‘The next big artist could be sitting right in here’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith opens new music suite at Sandy Upper School
- Credit: Archant
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith came to Sandy Upper School by helicopter this afternoon to open its new music and art wing – but not before giving a thundering drum solo for the students.
The Chili Peppers star took a break from his touring schedule with the iconic Californian rockers to formally open the Lane & Browns Music Suite at a full assembly, with his helicopter landing on the school fields.
“What’s up, Sandy!” shouted Chad, wearing an eclectic butterfly-pattern suit.
“We’re on tour right now in the lovely UK – we played in Birmingham last night, and I’m so happy to be able to come down here and be part of this.
“Musical education is very close to my heart. I started playing the drums when I was seven and I learned how to play all through school in a little town outside of Detroit, Michigan, not much bigger than this town.
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“There’s something really great about being part of a small community and I had the same upbringing, so I understand how important it is to have music and art in school.
“Now you have a really beautiful new music department with lots of instruments, and people are going to help you learn them if you’re interested. I think it’s really important for kids and you guys, students, to be exposed to music.
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“I’m not saying that everyone should play an instrument, that you should play in a rock band and wear funny suits and play big concerts – but art and music is a really, really important part of education. Everybody loves music. Do you know one person who doesn’t?
“I was really passionate about music at an early age. I loved it and I still love it to this day and I was fortunate that I found my passion at such a young age.
“Some of my favourite musicians and bands have come out of these islands of the UK. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, David Bowie, of course the Beatles and the Stones.
“These were all magical artists to little old Chad growing up in Michigan and it all came from right around here – so maybe the next one is sitting right in here, you never know.
“Thank you for having me, it’s a real honour. I’ll just make a little noise and then we’ll chat.”
Chad then performed a four-and-a-half-minute drum solo on a DW drum kit he has donated to the music suite, signing all the drum skins, before unveiling a commemorative plaque.
He has also donated a large quantity of drumsticks to the school, while music suite sponsors Lane & Browns have given instruments including guitars.
The link between Chad and Sandy comes from Richard Banks, the school’s former chair of governors, whose daughter Emma manages Chad in the UK.
And school head Karen Hayward was delighted with the day.
She told the Comet: “It was absolutely fantastic. We didn’t expect to be able to have such a high-profile celebrity.
“To have him come and be quite inspirational to the students, and show them his talents, was just fantastic. It was brilliant.”