La Tercera: Josh Klinghoffer Interview
Read the Spanish version of this interview at: www.latercera.com
Lea esta entrevista en español en: www.latercera.com
Before becoming the official guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Josh Klinghoffer went to one of those guest musicians group – anonymous and great – operating discreetly in the rear of the stage.
In 2007 he was requested by the Californian band to accompany them at the end of the tour of Stadium Arcadium, their ninth album. Klinghoffer stood behind John Frusciante (then guitarist main of the group, his great friend and musical partner in several parallel projects) and from there took care of the second guitar, keyboards and vocals. The Arcadium Stadium was the last tour with Frusciante in the band.
In 2009, after a two-year hiatus that musicians were taken, the obvious thing happened: Josh Klinghoffer, the discrete multi-instrumentalist who knew perfectly the main repertoire of the band was invited to replace John Frusciante.
The youngest member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (36 years, while the rest is average 50) is an affable and with a serene aura man. He was in Paris a few weeks ago with his teammates to promote The getaway, the eleventh album of the group, released in mid-June and the first since Mother’s milk (1989), which was not produced by Rick Rubin, the legendary band producer.
The getaway was produced by Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse, one of the most sought producers of the last decade, able to impose his personal mark vintage, something sinister and full of ghostly reverberations – in such diverse artists as Norah Jones, Beck and The Black Keys.
In a room at the luxurious George V hotel, Klinghoffer received La Tercera and recalled that when he was in Santiago in Lollapalooza festival (2014), someone taught him to shout “chi-chi-chi-le-le-le. Viva Chile!”
How would you describe the work of producer Danger Mouse and what you consider his main contribution to this album?
What was different was the method by which the songs were recorded. Since the creation of the band, the songs were written before and then the whole group went to one room in the studio and recorded live, but this time, for the first time, the band played instrument by instrument, part by part and that is a different construction of the themes and recording approach. Some songs were even built in the studio, which was something new to everyone.
Before Danger Mouse join the band as producer, you guys had written more than 20 songs. When he came, he told the band to put them aside and to prepare new ones. What challenge that meant to you?
We had many songs, Brian heard them and it’s not that he did not like them, but he wondered how he could be involved in them, so he chose some that he thought could be improved. However, I think he chose to join the band and create the songs from the beginning, then maybe the challenge for us was to make us feel emotionally connected with something that we just created, when we lived up to two years with some of these other songs.
What was your specific role in the design of this album?
Each song is different in its construction mode. I can come up with a complete theme with structure and chords, and then each member adds their part; but another song can happen suddenly from an improvisation. There was a situation in which Chad (Smith) and Brian were listening to an old compilation of psychedelic music and then Chad started playing drums, Flea picked up the bass, then in front of the availability of sounds, I was free to do what I wanted. My role has been the same since the first day I joined the band. I can propose songs and generally everything is very collaborative.
Although several years have passed, you are often compared with John Frusciante. How difficult was it to find your own place in the band?
It hasn’t been hard for me. As I said, since I got into the band my bandmates were very welcoming and very open to my input, my sound and my opinions about the music and about everything. I will never thank them enough for that, but in terms of what other people think about it, I don’t have control over that. I know there are people who are always comparing me to John, which is ridiculous. I am not him.
I didn’t become a guitarist in the same way that he did. He studied very meticulously since a very young age. He became an incredible guitarist, and he focused on that instrument specifically. I didn’t. I was a drummer and I picked up the guitar when I didn’t want to play drums anymore. I don’t read the internet that much, but I know there are many discussions about this topic. It is nice that people are interested enough to talk about the music, but I try to stay away from it.
Leaving the subject of music. What is your feeling about the murder that occurred recently in Orlando?
It is heartbreaking and I think things will get worse and worse. I think this world is allowing people without education and criteria to understand the options that exist to do things like that, at least in the country where I live. I would not want to get into a political discussion about guns, but I wish we could live in a world without them. I know it’s easy to say, but there are other countries where it does not exist in the same amount as in mine.
Do you have plans to go to Latin America with the tour of the new album?
For now, we have no plans, but we plan to have plans. I really want to go, I love playing in Latin America. I think the energy that the audience there gives the band has no comparison.
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