Interview: St. Louis Drummer Chad Smith Ready to Reunite with Geezer Butler's GZR
Last week, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler announced he's ready to reconvene his band GZR. The latest lineup, he said, will "probably" feature Chad Smith -- the veteran St. Louis drummer, not the Red Hot Chili Peppers percussionist of the same name.
Smith has been all over the local scene and beyond for over twenty years, playing with heavy original bands such as Anacrusis and Lex Luthor, in addition to tribute and cover groups such as Stone in Love and Runaway. He answered some questions about the GZR band and provided a timeline of his various projects.
D.X. Ferris: How'd you get the Geezer gig?
Chad Smith: Believe what you want, as far as I'm concerned, I got the gig due to an answered prayer. I remember being on my knees, asking for an opportunity to prove to myself that I wasn't just wasting my time and causing my family to needlessly suffer while I pursued a profession in music.
A short time later I received a phone call from Terry Welty of [production company] Airco, asking me if I would be interested in checking out the gig. Terry and I worked together in the early stages of Lex Luthor, which was Jerry Boschert, Mark Quinn, John Kiehne and myself. And he was working with a band managed by [Geezer's manager and wife] Gloria Butler.
Gloria was having trouble finding a replacement for Deen Castronovo when he left to join Journey. Terry put me forward. I was then asked to record performances of three [GZR] tunes: "House of Clouds," "Plastic Planet," and "Drive Boy Shooting." And later an audition was set up.
How long does the gig have you booked up?
GZR hasn't performed for several years due to Geezer's Sabbath commitments, but we are writing and planning to release more material.
I still haven't been officially asked to do the GZR gig, but I did do the [1997 album] Black Science tour and the last record [2005's Ohmwork], so I think I got it! I consider myself Geezer's drummer until told otherwise. I really enjoy our friendship. He's a very intelligent person and a killer bass player.
What's the GZR setlist like?
The GZR set consists of material from the [band's] three releases. Occasionally we would play [Sabbath's] "NIB" [the classic named after Butler's goatee] or "Hand of Doom."