As time has passed, some pretty strange collaborations have passed through the music industry. But this is one of the weirdest by far. Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ drummer Chad Smith recently teamed up with Dick Van Dyke for a kids album!
But wait, it gets better! Not only does the 84-year-old comedian appear on the CD, titled Rhythm Train. He also raps his way through the whole thing!
Rhythm Train, which tells the story of a train that travels around the world, was produced by Smith and L.A. kids’ singer Leslie Bixler. The record features rock, folk, bluegrass, sing-alongs, characters, and Van Dyke rapping under the moniker DVD.
“We had Chad [Smith] from the Chili Peppers lay down the beat,” Van Dyke told Spinner. “Once he starts going, you got it. He kind of drives you.”
Smith added, “I am certainly no rapper but I helped guide Dick with it the first day. It was pretty funny. He can come away with it, because it’s supposed to be silly — that’s not his normal thing. He comes from a different world, but he was up for it man.”
Don’t expect to see a Van Dyke rap album anytime soon though. “At my age, my generation, we are not particularly rap-crazy,” Van Dyke explained . “Rap has a great beat, but I swear to God, I have never been able to understand one word. I don’t know what they’re saying.”
In addition to his drumming, Smith also plays vocal characters like a pirate and train conductor on the album. “I may not be playing as hard, but I am still trying to be creative,” Smith said. ”It’s just trying to make the songs as good as I can. That doesn’t change.”
So how did Smith get involved with the project? You can thank his four-year-old son, Cole. “He was just obsessed when he was a little bit younger, with the whole Thomas the Train thing,” Smith said. “Obviously, music is all around our house. We have instruments, I play a little guitar, a little piano; we have a drum set here and there. It’s fortunate they are exposed to it that way. They look at your hands when you’re changing chords and strumming, and they want to play the strings. I just think it touches them on a level that we as parents can’t really realize.”
Rhythm Train currently available and can be found here. Now that this side project is done with, maybe Smith can work on getting that new Chili Peppers album out already.