Chad Smith's top 5 tips for the studio

Red Hot Chili Peppers man on ego, laughter and more

Chad Smith s top 5 tips for the studio
(Image: © MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock)

With his eighth record with the Red Hot Chili Peppers having just shot to the top of charts all over the globe, it's fair to say that Chad Smith has this studio business down to a tee.

So, we tapped the drum legend up for his top five recording tips. And here's what he had to say.

1. Check Your Ego

"It can be a little intimidating when you walk in a room and there's Johnny Cash. But he was totally cool. I introduced myself, said, 'I'm the drummer.' He didn't know who I was of course. He starts playing me these songs and wanting my input – what do I think? Immediately we were musical peers. There was no star tripping. We were just all in the trenches trying to make some good music."

2. Always Go For It

"When I'm playing, I'm not thinking, 'Oh, this is just a scratch or like a demo.' Every time, I'm going for it, man. You never know the magical take. Sometimes it can be the first time and those are really cool because you don't really know the part yet so you're really listening hard and there is a feeling of excitement because you don't know it by heart, there is a spontaneity that's exciting to me. I love that stuff."

3. Aim For Complete Takes

"You can stop and punch-in but even then I think there is something special that comes through a track when it's a performance. So often with Pro-Tools now it's all about editing: 'I can fly that verse in over that one.' I think you lose the beauty of the performance when you don't play all the way through the song, so as a drummer I like to do that as much as possible."

4. Make 'Em Laugh

"If a recording is not going well, it can get really frustrating, people can get really unhappy fast – the pressure, spending all this money, wasting people's time. Things start to bog down in a session, usually I tell some jokes. Hal Blaine taught me that. Hal was the perennial studio musician and he would just start telling jokes. I don't know a lot of jokes but you only need a couple to keep people going and lighten it up."

5. See The Big Picture

"People get frustrated because they can't do something they want to do or it doesn't sound right, it happens. I can get a little grumpy but I'm recording music, I'm playing my instrument, I'm probably in a really fancy studio, working with incredible people, doing what I love to do. Really, I'm going to be cranky about that? There are millions of people who want to be doing what I'm doing so you've got to keep perspective and be grateful."

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