MX Citybeat: “Talented Crop” (Ago 08, 2013)
Transcription by Left_Hander from Stadium Arcadium forum
By Michelle Read
Josh Klinghoffer picks up the phone to promote an album that he recorded four years ago, while he’s in the studio to record the vocals to a song he wrote eight years ago.
Things get a bit topsy-turvy for Klinghoffer’s band Dot Hacker, who try to achieve their teenage dreams of having their own band while touring with some of the biggest outfits in the world.
Klinghoffer is the current guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, having replaced John Frusciante in the band in 2009.
He has also played and toured with PJ Harvey, Beck, The Butthole Surfers and met his band mates Clint Walsh and Eric Gardner, who have played with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tom Morello, while they all played with Gnarls Barkley.
Throw friend Jonathan Hischke into the mix of talented young session types and you have Dot Hacker.
Named after Gardner’s grandmother rather than some kind of internet thing, Dot Hacker play what they call architectural sounds built on a foundation of bold, manipulated tones and supported by lush eclectic textures and angular rhythm. Their first album Inhibition – released in Australia this week – delves into Klinghoffer’s endeavours to be comfortable with stepping up as a frontman.
“The theme lyrically, for me personally being the leader of the band but always playing with other people, was to do with feeling inhibited or never feeling comfortable enough,” he says.
“So finally getting that chance with this band was a way of overcoming that inhibition, I guess.
“I certainly don’t play with any amount of inhibition on stage or when I play in other people’s bands, so when I came to being the driving force or front person there was definitely a lot of things in my way personally that I had to get over. I think it’s just a poncy way of saying that.”
The experience and profile bought by Dot Hacker’s other band commitments also throw up other challenges.
It’s difficult to get all four band members in the same place at the same time, so their music is written and recorded on the fly.
That means they have to trust each other and their instincts and sometimes just let go of their wishes to spend more time perfecting the recordings. It also means that Klinghoffer finds himself writing songs in unusual places.
“I write the lyrics to a lot of songs, and I don’t recommend this, in the car,” he says.
“Driving with my legs and writing. I did get into a car accident earlier this year. I think I wrote a lot of the lyrics to Inhibition driving up to northern California, writing in a notebook in the dark, swerving like I was drunk.
“It’s one of the only times that I’m forced to physically to be in one place and I can be alone and work on words or phrasing and melody. I do a crazy amount of writing in the car.”
Klinghoffer hopes to release Dot Hacker’s next album by the end of this year.
Dot Hacker might also chalk up more band milestones by touring Australia at the end of this year, adding significantly to the band’s current number of shows, which stands at around 20.
It’s sure to be a good show from the guy who wears knee braces underneath his trousers to support all of the splits, jumping and diving he does on stage.
Maybe he has learned something from Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis that can help with inhibition?
“Anthony is one of the greatest frontmen to ever grace any stage,” he says.
“I think my being uncomfortable and having people look at me results in me having this confident wild flailing live existence, which is kind of oxymoronic, I know.
“Anthony has taught me lots of things about lots of things. I’ve never not held an instrument and been a front person.
“If I’m ever allowed to put the guitar down and not have to be behind a piano or something, you might see me getting my Kiedis on.
“You’ll never see me without a shirt, though, that’s the difference.”
Inhibition (Smack Face Records) is out now.
- Previous Western Scene’s EP (contributions from Jonathan Hischke)
- Next Finally Free – Interview with Josh