The Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer is Chad Smith. He has been the drummer of the band since 1988 when he replaced Darren Henley, aka D.H.Peligro.
When the band held open auditions for a new drummer, Smith was one of the last drummers to audition. He looked more hair metal than punk and felt like he wouldn’t be the right fit as they needed someone with attitude!
The band was amazed by Smith’s playing, and the rest is history. After a few months, he played on the Red Hot Chilli peppers album “Mother’s milk.”
Smith’s reason for showing up on an audition was their record contract. They clicked right on start and started jamming. Smith said he felt the musical synergy at that moment.
Their second album, “Blood, sugar, sex magic,” was a major success and sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.
Smith has worked with many big-name artists, including Johnny Cash and John Fogerty. He’s also performed on four albums for Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines and one live album alongside Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple.
He has two side projects: Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats and Chickenfoot.
He released two studio albums with Meatbats that feature Glenn Hughes, Jeff Kollman, and Ed Roth.
Chickenfoot features Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, and Michael Anthony. The group has released two albums (one live), one EP.
He plays with Chickenfoot from time to time when he doesn’t tour with Peppers. Legendary Kenny Arronof jump in a few times when Smith was away.
How many drummers have the Red Hot Chili Peppers had?
The band has had four drummers altogether:
Cliff Martinez: 1983–1986
Cliff Martinez is a musician and composer who has worked with several different artists in his career. He began playing drums at an early age, but the most notable aspect of Cliff’s music came when he joined up with Red Hot Chili Peppers to record their album Freaky Styley (1985).
Since the 1990s, Martinez has worked primarily as a film score composer. He wrote music for Christian Mingle and Spring Breakers, among others, by composing Steven Soderbergh (Sex Lies Videotape) or Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive). On April 14th, 2012, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame with Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Jack Irons: 1986–1988
Jack Irons is an American musician, best known for his work with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. He has also recorded two solo albums over the course of ten years – Attention Dimension (2004) & No Heads are Better Than One(2010).
Alongside all these projects, he played drums in various lineups, including those by The Wallflowers, Eleven, Mark Lanegan Band, among others!
H. Peligro: 1988
D. H. also known as Darren Henley or just Peligro, is an American punk rock musician currently playing for the Dead Kennedys.
He replaced Jack Irons in 1988 when he joined RHCP.
Kiedis said that firing Peligro was one of the toughest things this band had to do, but he became an active member in his sobriety after doing so. Chad Smith replaced him a few weeks later and has been with them ever since
Chad Smith: 1988–present
Smith’s early days were spent in many different bands, starting with Paradise. They won the battle of bands in Birmingham back in 1977, and he was only 16 years old at that time!
That band included members such as Jay Yang (bass), Scott Porter guitar) and Tom Auch, who had been his high school buddy for all those years – it gave him some great memories through their various lineups over 30+yrs: “I always knew I wanted to do something where you could make music with other people.”
He would go on from there, eventually forming two more successful groups; Pharroh, which became famous thanks largely due to its percussionist Larry Fratangelo who introduced Smith into R&B/funk sounds.
Smith was drawn to the funk drumming of David Garibaldi, Jabo Starks, and Clyde Stubblefield that he heard on records as a youth.
Chuck Biscuits: 1985 (substitute)
Chuck Biscuits is a Canadian musician and artist best known for his work in rock bands like Danzig, Black Flag, and D.O. Still, he’s also been involved with many other projects over the years, including Circle Jerks or Social Distortion, where you can hear some really different sounds too!
He briefly filled in on drums for a few shows of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Freaky Styley tour.
After seeing how great he was, producer Rick Rubin invited him to become Danzig’s new drummer, and so Biscuits accepted!
Stephen Perkins: 2020 (substitute)
Stephen Andrew Perkins has been a major player in rock music for over 30 years.
He’s played with some of the best-known bands and artists, including Jane’s Addiction – where he currently resides after being invited to join them by guitarist Dave Navarro.
Perkins took the stage with his new band during a show by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and played drums for them.
How to drum like Chad Smith?
If you want to drum like Chad Smith, you should start by purchasing yourself a red hot chili peppers t-shirt and practicing in your mirror every day.
However, if you really want to learn how to play the drums like red hot chili peppers drummer Chad Smith, it will be necessary for you to practice for many hours each day.
Let’s dive into his influences and see where he got his chops
- Jabo Starks, drummer for James Brown
- John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin
- David Garibaldi, drummer for Tower of Power
- Clyde Stubblefield, drummer for James brown
As you may notice, his style can be characterized as a mix of funk and rock, just like his influential drummers.
So, we suggest listening to these cats before you dive into practice.
He plays Pearl drums and Sabian cymbals, but that is not crucial since the sound comes from your hand.
However, you should definitely use clear drumheads, modern and bright cymbals, and ensure they are not over-tightened.