Tomorrow marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Mother’s Milk, the album that introduced the world to the most successful — as in 19 million albums sold! — lineup of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And while there are plans for a proper reissue in due time (quite possibly featuring a Cleveland show from the same era), drummer Chad Smith is already looking towards the future.
I’m on my way to the studio,” he told Rolling Stone. “We’re going to record some new stuff with the Peppers. We’re doing ‘fancy demos’: We go in and sort of see what we got. Then I go over and record with LL Cool J tonight … He’s such a positive guy. ‘Yo, man! It’s gonna be so great! You can just get in there and slam it and kill it and crush it! We’re gonna make history, man!’ I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
Things weren’t so easy in the months leading up to the 1989 release of Mother’s Milk though; at the time, Smith and guitarist John Frusciante were still the new guys, having replaced guitarist Hillel Slovak — who died from a heroin overdose in June of 1988 — and drummer Jack Irons, who felt he couldn’t go on in the group. That inner turmoil ended up turning into some memorable tracks, however, including the Stevie Wonder cover “Higher Ground.”
“I may have done one gig at the Roxy or something,” Smith explained, “but we just went right into writing and music and it was pretty exciting and fun. And in a couple months, maybe, we were recording by February or March, which is a pretty short time compared to now. We take six to nine months to write music. But it was that initial excitement of new guys in a band, new music. It felt kind of magical and felt like a new chapter for the band. Anthony was newly sober. It was definitely a new thing for us, and I loved it. I thought, ‘This is great!’”
Sounds like exactly what we thought when watching Smith’s “drum off” with Will Ferrell recently. Happy Friday…