He listened to various bands to develop his musical range, but there were certain ones who both shaped his approach to the instrument and helped him find his own way as a drummer. However, there was a name that blew his mind the moment he heard him, and he would become one of Chad Smith’s mentors throughout his life. He was Neil Peart of Rush.
If you’ve been following Chad Smith closely, you know how often he has said in interviews that listening to Neil Peart has been one of the cornerstones of his approach to life and music. In fact, some of you may have even guessed the name as soon as you read the title of our article because Smith has repeatedly expressed his respect and love for him.
“I would like to take a lesson from Neil Peart,” the legendary drummer wrote when a fan asked him if he would like to jam with John Bonham, Keith Moon, or Neil Peart. The question was tricky. “I would like to jam with Bonham and party with Keith Moon. If we were playing ‘f*ck, marry, kill,’ then it would be I’d probably marry Neil. [Sighs] Ah, I couldn’t f*ck or kill either of those guys. Plus, they’re both dead. That’s not fair.”
While he never officially took a lesson from Peart, his drumming was undoubtedly one of the brightest lights that guided Chad Smith during his self-taught drumming years. Fortunately, Smith had the opportunity to meet his drum hero after he established his name as RHCP’s drummer.
Even better than that, when they met backstage one night, the person who indirectly mentored him throughout his life also praised his drumming skills. This is not an opportunity that many get during their lifetimes. After hearing about Peart’s passing, Smith had stated that no one could ever replace him. Indeed, the rock scene hasn’t had another drummer like Neil Peart, considering both his drumming and philosophy.