You might know the name Josh Klinghoffer as the guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then again, you may know his name from his work with Gnarls Barkley, Bob Forest, John Frusciante or one of the many projects he’s been involved in. Soon, you will also know him for his band, Dot Hacker. Spawning from friendship and a desire to express the music he’d been writing on the side for years, Dot Hackerbecame a band in 2008 and even recorded an album. However, due to the demanding schedules of the band members, the album, ‘Inhibition’ will finally make its debut on May 1, 2012. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Klinghoffer about, not only, Dot Hacker, but also his musical background and what it’s like for him, balancing the release of ‘Inhibition’ with his Chili Peppers tour schedule.
We started our conversation with a little bit of the history behind why and how Dot Hacker originated. When I asked what the catalyst for starting a band of his own was, Klinghoffer said that he’d spent so much time touring with other artists, doing their music that he was ready to make some of his own. He explained that he very much enjoyed all the touring experiences and great musicians he’d had the opportunity to play with, but that he felt like there was something missing from his own musical experience. While touring with Gnarls Barkley, Klinghoffer (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and the man who would soon become the other founding member of Dot Hacker, Clint Walsh (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals) talked about and decided to form a band. From there they recruited Eric Gardner (drums) and Jonathan Hischke (bass).
Klinghoffer explained that there wasn’t a prescribed writing process for the band. He had quite a few demos and ideas that he brought to the to writing sessions, but sometimes the guys would just “jam for hours and pick apart bits”; from that they were able to put together the ‘Inhibition’ album. However, Dot Hacker was able to release their newly completed album or book any tour dates, the Red Hot Chili Peppers asked Klinghoffer to join the band as their guitarist. Having known and played with the Chili Peppers before, this wasn’t an opportunity he wanted to pass up, so he accepted. After working on the Chili Peppers tenth studio album, “I’m With You” and beginning the tour to support that release, the Dot Hacker album still sat, ready to be heard by the masses. Klinghoffer is now doing a balancing act between the two projects. When asked if he felt like he was constantly changing gears, he replied that a couple of months ago, he may have said no, but that after a recent show at the Troubadour with Dot Hacker falling in the middle of a Chili Peppers rehearsal week, he now realizes that it will take some scheduling skill and possibly a day off in between projects to decompress, in order to keep up with everything. While this sounds like it could be overwhelming, he said “When all is said and done, I’m just thankful to be able to play music period, and I’ve done something to where I have two bands full of people that I absolutely adore and love”. It makes perfect sense after speaking with him that he would enjoy taking on so much. It was evident throughout our chat that his passion for music is unquestionable and that there is literally nothing else he would rather be doing.
Another subject we touched on when we spoke was the resurgence that vinyl is making in the current music scene. Klinghoffer is a big proponent of vinyl and stated that it is his preferred format for buying new releases on. He is pleased that Dot Hacker’s label, ORG Music is also a fan of the format and actually will have a limited number of copies of ‘Inhibition’ available on vinyl, for fans that feel the same way he does. Klinghoffer went on to say, “It felt so good to get a box of this record on vinyl. It was one of the best moments of my life”, a sentiment I’m sure, many musicians would echo these days.
I mentioned that I remembered having a record player as a child and we ended up talking a little bit about how Klinghoffer went from a typical kid to a touring musician. He said he remembered having toy instruments as a child and that at the age of nine, he couldn’t decide whether or not he wanted to learn to play drums or guitar, so his mother made an executive decision and started him in a drumming class. By the age of fifteen, this multi-instrumentalist had decided that he wanted to play full time and left school in an attempt to satisfy his hunger for music and the culture that surrounds it. By seventeen he had joined The Bicycle Thief, with Bob Forester and has been playing professionally ever since. Currently thirty-two, Klinghoffer was in attendance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this year, when the Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted. Being their current guitarist made him the youngest member ever to be inducted, although he humbly stated that he had no control over when he was born and doesn’t feel he’s “put in the amount of work and created as much joy and happiness” throughout the years as the other members of the band.
Although currently on tour with the Chili Peppers, Klinghoffer is excited for the release of Dot Hacker’s freshmen LP and hopes to be able to schedule some tour dates with the band in the near future. For him, it’s still a little odd to think that this album is brand new to us, since it’s been done for almost three years. He said that the band has already started writing more songs and will just need to find a block of time when everyone is available to start recording their next album. When asked if he had a favorite song on the album, Klinghoffer said that he was especially proud that the song ‘Discotheque’ ended up making it onto the album and that he also like ‘Puncture’ quite a bit. I for one, am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of ‘Inhibition’ and also,
– Leslie Lavery (Staff writer)
- Josh Klinghoffer Talks Dot Hacker’s “Inhibition”, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Books, and More
- Josh Klinghoffer fala sobre o álbum Inhibition