(Photo credit: Stefan Brending)
Red Hot Chili Peppers member Chad Smith is a true drummer and is a regular on lists of this type of percussionist. Here, however, the shoe is on the other foot.
Smith is the glue that holds Red Hot Chili Peppers together and lets their bubbly sound flow. Although he hasn’t been in the group since they incarnated, it would be perverse to imagine Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and John Frusciante setting foot on stage with someone other than the faithful Smith behind them.
Outside the Chili’s, Smith played on the Chicks’ five-time Grammy-winning album, Taking The Long Way. He’s one of the most sought-after drummers in the business, and everyone from Johnny Cash to Lana Del Rey has managed to convince Smith to go into the studio with them to bring his sovereign touch to their work.
When it comes to understanding a thing or two about what makes a world-class drummer, few have more knowledge on the subject than the quick-witted Smith. He is a student of the game who learned from the best and incorporated that experience into his art – a factor that has made him one of the best drummers alive.
Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2014, Smith finally lifted the lid of his all-time favorite drummers, and surprisingly, it’s an English-language list with only one compatriot American on his list. “I have to put John Bonham and Keith Moon up there,” said Smith. “When I was growing up, I heard music from the late sixties, early seventies. English rock drummers are very influential to me, like Bill Ward from Black Sabbath. “
Added, “I would say I didn’t really listen to Buddy Rich at the time, but he’s probably the greatest technical drummer. Then I’d say Mitch Mitchell, Ian Paice, Ginger Baker, Roger Taylor, Nicky Topper – all these guys. It’s hard to leave out Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr. I like American drummers too, but these English guys really had what it takes. “
While Smith can admit that Buddy Rich was a better drummer than Bonham on a technical level, the latter has something intangible that makes him his all-time favorite. “John Bonham influenced me very early on,” Smith would later write in Louder Sound. “I was maybe 10 years old then. I just learned to play the drums. For me this music from the late 60s, early 70s, this hard rock blues music, was very influential. “
He continued, “It was the sheer power of Bonzo that attracted me. And its sound! I had never heard drums with this sound before; The production of Page was of course important. Bono had depth and air, and he played so musically. The way he played around these page riffs with such power, musicality and finesse was very impressive. “
There’s just never been a drummer like John Bonham. It was an isolated incident, a mystery, and the envy of everyone who has ever picked up a pair of sticks in their life.
Chad Smith’s 10 Favorite Drummers:
- John Bonham
- Keith Moon
- Pal rich
- Mitch Mitchell
- Ian Paice
- Ginger baker
- Roger Taylor
- Nicky Topper
- Charlie Watts
- Ringo Starr
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