Josh Klinghoffer: “I’ve never lost this sense that I’m a beginner, and I think that gives me a more primal approach to the guitar”

Multi-instrumentalist Josh Klinghoffer of Pluralone performs live on stage at Viejas Arena at San Diego State University on May 03, 2022 in San Diego, California.
(Image credit: Jim Bennett/Getty Images)

In December 2019, Josh Klinghoffer’s world was upended when he was given the stunning and abrupt news that, after 10 years of membership in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, his services were no longer required and that the band’s longtime guitarist, John Frusciante, was rejoining. He didn’t see it coming, and for a period he felt numb, but given time and space he’s been able to process his dismissal and put things in perspective. 

“Obviously, it’s sad when something is taken from you,” Klinghoffer says. “I did a perfect 10 years with them, but for as much as I love those guys and loved playing with them, it was also enormously stifling creatively. They’re an established band with an established sound, and I learned over time how little deviating from that was possible.”

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar World, Guitar Player, MusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.