Red Hot Chili Peppers 'Halfway Through' Next Album, Says Drummer

Chad Smith

Chad Smith is happy to be releasing a sophomore album by his instrumental band the Bombastic Meatbats, even if his "day job" in the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his other moonlighting gig in Chickenfoot make it hard to squeeze in time for everything.

"Yeah, it shows it's not just a one-off," Smith tells Billboard.com about "More Meat," the group's follow-up to 2009's "Meet the Meatbats." "It gives it a little more credence. It's like, 'OK, it's something real and it's going somewhere.' That is important to us."

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Smith says the Meatbats were able to delve deeper into its influences on "More Meat," and the set even includes a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick," the late John Bonham's in-concert showpiece that Smith says he had to be talked into performing. "I wasn't all that gung-ho about it," Smith acknowledges. "Covering Led Zeppelin is like covering the Beatles; it's okay live, but to put it on the record... But it is an instrumental song and we are an instrumental band, so it's a homage, I guess."

The Meatbats start a run of dates today that includes three nights at New York's Iridium Jazz Club Nov. 19-21 and four December shows in Colorado. Smith says the group is hoping to make a Midwest run in 2011 but says much depends on his other bands -- the Chili Peppers in particular.

"I'd say we're about halfway through" the follow-up to 2006's Grammy Award-winning "Stadium Arcadium," Smith says. "We're going in every day and we make music. Things are going well and everybody's playing well and it's a fun time. It sounds like Chili Peppers to me, but different. We have a different guy [new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer] and different sounds and we've added some different elements -- some keyboards and percussions. But it still sounds like us. It's early but it's good." The group also participated in the new coffee table book, "The Red Hot Chili Peppers: An Oral/Visual History."

Smith adds that Klinghoffer, who replaces two-time Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, is working out well. "Josh is great. We've known him a long time. He's super-talented, smart, handsome. He fits in perfectly, which is a good thing."

Smith is also expecting to do some recording with Chickenfoot in January for its second album, but he says going on the road to support it is unlikely for him due to the Chili Peppers' anticipated touring schedule. But he's OK with the idea of Chickenfoot finding another drummer to occupy his chair for live dates.

"They have to," says Smith, who also plays on Kid Rock's upcoming album "Born Free." "I can't [tour], and they know it. We just want to make a great record, and when it comes time to tour they can get somebody they want to play with. It's fine with me. There's a bunch of people that always call me and say, 'Hey, I hear you're not doing Chickenfoot. I want to do it.' So they'll find somebody good."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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