Red Hot Chili Peppers Surprise Will Ferrell, Chad Smith Drum-Off on 'Jimmy Fallon' - Rolling Stone
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Chili Peppers Surprise Will Ferrell, Chad Smith Drum-Off on ‘Fallon’

Band performs cowbell classic “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” for first late-night performance in eight years

Jimmy Fallon chad smith will ferrellJimmy Fallon chad smith will ferrell

Will Ferrell and Chad Smith during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on 'The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon'

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Last week, Will Ferrell told Rolling Stone that his feud with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith “could become the beginning of a rivalry that will go on until the end of time.” It appears that competition ended Thursday night on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon with the long-awaited drum-off between the actor and his doppelgänger.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Career in Photos

Sporting matching black leather jackets, Kiss T-shirts, sneakers and blue baseball caps worn backwards, Smith and Ferrell hit the couch to talk to Fallon about the history of their feud, each speaking as the other person.

“Do you remember where you were when you heard [about this imposter]?” asked Fallon.

“Yeah. I was jammin’. I was jammin’ with the Chili Peppers, with my guys. At our jamhouse,” said Ferrell. “I’m like, ‘Flea, this is bull. I’m tired of not getting enough respect as Chad Smith.’ I’ll be honest, I’m a little high right now.” Ferrell then drank from the “Chad Smith Go Juice.” The duo did the entire bit as the other person, with Ferrell explaining Smith’s charity Little Kids Rock as “taking instruments away from kids.” (Smith stayed sincere when describing Ferrell’s charity Cancer for College, an organization that gives college scholarships to cancer patients.)

“I think you can feel the crispiness in the air,” said Fallon. “You know what the audience wants. You know what I want. You guys ready to do this?”

The pair then engaged in a “traditional drum-off,” with Ferrell seemingly locking into unexpected grooves as Smith and Ferrell increased the intensity and complexity of the solos with each successive round. (It didn’t hurt, of course, that Questlove was right to the side of Ferrell, acting as ringer/ghost drummer). Last week, Ferrell lowered the bar on his actual skills, responded to Smith’s taunts with, “I have not been practicing. There’s no amount of practice that would help me become a good drummer.”

Ferrell eventually ceded his kit to, naturally, a cowbell as Smith’s Red Hot Chili Peppers bandmates surprised the audience and began playing the Blue Öyster Cult (and “More Cowbell”) classic “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in Seventies clothes. After the band’s first performance on a late-night show since 2006, Fallon presented the winner Ferrell with a golden cowbell.

RHCP returned to perform frenetic versions of Funkadelic’s 1974 track “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” with the Roots and “Give It Away” below.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On”

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give It Away”

Ferrell spoke to Funny or Die after the performance, noting that Smith was “reduced to tears offstage. He kept it in, but once he ran offstage, he cried like a little girl.”


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