Life’s been cool for the Red Hot Chili Peppers over the past three years. After the huge Stadium Arcadium album and world tour, the band took a long and reinvigorating break from the public eye.
Bassist Flea, 49, went back to school to take a degree in music composition. Drummer Chad Smith, 50, formed a rock supergroup. And singer Anthony Kiedis, 49, finally found contentment by becoming a single dad to son Everly Bear after splitting with his partner Heather and moving to the beach.
One of the most successful acts in rock history, they’ve sold more than 60 million albums, won six Grammys, and the current collection, I’m With You, went straight to No 1 in Britain. Now they’re back with a series of UK dates, and we talked to Kiedis and Smith
“It’s been a good few years,” says Kiedis, who has been clean and sober for nearly 11 years. “The greatest thing for me was becoming a dad and the really good fortune of not having to work or go on the road for the first two years of my son’s life.
“I recently moved to the seashore and having this little person in my arms walking through the sand dunes looking at the ocean was just what the doctor ordered. It was a reawakening for me in terms of being an elated human being.
“Everly is with me in London. It’s an experimental run. I would love to have him on tour with me for the next couple of years.
“I wouldn’t have been a dad if I wasn’t sober. It is what led me to fatherhood. It’s kind of what led me to most of the great success in my life. It allows me to do my best at everything.”
The reunited Chilis have spent a year writing 50 new songs. But one major part of the band was missing. Guitarist John Frusciante, a driving force behind their biggest hits, quit the band in 2009 for a second time albeit amicably on this occasion.
“It felt good because I knew he would be happier doing something else,” Kiedis smiles. “We had accomplished so much with John, something we will live and die being very proud of.”
New member Josh Klinghoffer has slotted straight into the band. At the age of 32 he already has an enviable CV.
He was a friend and collaborator with Frusciante and has worked with the likes of Gnarls Barkley, Warpaint and PJ Harvey. Kiedis says Klinghoffer has added something fresh. “Josh walked through the door with a sense of self,” he continues.
“Within a couple of weeks he started showing us some of his ideas and we thought these are really beautiful and we can build on them and make it happen.” Smith was delighted to see a reinvigorated Flea return after learning to play the piano.
“He got really inspired by furthering his knowledge of music,” says Chad. “He went to college for a year and he really dedicated himself to music theory.
“I had to come in with some new things on the drums and we all went up on it. It was real fun again.”
The band recorded I’m With You in the legendary East West studios, where they made Californication and By The Way.
After giving themselves a year to write, it’s not surprising that the band has ended up with a lot of material.
“We recorded about 50 songs in total. Not all were completely finished and along the way we had to choose or collective favourites to record and finish,” says Kiedis.
“The more we wrote the more we wanted to write and it snowballed. It was all such an exciting process.”
● The Red Hot Chili Peppers play London (November 7, 9, 10), Glasgow (12), Manchester (14,15), Sheffield (17) and Birmingham (19, 20).
● The Red Hot Chili Peppers return to Britain in June to perform two massive open air shows, their only UK dates of 2012.
They take to the stage at Knebworth Park on June 23 and Sunderland Stadium Of Light the following day.