Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Chad Smith’s rough Red Hot Chili Peppers audition

At the end of the 80s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were going through a very rough patch. Founding member and guitarist Hillel Slovak had died of an overdose and a series of drummers did not work out.

The guitar situation was solved by the addition of John Frusciante. From the moment he started is audition, Flea and Anthony knew he was the guy. But what about a drummer?

On the list was a big guy originally from Detroit named Chad Smith. Even getting an invitation to audition was difficult because Fle and Anthony didn’t think he’d be anywhere close to a fit. But after going through a ton of hopefuls, they were depressed.

“We’ll never find the right guy,” they said. The last guy through the door that day was Chad, acting like he owned the place. He was immediately hated. There was no way he was going to be in this band.

But within a few minutes, they realized that Chad was the best drummer they’d ever heard and the best they’d ever played with. He got the gig and changed the sound and the fortunes of the Chili Peppers forever.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37879 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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