Chad Smith: More Tribal Beats

Last time we talked about how I was came up with an a tribal beat for the song “One Big Mob” [from One Hot Minute] that was based on an idea that Flea thought of. Well, this time we’re going to look at a couple more tribal grooves that I’ve played with the Chili Peppers.

The middle section of “Warped,” from the same CD, also has a tom groove that just uses a steady right-left-right-left sticking (Ex. 1). Okay, it’s nothing fancy – just the off accents with the snare drum and toms – but it works. When I first did it I was afraid it might have a “conga line” sound, but it ended up to be fine.

There was another tune we did during the Blood Sugar Sex Magic recording sessions that didn’t make it onto the album called “Fela’s Cock,” which also used a lot of toms. The tune and the bass line Flea plays are inspired by the African musician Fela Kuti, and it’s just sort of another of our takes on the tribal-feel thing. It only uses three drums, the same right-left sticking, and you just smack the snare with your right hand (Ex. 2).

DRUM! Notation Guide

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