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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith + Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard Had a ’90s Jazz Improv Group

Sometimes in life there are pairings that make you wonder what could have been, but according to Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, it’s probably better that their onetime project fizzled quickly.

In the latest Music Radar podcast series, ‘In Conversation With Chad Smith,’ the pair reflect on their long history of friendship, which includes a failed ’90s jazz improv outfit.

According to Smith, the pair got the idea to play together while on Lollapalooza in the early ’90s. Gossard reveals the name for their band was Cease and Desist, while Smith adds, “It was more like jazz odyssey was going to be.”

Gossard recalls, “It was just improvisation. We had done a couple of things where we’d just smoke weed and [play] … and sometimes it was fantastic.” “And other times it was ‘What the hell is this?,’” interjected Smith.

The group did make it so far as the stage, with some of the parts changing depending on the gig. At one point, Jane’s Addiction‘s Dave Navarro and Weapon of Choice’s Lonnie Marshall joined the group onstage at the Viper Room in Los Angeles.

“I still remember to this day that the opening four minutes of that jam with you playing with Lonnie Marshall that I’d never felt a rhythm section with so much weight. It was like, ‘Wow.’ Just the way you guys play together with you pushing on him and him pushing on you, it was like the widest groove I’d ever heard in my life,” recalls Gossard. The band also played a show that evolved into a Van Halen covers set with Mike McCready sitting in.

Eventually, the pair planned to take Cease and Desist on the road with a variety of players, but Smith broke his wrist and the window of opportunity passed. “We were unsustainable,” laughs Gossard.

Check out the full ‘In Conversation With Chad Smith’ video via Music Radar.

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