Five isolated drum tracks that prove Chad Smith is a genius


Chad Smith is Will Ferrell’s favorite lookalike. Besides looking like the long lost twin of Hollywood’s favorite comedian and San Diego’s favorite news anchor, he’s one of the best drummers around. A rhythmic hub of the funk-rock heroes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smith has helped enrich their work during their long and winding career since their formation in 1983.

What’s odd about Chad Smith as a drummer is that while he’s widely rated by connoisseurs, he’s certainly overlooked in terms of great modern drummers. Not only would it be fair to postulate that he’s one of the most consistently underrated drummers of the modern era, there’s also an argument to be made that it comes down to his understated style. Not too flashy or technical, this is its true majesty. Smith knows exactly what to play and when to play it.

Blending funk and hard rock, Smith’s style is a relentless yet dynamic modus operandi. There are also touches of jazz and metal that make up its unique sound, and without Smith it’s safe to say the Red Hot Chili Peppers wouldn’t be the same band. Inspired as much by Neil Peart as by Buddy Rich, you can even go so far as to call Smith a virtuoso, and if you watch one of the band’s long live jams you will take that into account.

The other reason one could argue that Smith is overlooked is that the band’s other two musicians, bassist Flea and guitarist John Frusciante, are both virtuosos in their own right, and due to their unmistakable styles, they have established for themselves something of a musical cult. of personality. Flea is widely hailed as one of the best bassists of all time due to his visceral slap style, and Frusciante is credited for his varied yet melodic tone and dazzling technical abilities. When it comes to their respective fields, Flea and Frusciante are at the top of their game.

Given that we are in the 21st century, which seems to be the age of musical revisionism, we believe it is time for Chad Smith to receive more applause outside of those who are already his steadfast followers. He is an incredible drummer whose use of phantom notes, combined with his fast right foot, creates a powerful rhythmic force. Many have tried and failed to imitate his technique.

Join us, then, as we list five isolated drum tracks that prove Chad Smith to be a total genius. All superfluous instrumentation is removed, so up front and center you can clearly hear how technically proficient Chad Smith is.

Chad Smith’s 5 Best Isolated Drum Tracks:

‘Dani California’

The 2006 single from the band’s ninth album, Arcadium stadium, ‘Dani California’ is one of the band’s most instantly recognizable tracks. Even without the iconic music, you can hear it in Smith’s game. Here, he gives us his equivalent of riffs.

Apart from the groovy rhythm of the 4/4 verses, he offers us a sober work but focused on flair in the chorus and the bridge. Plus, its snare is nice and loose, giving the track that inherently funk feel we all love.

‘Scar tissue’

One of the band’s most beloved songs, all the musicality of the song is pure genius. However, one could argue that Smith’s work in fact trumps that of his bandmates.

An exercise in using phantom notes, this song is one of the best examples of Smith’s subtle style. Groovy but also matching the song’s rather downbeat spirit, Smith’s work on this track shows he’s a drummer who never overcooks meat.

‘Under the bridge’

Another classic, ‘Under The Bridge’, tackles themes of addiction, isolation and discouragement. Perhaps the band’s best-known song, there’s the classical guitar part that every intermediary tries to learn, and Anthony Kiedis’ incredible vocal performance, marking the song as a crossover hit. However, Smith also shines on the 1992 single, something that isn’t as often discussed.

Strong but also subtle, we are again given an expert use of ghost notes. The climax of the song really lies with Smith. It is on this isolated track that we clearly perceive the influence of the icon of the big band, Buddy Rich.


One of the band’s hardest rock songs, since its release in 2002, ‘By The Way’ has been a staple of rock and indie clubs around the world. A song for everyone, it’s a pure delight. Every member of the band shines and here we see Smith covering every inch of the kit, toms and everything.

He gives the verse its thunderous beat, allowing Flea and Frusciante to do their part. Almost psychedelic rock beats, the lone track shows just how much of a human metronome Chad Smith is.

‘Give it’

‘Give It Away’ is one of the best grooves in the band, that’s for sure. Boastful and a little deranged, his genius once again resides with Smith. 4/4 but covered in ghost notes, Smith’s part is as funky as it gets. Its snare is tighter this time around, but drenched in some of that warm and spacious reverb it helps give the song the psychedelic side we all love.

There’s also the use of the tambourine, which helps move the song forward, giving the groove that constant ‘push’ feel, and allowing Kiedis to make his vocal performance almost scattered. The increased use of the double-kick at the end is also a work of subtle mastery.

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