Sometimes when you approach a new song, you can get stuck in your drummer’s rut and end up playing a typical kick-hat-snare groove. It’s always good to get someone else’s perspective. In the tune “One Big Mob,” off the One Hot Minute CD, there’s a section where I kind of follow the bass line on the toms. But it was different when we first started working on the song. I was originally playing something like Ex. 1. But Flea said, “No, no, no. Do something more tribal, like this,” and he sat down at my drums and played what you see in Ex. 2. So I said “Okay, right,” and kind of took that and came up with my own thing using more toms (Ex. 3). I probably wouldn’t have thought of it if Flea hadn’t shaken me out of my drummer’s rut.
Chad Smith is the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He has released a book and video, both entitled Red Hot Drum Workout, on Warner Bros.