Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats - Meet the Meatbats
Ok I'll admit it - the first time I played the first few tracks on this album I didn't get it. Chad's day job is as the engine of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and in the evening he's the powerhouse that keeps the mighty Chickenfoot on track.. so the instrumental album that came out of the speakers got me all confused. Maybe the PR company had sent me the wrong CD as this one sounded like a combination of seventies funk, "Blow by Blow" era Jeff Beck and Frank Zappa..it caught me off guard. But then I composed myself and started again... and now after a few more plays I realise it is pure genius! The band consist of the titular Chad on drums, Kevin Chown on bass, Ed Roth on Keyboard and Jeff Kollman on guitar, and on "Meet the Meatbats" they've created a very cool, loose, "live in the studio" sounding album, albeit one with very random track titles. On tracks like the sublime "into the Floyd" or "Tops Off" you can just imagine them playing in dimly lit studio, tape rolling and just enjoying the jam session. The opening track (Need Strange) opens with a funky 70's sounding keyboard (a Clavinet maybe - forgive me if I'm wrong I'm a guitar player!) and then builds into a very fluid, laid back Jeff Beck'esque track (although Chad still manages a drum solo). Throughout the album you can hear refernces to Hendrix, Steely Dan, Jeff Beck, Zappa, lot's of seventies funky sounds and probably a host of cool jazz icons I know nothing about. As I said at the top I wasn't sure of this cd when I first heard it, and I thought that I genuinely was not going to like it .. but then one night I came in from work, the weather was lousy, the traffic was bad, the kids were fighting..I remembered I had to write this review so I ripped the cd into my iPod, grabbed a glass of red wine and settled back...suddenly everything around me melted away. Good albums have the ability to do that.