Bassist didn’t plan to continue without guitarist Frusciante – but he was the one who asked replacement Klinghoffer to join
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea wanted to split the band rather than keep going when guitarist John Frusciante refused to return after their two-year hiatus.
The four-piece went to reconvene in November 2009 but Frusciante declared he wanted no part of it, and he’d effectively left after touring their 2006 album Stadium Arcadium.
But Flea had a change of heart, because of his loyalty to singer Anthony Kiedis – and it was the bassist who asked Josh Klinghoffer to become the Chilis’ new axeman.
“I didn’t think I’d want to continue the band without John,” says Flea. “We’ve been friends since we were 15, and we were inseparable. Our relationship has been really antagonistic: we offend each other and we can be a couple of self-righteous twats. But I really love the guy and he’s my brother.
“But I just felt so much love for the band, and for Anthony, that I just wanted to keep doing it.”
Learning to work with Klinghoffer as a songwriter was a challenge for Flea: “The trickiest part was the best part, which is that he’s completely different to John. He’d be floating around the outside with this ethereal texture thing and it was like, ‘Whoa, when’s he going to do that thing we know?’
“And he didn’t. I had to consciously say to myself, ‘Dude, relax.’ Josh is a very textual, poetic and sublime musician. He comes at it from a different angle. It makes us play different but we still sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
The band’s new album, I’m With You, is released at the end of August.