100 Greatest Drummers of All Time

From rock thunder machines to punk powerhouses, we count down the kings and queens of slam

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Chad Smith
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64. Chad Smith

Since debuting with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1989, Chad Smith has consistently mixed the quick-footedness of classic funk with an arena-rocker's power and volume. "He plays hard, man," said Sammy Hagar, who recruited Smith for his band Chickenfoot. "The guy's from Detroit, for God's sake!" After first working with RHCP, Rick Rubin was so impressed with Smith's versatility he began utilizing the drummer's "mighty power and great vibes" on his other productions. Former Chili Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez calls him "a monster virtuoso ... with a sophisticated, well-honed sense of what's appropriate." And Anthony Kiedis credits Smith with inspiring his own idiosyncratic full-body gyrations: "All I have to do is close my eyes and listen to Chad. It'd be acting if I didn't do it."

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