Josh Klinghoffer thinks Red Hot Chili Peppers were making “cooler music” with him: “I was shocked when I heard their new record”

Josh Klinghoffer onstage with Jane's Addiction – the ex-Red Hot Chili Pepper's man reckons his former band was making cooler music with him
(Image credit: Ethan Miller / Getty)

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer has been sharing his opinion on the band’s recent recordings with John Frusciante, stating that he thinks that the group was making “cooler music” when he was in the lineup. 

“I had to listen to the new albums. I couldn’t let myself [not],” admits Klinghoffer, in a new interview with Brazilian podcast 5 Notas. “I was hearing little things about them. I don’t think I finished the second one. [2022’s Return Of The Dream Canteen]. I was trying to cram it in once before leaving on a plane, and I got as far as maybe the ninth song. I don’t think I listened to the rest.”

In addition, Klinghoffer discussed working with the group on new music prior to his 2019 departure when he was asked how he felt hearing the material RHCP released last year.

“It’s tough,” says Klinghoffer [around 33.12], in slight hesitation. “Because I honestly think we were doing cooler music. I would love for it to have been finished... I never want to sound negative about anyone doing music, but I honestly feel like I was shocked when I heard their new record.”

The comments are tempered elsewhere in the interview by Klinghoffer’s acknowledgement that he still loves and admires Frusciante – he also recalls fond times working with the RHCP man on solo material and in his and Flea’s Joy Division tribute band.

Later, Klinghoffer is asked about the prospects of working with Frusciante again, but seems (understandably) unsure about rekindling their relationship.

“I wouldn’t say there’s no chance,” offers Klinghoffer. “Even if we don’t talk much in the process, I feel like it would be fun to play some of those songs again or play them live.

“We don’t talk much these days but I've always maintained that I still have an enormous love for him, you know? He's one of my favorite musicians, one of my favorite writers, um, so you know, like… I’m not against the idea.”

Klinghoffer has previously described his time with RHCP as “enormously stifling creatively” and he has not been idle since leaving RHCP, having spent time touring with fellow rock veterans Pearl Jam and, more recently, Jane’s Addiction.

However, despite his heavyweight rock resumé, Klinghoffer told Guitar World last year, “I’ve never lost this sense that I’m a beginner.”

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.