Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatballs
|Bombastic, funky, sexy and loud, Chad Smith (drummer of Red Hot Chili Peppers & Chickenfoot) is breaking out on his own with guitar star Jeff Kollman, multi-faceted keyboardist Ed Roth, and Motor City bass ace Kevin Chown.
Together, they comprise what is easily one of the most interesting and unpredictable instrumental bands to come along in years; Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats.
The Meatbats sound is as uncalculated and spontaneous as their accidental beginnings, forged as an outgrowth of Jeff, Ed, and Chad’s recording and touring with rock legend, Glenn Hughes. Kollman recalls, “Whenever I would jam with Ed and Chad at Glenn Hughes’ rehearsals, we would warm up with some impromptu Jeff Beck kinds of grooves. One day Chad said, ‘Hey, we should record something like this!’ Next thing you know we were in the studio making an album!”
Needing a bass player to round out the group, Kollman contacted long time friend, bassist Kevin Chown. “I called him on the day of the first recording session,” continued Kollman. “He came over and saved the day - we got five tunes down in no time and the rest is history!”
Nothing is ever the same way twice with the Meatbats. They stretch the envelope in their exhilarating live performances, often deviating from the original arrangements to keep things fresh. No one knows (even the band it seems at times) just where things may end up musically. Each performance becomes a unique experience enjoyed by the listener.
“My influences, through my brother, were so many of the groups that came out of England in the late 60’s and early 70’s,” reflects Chad Smith. “Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, Ginger Baker from Cream, Deep Purple with Ian Paice, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Keith Moon with the Who; those groups were the ones that I really loved. I wanted to play like those guys. When I started learning to read music in school during fourth grade, initially I held the sticks in the traditional grip. But, I remember practicing and thinking if I turned my left stick around I could get a lot more power and hit a lot harder. I like to hit hard. Hitting hard is very important for me - that’s the way I play and the way I feel it. Playing guitar, that’s all great and everything, but hittin’ stuff…AWESOME!”
The Bombastic Meatbats debut album, “Meet The Meatbats,” speaks for itself. Consisting of 10 songs written in the span of a few days at Chad’s pool house in Malibu (known as “The Tiki Room”), songs including “Need Strange,” “Oops! I Spilled My Beer,” “Battle For Ventura Blvd.,” and the hauntingly beautiful “Night Sweats,” exude a live wire feel, sarcasm, and excitement rarely found in the current world of digitally induced “perfection.” It is instrumental music with a soul and a sense of humor.
“This was the least amount of time each of us has spent agonizing over a record,” notes Kollman. “It’s funky, musical, and compositional. The melody is king.” “These recordings are very much live in the studio…it’s totally old school that way,” adds Ed Roth. “Nothing feels as good as a record cut with four guys recording live together, listening, and playing off of each other’s riffs. Even without a vocal, you can sing almost everything that everyone played on this record. That is real soul.”
Since their first live performance in 2007, the Meatbats have conquered Japan with a sold out tour and have thrilled audiences around the U.S., while also regularly performing at L.A.’s famed Jazz venue, the Baked Potato. “This band has a thing!” insists Kollman. “You can tell Chown and Chad both did their time in Detroit. They come from the same place musically and geographically. They are the funky heartbeat of this group. Chown’s a mix of Detroit Rock and Motown, while Chad brings that sick rock/funk groove that has helped sustain the Chili Peppers for all these years. Ed’s got the gritty funk and 70’s R&B thing going on. His clavinet playing is genius and he’s so great with leaving space in the arrangements. He has taste, knows just what to play, and his life goal is always ‘keeping it sexy.’ As for myself, I protect and defend the rock guitar!”