Smith was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota but spent most of his childhood in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Kiedis admired Smith and found his persistence pretty impressive.("Scar Tissue", Anthony Kiedis with Larry Sloman, 2004, Time Warner Books) Smith joined the Chili Peppers in December 1988 and within a few months was recording his first album with the band, Mother's Milk. Smith reflected on joining the band in a 2012 interview by saying “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, cool, they have a record deal. Great! I’d love to be in a band that has a record deal. We started playing, and right away we just hit it off musically. I was like, ‘Man, this is a blast! These guys are great!’ ... We were just doing what we do. We just jammed, which is what we still do today. It’s very similar.”
In 2008, during a break for the Chili Peppers, Smith joined the hard rock supergroup Chickenfoot. The group has released two albums to date.
In 2011, due to touring commitments with the Chili Peppers, Smith was unable to tour with Chickenfoot and was temporarily replaced by Kenny Aronoff although Smith still remains a member of the band and plans to record more music with them during the next break away from the Chili Peppers.
In August 2011, the Chili Peppers released I'm with You, their tenth studio album, seventh with Smith. The band expects to be on the road until at least 2013 supporting the album although Smith said a new album isn't expected until at least late 2013. In April 2012, the band was inducted by Chris Rock into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On May 16, 2012, Smith rejoined Chickenfoot for a four song encore at the Orpheum in Boston, MA.
In March of 2012, Smith released The Chad Smith Drum App which is free mobile application for iPhone, iPad and Android devices and features his "Drummer GPS." The GPS section of the app spotlights drummers Smith has been influenced by and those he regards as some of the best drummers around today. The Chad Smith Drum App has received great praise from both fans and from fellow drummers.
Smith and the Chili Peppers will wrap up their I'm With You World Tour in April 2013. The band will take a break before writing music for their eleventh studio album, which Smith said will be around September 2013.
In May 2013 it was announced that Smith would be starting his own podcast through MusicRadar where he will interview big name musical artists.
Smith joined Sammy Hagar in the studio to work on music for his twelfth studio album. They were joined by guitarist Neal Schon and bassist Michael Anthony and according to Hager it was the re-birth of his 80's band, HSAS, which featured Schon and two other members.
In June 2013, the readers of UK based Rhythm magazine ranked Smith and Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea the 4th greatest rhythm section of all time.
On May 8, 2004 in Hopetown, Abaco, Bahamas, Smith got married for the second time to architect Nancy Mack. They have three sons together. Smith has 3 other children from previous relationships; daughter Manon St. John Smith with first wife, Maria St. John, daughter Ava Smith, and son Justin Smith.
Smith is a diehard Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and University of Michigan Wolverines fan, loves playing golf, riding motorcycles, surfing and watching Saturday Night Live. He bears a striking resemblance to actor Will Ferrell and has acknowledged the resemblance in various interviews.
Smith regularly contributes to many non profit organizations including: MusiCares, Silverlake Conservatory of Music, Surfer's Healing, an organization which provides aid to children facing Autism, Right Turn in Boston, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Children's Hospitals across the United States and Camp Korey, which is one of Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Camps for children with serious illness.
In March of 2013, Smith joined NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) to lobby leaders in Washington, D.C. on the importance of comprehensive music education in public schools across the country.
Vater Percussion Chad Smith Funk Blasters
Chad Smith Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 9.