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Red Hot Chili Peppers on Bowie, Trump and bromances

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis and Flea on bromances, getting snubbed by Bowie and the chilling prospect of President Trump…

Once, the Red Hot Chili Peppers sang about scoring smack in LA’s nocturnal underbelly. Today Anthony Kiedis and Flea welcome Classic Rock to more salubrious digs, in the well-heeled beach city of Malibu. Even after 33 years together they make an unlikely yin/yang, the thoughtful frontman contrasting with the bassist’s goggle‑eyed mania. Yet both are committed to the survival of this band, and think The Getaway their eleventh album, represents a return to form.

You could argue that the Chili Peppers are due one. The loss – for the second and presumably final time – of linchpin guitarist John Frusciante hit them hard, and 2011’s I’m With You came and went with little fanfare. Now, produced by Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) and splicing their trademark funk-rock motifs with loops, strings and left-field sound effects, The Getaway is the sound of a veteran band putting their balls on the line. “I love the fact that we took the risk and it paid off,” Kiedis says.


Flea, had you not broken your arm skiing, would this album have been out earlier?

Flea: It would’ve been, yeah. That took six months off the process. I really thrashed my arm – it broke in like five places. I have this big bump now, a screw. Feel it. See, it’s metal. It was really scary, cos there was a while that I didn’t know I’d ever be able to play again. But I can, so I’m happy about that.

So no more skiing from now on?

Flea: Oh no, I already went again. Snowboarding. I have to keep moving. I’ll be dead next thing you know, so I have to do the things that make me happy.

Why did you cancel your KROQ Weenie Roast gig in May?

Anthony Kiedis: I tell you what, as a band we do not like to cancel a show. It’s the last thing in the world we want to do. I drove all the way, after not sleeping for twenty-four hours because my guts had basically seized up and I was white as a ghost and feverish. I still made the two-hour drive from my house to the venue, cos I was going to stand there like a ghost and sing these songs and let Josh [Klinghoffer, guitar] and Flea carry the party. And my nurse was there and she’s like: “We’re going straight to the hospital.” Turned out to be the right choice, because by the time I got to the hospital I could not stand.


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