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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith opens up about battles with drugs and alcohol


Photo by Rick Kern | Getty Images

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith opened up in a new interview with the Trap Set podcast about his battles with drugs and alcohol, which he ended up quitting completely in 2008. He revealed, “It was like okay, ‘I’ve got to be there for my kids, I’ve got to be there for my wife.’ It was hard, this is nine years ago, and you’re used to a certain lifestyle and nobody telling you no. ‘I’m not in the gutter, I’m in a successful rock band, I’m playing great!’ Whatever, You can tell yourself all this stuff. Spiritually, I was pretty bankrupt, so I was like okay, let’s try this. I went to rehab.”

  • Smith, who has been married twice, added that drugs and alcohol played a role in the end of his first marriage. He explained, “Maria, I fell in love with, and we got married in 1992 . .. I just wasn’t ready. As long as I kept being an addict with drugs and alcohol — I liked cocaine, but I wasn’t a big cocaine user. Mainly it was alcohol, and then kind of all bets were off. I just made a lot of poor choices.”
  • The drummer admitted to losing his driver’s license for two years in the late 1980s due to drunk driving, and said he even went to jail for hitting someone with his car. He recalled, “Hit and run? Oh yeah. I went to jail for like 30 days in 1986. 26 days, because you get one day a week off for good behavior.”
  • Smith has six children: a daughter from his first marriage, a son and daughter from two other relationships, and three boys with his current wife Nancy.
  • The Chili Peppers have been on the road behind their 11th studio effort, The Getaway, which came out in June 2016.



  • Chad Smith is 55 years old and was both in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up mostly in the Detroit area.
  • He moved to California in the summer of 1988 to pursue music as a career and joined the Chili Peppers in December of that year. He’s played on the last eight of the band’s 11 studio albums.
  • Smith is also the drummer of the hard rock supergroup Chickenfoot, formed in 2008, and the all-instrumental outfit the Bombastic Meatbats, who formed in 2007.
  • He has also recorded with Johnny CashJohn Fogerty, the Dixie ChicksKid Rock and others. In 2010, joined by Dick Van Dyke and Leslie Bixler, he released Rhythm Train, a critically acclaimed children’s album which featured Smith singing and playing various instruments.


READ: Check out Alternative Nation for more on this story

CHECK IT OUT: Listen to the entire podcast interview with Smith here