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(Credit: Stefan Brending)

Music

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith on his “unbelievable” experience meeting Charlie Watts

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has offered his opinions on The Rolling Stones during a recent interview, hailing their longevity and musical prowess. “They’re still going man, still wheeling around,” said Smith. “I think because they were there in the very beginning of rock and roll or modern rock and roll anyway. They’re the last of the Mohicans, they’re still going somehow.”

Watts got the chance to meet the percussionist in person at a show in 1994. “It was August and there he is in a full suit, standing there at 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the sun looking and watching us soundcheck,” the drummer revealed. “I’m like ‘fucking Charlie Watts is watching me fucking play. Unbelievable’”.

The two men shared an interest in jazz and spent their free time discussing what type of equipment they like to use. Smith described The Stones percussion player as a “real gentleman”. 

According to Smith, The Rolling Stones musician owned a collection of Gene Krupa watches that he wanted to admire, rather than wear. Judging by Smith’s portrayal, Watts seemed happier discussing the intricacies of jazz instead of the rock band that he’s best known for. Nonetheless, he made an impression on Smith. 

Red Hot Chili Peppers have reunited with guitarist John Frusciante for their first studio album since Stadium Arcadium. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis calls his return to the fold “monumental”, stating that the change was a deeply “positive” one on the band. What emerges from the interview is a commitment to his craft, and an admiration for Frusciante as a musician and a person. 

Frusciante performed on Blood Sex Sugar Magik, which was considered their commercial breakthrough, although he quit the band to focus on smaller, more lo-fi projects for much of the 1990s. He rejoined the band for Californication, touring with the band for ten years before he left for the second time in 2009. 

Smith currently tours with Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder, in a live band that includes Academy-award winning Irish songwriter Glen Hansard. Interestingly, the line-up also features Josh Klinghoffer, who was Frusciante’s replacement in Red Hot Chili Peppers from 2009 to 2019.