In June 2017, the night before Red Hot Chili Peppers played Van Andel Arena, drummer Chad Smith made the musical rounds at Flanagan’s, Mojo’s and 20 Monroe Live. With tickets to see RHCP at Comerica Park in 2022 now on sale, Local Spins revisits this unusual night.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This week, tickets went on sale to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers — featuring Grand Rapids native Anthony Kiedis and Bloomfield Hills native Chad Smith — make a stop on their upcoming global stadium tour at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Aug. 14, 2022. Today is also bassist Flea’s 59th birthday. So, Local Spins revisits its No. 1 story from 2017, reflecting the night in Grand Rapids when Smith unexpectedly sat in with three different bands in downtown Grand Rapids. Scroll down for videos.
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A few lucky Grand Rapids musicians had the special guest of a lifetime sitting in with them on a Saturday night in 2017.
Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers who played a sold-out concert at Van Andel Arena on June 25, 2017, made the rounds the night before in downtown Grand Rapids, surprising bands by playing Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar & Restaurant, then performing next door with Grand Rapids’ BareNaked 90’s at Flanagan’s Irish Pub, and sitting in with Sebastian Bach during a show at 20 Monroe Live.
At Flanagan’s, Smith — who grew up in Bloomfield Hills and is considered one of rock’s pre-eminent drummers — jumped behind a drum kit to play the BareNaked 90’s rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” to the delight of band members and patrons who cheered and sang along.
“Totally unexpected, and a ton of fun,” band bassist Charlie Hoats told Local Spins. “Someone told us he was in the room, so we pulled out ‘Under The Bridge,’ which we had only rehearsed once previously and had not played before in public. He immediately walked up to the bandstand, and our drummer (Mike Snider) made way for him. What a blast!”
The BareNaked 90’s cover band at the time featured Hoats, Chris Psenicka (vocals), Kerry McDonough (guirtar, vocals), Gerald Yott (guitar) and Mike Snider (drums).
“We were just as awe-stricken as the rest of the patrons to see a person of that caliber at a local pub,” added Yott.
“He plays louder and harder than any drummer I have ever played with. To play with someone at that level, and to be playing their song, the entire thing was pretty surreal. … He was a very cool guy lending his talent to a local band working the West Michigan circuit.”
VIDEOS: Chad Smith with BareNaked 90’s at Flanagan’s
Video by GRVideoFiend
Check out another video snippet here on band member Gerald Yott’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gerald.yott
A video snippet from Smith’s appearance at Mojo’s on Matthew Perlman’s Facebook page:
The gregarious Smith, wearing a classic KISS world tour T-shirt, also strolled a couple blocks down the street to 20 Monroe Live (now known as GLC Live at 20 Monroe) where ’90s rocker Sebastian Bach and his band were making a Grand Rapids tour stop.
Bach recalled times spent living in Michigan before performing Skid Row’s power ballad “18 and Life”. Bach recounted more stories of his time spent in Michigan throughout the set.
Bach paid homage to some fallen musicians, most notably Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell (who passed away after a show in Detroit) and Greg Allman, culminating in the band playing another Skid Row classic, “Monkey Business”, wherein they segued into the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post,” which saw Smith come out to a raucous roar as he jammed along with the band to finish the song. (See video below.)
A few lucky fans were able to get some photos with the drummer before he headed out into the crisp summer night.
Smith and the rest of his band — featuring Grand Rapids native and band frontman Anthony Kiedis — performing the next night at Van Andel Arena supporting the band’s album, “The Getaway.” Check out a review and photo gallery from Sunday night’s show here: Red Hot Chili Peppers show hometown love at Grand Rapids show.
VIDEO: Chad Smith with Sebastian Bach at 20 Monroe Live
Video by Jonathan Beatty
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