What happens when a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer chats with one of the greatest guitarists of his generation? An hour-long riveting, informative conversation that spans everything from influences to environmental issues to side projects to what gear they use. Last year, Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Chad Smith and MusicRadar launched a podcast series called In Conversation With Chad Smith, and the drummer’s latest guest is Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard.
Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers go back nearly 25 years: When Ten was just arriving in 1991, the Peppers asked Pearl Jam – along with Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins – to be one of the opening acts on Blood Sugar Sex Magik Tour. RHCP drummer Jack Irons, who left the band in 1989, went on to be the stickman for Pearl Jam from 1994’s Vitalogy to 1998’s Yield. And as we learn from In Conversation, Gossard and Smith, along with Dave Navarro, planned a “jazz odyssey” improvisational side project called Cease and Desist in the early Nineties.
“We did a couple things where we’d just smoke weed and play, and sometimes it was fantastic,” Gossard said in the clip before Smith chimed in, “And other times it was ‘What the hell is this?'” The group played a few gigs, including one at Johnny Depp’s Viper Room, before the “unsustainable” side project called it quits because Smith broke his wrist, but not before they performed one last concert as a Van Halen cover band.
The whole discussion is also a fascinating look at 1991 and the outbreak of alternative rock and the grunge scene. “The Chili Peppers changed our lives,” Gossard tells the Will Ferrell lookalike. “I never experienced anything like that before. Seeing a band with that much sort of weight in their beat. It’s between you guys and Jane’s Addiction, seeing those kinds of shows, it was like, ‘We have to go back to the drawing board. What are we doing here again?'”
The discussion also covers a wide range of topics, from producer Brendan O’Brien (who worked with both the Peppers and Pearl Jam), Gossard’s groundbreaking grunge group Green River, scuba diving, and their love of Motörhead. For more In Conversation With Chad Smith, including his chats with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, the Avett Brothers, Talking Heads‘ Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, and Carlos Santana, check out MusicRadar.