Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has hailed the “special chemistry” that exists within the group with John Frusciante back in the fold and says that the LA quartet will return with “balls out” with their “different and new” twelfth album.
Talking to Rolling Stone, Smith speaks with great warmth about the 51-year-old guitarist, whose return for a third stint with the Los Angeles funk-rock group was announced in December 2019. The drummer says that the reunited band’s first album since 2016’s The Getaway is “almost done” and that Frusciante is “working hard” to add finishing touches to what will be his sixth album with the band he first joined in 1988.
“He’s so dedicated,” says Smith. “He’s so into it. He’s working so hard. We’re all working hard, but he’s in there with all the overdubs and the magic that he brings.”
“Look, John hasn’t been in our group in 10 years. That’s a long time. So of course it’s going to sound different, but it’s gonna sound like the four of us because we do have this special chemistry together. It sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s different and new, and to me that’s great. We really like it and we’re proud of it and it has to start there.”
Though there’s no release date yet for album, which the quartet are recording with longtime collaborator Rick Rubin, it’s expected to be available before the Chili Peppers embark on the opening leg of their 2022 world tour, which is set to begin on June 4 at Estadio La Cartuja in Seville, Spain. The schedule includes shows in Dublin, Glasgow, London and Manchester, before the group embark upon their first ever US stadium tour, a prospect which the usually unflappable drummer describes as “kind of scary.”
“[Tour promoters] Live Nation was really confident that we could do it, and we’d never done it,” says Smith. “We’re like, “Fuck it, balls out!” We’ll literally have our balls out. [Laughs.] No one wants to see that! Old balls!… I know there’s gonna be people, even Chili Peppers fans, that have never seen this lineup. We’ve written some of our best songs with these these four guys, and we do have something special. It will be really exciting, and I see us not taking that for granted at all. As you get a little bit older, you appreciate it more. It’ll be a real joyful thing. I just wish it wasn’t so far away. It’s fucking June of next year. I’d play tomorrow if it all made sense.”
Smith is one of the star names featured in Count Me In, a new documentary dedicated to the art of drumming, currently airing on Netflix.