Flea Talks About the New Red Hot Chili Peppers Album, 'I'm With You'

In a recent interview with Stereogum, the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist talked about a wide variety of topics, including the making of the band's new album, I'm With You.

When asked about how the making of I'm With You was different from other recent Chili Peppers albums, Flea had this to say:

"Well, there are a few huge differences. The number one difference is John Frusciante left the band, and he was a huge part of our creative process for a long time. I’m so grateful for him. He wrote the principal parts for many of our most popular songs, and the parts for many of our most artistically profound songs, which weren’t necessarily popular. He just gave us so much as a songwriter, as a player, as a human being, and just his relationship to music, which is such a beautiful and pure and powerful one, but we took two years off from the band during that time he left, and I didn’t think I’d want to continue the band without him. But once he left, I realized that dealing with this different situation, it seemed like it would be, I just felt so much love for the band, and love for Anthony, I just wanted to keep doing it and once we made that decision I decided to get Josh, so my point is — I kind of went on a big tangent there — a big difference is having Josh Klinghoffer as our guitar player, because he’s a much different guitar player then John. It makes our band move in a completely different direction, you know?

We still sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s really a lot different. Josh is a very textural, poetic, and sublime musician, and just comes at it from a different angle than anything that we’ve had before. So we’re just reacting to him, and it makes us play different, so we’re just going a different way, and it’s great.

Another difference is, during the time off, I went to school. I went to USC for a year and studied music theory, and got into playing the piano because of that — because I needed the piano to do my homework — and so I started playing piano and writing songs on the piano, so it’s just a much different place. Having never played a chordal instrument before, I just always played the bass and trumpet, I started writing songs on piano. A lot of the songs on the record were written on piano. And Josh also writes on the piano, so all this music was coming from the piano and that’s just never happened before. Stuff had been written on the guitar or on the bass. And it’s not just the fact that it’s being written on a different instrument, but you write something on the piano and you have melody and chords and rhythm and bass and all these things that exist within it and then reinterpret it for a rock band, and just the act of the interpretation, like taking something that exists and reapplying it, that act in itself lends a much different energy to what we’re doing. So, those changes are really big for us, you know, aesthetically and emotionally and spiritually; it’s a much different thing, our career has been a series a lives and deaths and rebirths so it’s just like a very … meaningful and rejuvenating rebirth for us."

Check out the full interview here.

As previously reported, the Chili Peppers' 10th studio album, I'm With You, will be released this Aug. 29.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.