With his regular band and at least four side projects, Chad Smith is making his case as the hardest working man -- or at least drummer -- in show biz these days.

With his regular band and at least four side projects, Chad Smith is making his case as the hardest working man -- or at least drummer -- in show biz these days. Just don't expect any of that work to be with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a while.

"We worked really hard on (the double-disc 'Stadium Arcadium') and we toured for a year-and-a-half, pretty much straight," Smith says. "So we took a look at each other in September in England, when we played our last shows, and we were like, 'You know what? I love you guys, but we all kinda need a break,' and we said, 'Let's reconvene in one year.' We see each other, go to (Los Angeles) Lakers games and stuff, but Chili Pepper-wise we don't have any plans for any recording or any concerts or anything.

Smith is hardly looking for things to do, however; as he says, "I can't really sit still too long." He's involved with Chickenfoot, an all-star group fronted by Sammy Hagar along with former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and guitarist Joe Satriani. He's also started Chad's Bombastic Meat Bats, an instrumental group he describes as "kind of a funk, jazz odyssey thing. I don't know if it's the greatest thing ever, but it's fun." The troupe will be playing some April dates in Japan.

Off the rock path, Smith is working with a children's music project called Rhythm Train with the music director at his son's school. The drummer recently met with veteran actor Dick Van Dyke about recording a rap for a future recording.

What Smith is most excited about, however, is his continuing work with Glenn Hughes, the former Deep Purple and Trapeze bassist and short-lived Black Sabbath singer. Smith has played on Hughes' last four solo albums and produced the last three -- including the forthcoming "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen," which is due out in May. He also plays sporadic shows with Hughes.

"That guy's amazing," Smith says of Hughes. "I just love the records he's on. I grew up on that stuff, all that early '70s British rock music. And we've just blossomed into this kind of working relationship. We met five years ago and we've been buddies ever since. I don't know why, but he trusts my musical judgment."