You know the drill. Ask a seasoned musician if they have any regrets about their career and they’ll say they ‘wouldn't change a thing’. Not so, in the case of Flea. The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist was recently interviewed by the LA Times and revealed that he’s previously discussed re-recording the band’s first album.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ self-titled debut was released in 1984, but now – speaking to the paper’s music critic, Mikael Wood – the bass player says he wishes he could revisit the material.
“I always regret the way we made the first one,” says Flea. “I think the songs are really good. Our band was smoking at the time. But [drummer] Jack [Irons] and [guitarist] Hillel [Slovak] quit, and we hired these two other guys: Jack Sherman and Cliff Martinez.
“Both were great musicians, but the connection just wasn’t as profound as we had with the guys we started with. I’ve often wanted to go back and re-record that album, but I can never talk anyone into it.”
Flea has also previously said he wanted to “go back and fix” a track on 1995’s One Hot Minute. However, RHCP’s debut album celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, so this is probably his best window to convince his current bandmates to jump on some new sessions – particularly given the band rehearsed material from their earliest releases when John Frusciante returned to the group last year.
When it comes to Flea’s past bandmates, the aforementioned drummer, Martinez, has nonetheless enjoyed a fruitful career in music, breaking into film music in the 1990s and contributing to the scores of Drive, Traffic and The Lincoln Lawyer. Guitarist Sherman, meanwhile, later worked with Bob Dylan and George Clinton, among others, before he passed away in 2020.
Elsewhere in the interview, Flea discusses current RHCP guitarist John Frusciante’s performance on the current tour, having previously expressed concerns about how he would handle adjusting to the band’s sizeable tour schedule.
“[It’s been] really good,” says Flea. “Each gig is like a sacred thing for him. In true John fashion, he practices for like five hours before every show – Blow By Blow by Jeff Beck on, playing every single solo, warming his fingers up.”
The guitarist has never been a slouch when it comes to practicing. Indeed, if anything, he goes too far – a motivation that was evidenced when Frusciante’s guitar teacher told him he wasn’t good enough, so he started learning Steve Vai licks.