the world? It is going to be complete public humiliation on the part of Will Ferrell. "If I win, he has to wash my car for a month and give me pedicures. If I lose, I have to be his stand-in for his next film."[22] The bout raised more than $300,000 in donations for the charity Cancer for College.[23] A special limited edition T-shirt was sold to promote the event with 100% of the proceeds split between Ferrell's Cancer for College charity and Smith's Little Kids Rock charity.[24]

The duo appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for an interview segment where both were dressed alike. Smith pretended to be Ferrell, Ferrell pretended to be Smith. Following the interview, they competed in their drum battle with Smith clearly the better drummer however Ferrell was given the win and a giant golden cowbell award. Both were then joined by the rest of the Chili Peppers for a performance of "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult with Ferrell playing cowbell—a joke from his classic "More Cowbell" Saturday Night Live skit, in which "Tonight show" host Jimmy Fallon also played a role, coincidentally, as the former Blue Öyster Cult drummer, Albert Bouchard. The Chili Peppers then joined The Roots for a performance of Parliament Funkadelic's "Standing on the Verge of Getting It On" and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away".[25]

On June 10, 2014, Smith and Ferrell challenged Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich to a drum-off citing that he was an imposter and resembled both of them as well. Ferrell commented, "Lars gets pissed because he gets mistaken for both me and Chad Smith. He can settle that score now, too." Smith added, "There it is. The gauntlet is down."[26][27] Two days later, Ulrich accepted the challenge saying "It was a little lonely on the sidelines during the first drum-off, given the somewhat forced nature of the lookalike element between Chad Smith and Will Ferrell, when I'm TRULY the one carrying that dead-ringer gene around!"[28]

On April 29, 2016, Smith and Ferrell hosted the Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera. The show featured a performance by Red Hot Chili Peppers along with comedy acts booked by Ferrell and Funny or Die. Portions of the proceeds went to Ferrell's Cancer for College and Smith's Silverlake Conservatory of Music.[29]

Personal life

Smith has two older siblings, Bradley and sister Pamela. Smith lives in Malibu, California with his second wife, architect Nancy Mack whom he married in 2004 and with whom he has three children, Cole (born 2005), Beckett (born 2009) and a third child born in 2012. From 1996–1997, Smith was married to Maria St John with whom Smith had a daughter, Manon (born 1996). He also has two other children, Justin (born 1997) and Ava (born 2000) through other relationships and spends time also living in New York to help raise his other children. When discussing his relationships and marriages Smith said "I’m the dumper. I fall in love easily, but I get restless. I’ll figure it out one day. Can we talk about something else?"[2][30]

Charity work

Smith is an active supporter of a number of non-profit organizations including Surfer's Healing, SeriousFun Network, MusiCares, Silverlake Conservatory of Music, Guitar Mash NY, Camp Korey and Little Kids Rock which he discussed in an interview with Making Music Magazine.[31]

In April 2013, Smith was asked by NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, to represent the music community by going to Washington, D.C. as a lobbyist in support of music education in US public schools. While in DC, Smith had the opportunity to meet with congressional leaders and share his experience as a student who learned his craft entirely within the public school system. Smith has since been invited back to lobby in April 2014 in support of public school music education.

In 2014, Smith joined Bystander Revolution a group that speaks out against bullying in schools and tries to find solutions. Smith released a few videos discussing his own childhood being bullied along with his son's recent experiences with bullies.[32]

On May 21, 2014, Smith appeared along with other celebrities in Washington, D.C. at a White House talent show held by Michelle Obama which was organized to raise awareness for Turnaround Arts, a program enacted under the guidance of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) to increase performance and achievement at some of the lowest-ranked schools in the country through arts education. Students from eight schools around the country participated in the show which featured musical theatre, spoken word and interpretative dance. President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the event. Smith adopted a school in Greenfield, California also lobbied Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner for increased funding for arts education and that it is a personal issue for him. Smith said "I didn't give a shit about science, math or English when I was in school and music was the only reason I wanted to go. It got me interested in other subjects and I would've never graduated without it. If kids can connect with some sort of art in some way, it will enrich their lives in ways they probably can't fully comprehend at the time." Earlier in the week, Smith was joined by former New York Yankee and musician, Bernie Williams at Savoy Elementary School in Washington, D.C. where together they taught a music class. "These are schools where the kids look down at their feet and have no hope and don't feel like they mean anything. They have no self-worth. They need something. This is not a photo-op and just throwing some money. You really roll your sleeves up and immerse yourself in the school." Smith said.[33]

Smith appeared at Sammy Hagar and James Hetfield's 2nd annual Acoustic-4-A-Cure benefit concert in San Francisco, California on May 15, 2015. The benefit was held to raise money and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Smith was joined onstage by Pat Monahan of the band Train and comedian Adam Sandler for a performance of Aerosmith's "Dream On" and Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On".[34]

The following day on May 16, 2015, Smith was honored by national nonprofit, Little Kids Rock at its annual Family Jam benefit at Facebook's Menlo Park campus for his work to help expand public schoolchildren's access to music education with the "Livin' The Dream Award". In a statement on receiving the award Smith said "It is such an honor for me to be recognized by an amazing charity like Little Kids Rock for supporting their work to keep music education thriving in our schools. Music has made such a tremendous impact in my life and I am blessed to be able to give that gift back to the next generation of music makers!"[35]

Smith along with his Chili Peppers bandmates announced in September 2015 that they would be supporting Bernie Sanders in his campaign for the 2016 presidential election.[36] In February 2016, the Chili Peppers performed on behalf of Sanders at his "Feel the Bern" campaign fundraiser.[37]


In March 2016 Smith endorsed DW Drums.[38]


Red Hot Chili Peppers

Glenn Hughes


Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats

Collaborative albums

Other appearances


  1. Goldstein, Jack; Taylor, Frankie (2012). 101 Amazing Red Hot Chili Peppers Facts. Andrews UK Limited. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-78234-404-9 via Google Books.
  2. 1 2 "Chad Smith : Biography". Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  3. "Chad Smith – Bio & Drum Videos". October 25, 1961. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  4. "Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) – The 100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music". SPIN. May 21, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  5. "The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time – part 2 :Chad Smith & Flea". MusicRadar. February 27, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Chad Smith talks about the Red Hot Chili Peppers induction into the Hall of Fame in 2012". Modern Drummer. August 17, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  7. "Exclusive Interview With Chad Chatting About New Peppers' Material And Diverse Drumming and Musicianship". Drum Magazine. July 27, 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Chad Smith: 'We Just Jam And It's Fun'". Ultimate Guitar. October 23, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  9. Kiedis, Anthony; Sloman, Larry (2004). Scar Tissue. Time Warner Books.
  10. "Chad Smith talks about the Red Hot Chili Peppers induction into the Hall of Fame in 2012". March 30, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  11. "Due to Overwhelming Demand 2nd Reunion Concert Added May 8 in South Lake Tahoe!". Chickenfoot. March 13, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  12. "Video: CHICKENFOOT Debuts Brand New Song 'Divine Termination' In Lake Tahoe". May 9, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  13. Greene, Andy (June 20, 2016). "Chad Smith on New RHCP LP, Befriending Will Ferrell". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  14. "Talking Kids (and Music) With Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers". Red Tricycle. March 28, 2011.
  15. "Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith to Kick off Podcast Interview Series". Audio Ink Radio. May 12, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  16. "Sammy Hagar Re-Forms HSAS With Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer Chad Smith". Loudwire. May 16, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  17. "THE PROCESS, with Bill Laswell, Jon Batiste, and Chad Smith coming this fall!". Vimeo. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  18. Newman, Jason (February 7, 2014). "Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith to Will Ferrell: 'Stop Impersonating Me'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 12, 2014..
  19. Newman, Jason (June 28, 2013). "Will Ferrell Accepts Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer Chad Smith's Drum Challenge". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  20. "Win A Nice Little Getaway with Will Ferrell". Prizeo. January 14, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  21. "Chad Smith – Mobile Uploads". Facebook. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  22. "Exclusive: Chad Smith, Will Ferrell talk trash for 'Fallon' drum-off". Rolling Stone. May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  23. "The Will Ferrell-Chad Smith Drum Battle Now Has a Date and Venue". SPIN. May 16, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  24. "Official Will Ferrell vs. Chad Smith Drum Off 2014 T-Shirt". Represent. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  25. Newman, Jason (May 23, 2014). "Red Hot Chili Peppers Surprise Will Ferrell, Chad Smith Drum-Off on 'Jimmy Fallon'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  26. Hogan, Marc (June 10, 2014). "Q&A: Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Challenge Metallica's Lars Ulrich to Drum-Off". SPIN. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  27. Grow, Kory (June 10, 2014). "Will Ferrell and Chad Smith's Next Drum-Off Target: Metallica's Lars Ulrich". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  28. "Lars Ulrich Accepts Will Ferrell and Chad Smith's Drum-Off Challenge". SPIN. June 12, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  29. "Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith And Will Ferrell Reunite For Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera". SPIN. March 7, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  30. "Chad Smith Biography". The Chili March 3, 1997. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  31. Yurco, Cherie (November 1, 2014). "Chad Smith: Brings Home The Message Kids Need". Making Music Mag. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  32. "Chad Smith; Being Different". Bystander Revolution. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  33. Newman, Jason (May 22, 2014). "Barack Obama Joins RHCP's Chad Smith for White House Talent Show". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  34. "Sammy Hagar and James Hetfield Host Stars at Acoustic Gig". May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  35. "National Nonprofit Little Kids Rock to Honor Chad Smith at Family-Friendly Fundraiser at Facebook HQ". Market Watch. May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  36. "Artists and Cultural Leaders For Bernie Sanders". Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  37. Reed, Ryan (January 27, 2016). "Red Hot Chili Peppers Headlining Bernie Sanders Fundraiser". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  39. "Chad Smith Dick Van Dyke Leslie Bixler". The Rhythm Train. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  40. "Kid Rock Will Be Born Free in November With New Album Release". Retrieved July 16, 2014.

External links

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