Translated by Winry J. Rockbell (Click here to check out a worth-reading article about Dot Hacker written by Winry.)
Most of the bands on tour spends a short period of time in the cities in which they play, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been staying in Budapest for a few days now. Why was this visit longer than?
I don’t know, but I think it’s because the stadium was available for several days. We had the opportunity to come here sooner to mount the stage and rehears. We played throughout the summer festivals, this is the first stadium concert of our tour, and the team had the opportunity to test the staging. It is probably a good place for them to try out everything. Overall, everything went very well. The rest of the band had been here, twenty years ago, I think, but I’ve never been in this country before.
What do you think of Budapest?
I love it. It is true that I have only walked in the center, but I’ve been on both sides of the river. Today I went to the castle and I visited the Modigliani exhibition.
When two concerts are held in the same city, as here in Budapest, the same songs are played in both cases, or there are changes in the setlist?
We change it as much as possible. Of course there are some songs that everyone wants to hear, so we have to play them, but we will try to change it as much as we can.
Why is this so important?
First of all, because of us that we don’t have to play the same songs all the time and because of the audience too because there are people who buy tickets for more than one concert. In my opinion that the best would be if we could change everything at every show because it would make the concert more unique for the people who come to our shows. I played in a band in which the same songs were played every night of the tour, and after a while we did not enjoy it anymore.
You are the umpteen guitarist in the band and your friend and former bandmate, John Frusciante, was the predecessor guitarist of the band. How difficult was it to replace him?
It was not difficult because I’m not trying to replace him, I’m just trying to play music in a band in which he also played, and with the people with whom he was previously. Of course every night I have to play songs that he wrote, but I love them, so it facilitates things. What is really hard that people compare us to each other. The band certainly has history and a huge fan base, who are most familiarized with John. I am here to continue it and keep it alive.
Can we say that now you get used to the situation?
Yes, I’m used to it. The most difficult part of it when I leave the hotel and people always want to take pictures with me. I can not stand it (laughs).
So today, we will not take pictures…
No, this is different because we have talked to each other, but it’s strange for me to take pictures on the street with people I don’t know. This is crazy. In addition, I don’t like to be included in photos, I never liked it. And now everyone wants photos with me.
So it could not be easy to get used to this level of popularity.
It is not like that, because I like to meet people and talk to them, but it seems that everyone just wants to take photos, which for me is incomprehensible. I don’t like social media and those things, so I usually say no to such cases which doesn’t make people happy.
Before you officially become a member of the band in 2010, you had played in some concerts with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. How did it feel when you actually got into the band?
I know them and their music long ago, I was a fan so for me it was natural to play their songs, because I did it before. They didn’t know me that well, so I think it was stranger for them than for me. I really only play music with people who I had long admired. When they chose me, my first thought was that we need to make sure that’s a good idea, we need to have some kind of chemistry, which makes it able to work with it all, and as we started to play, it worked.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers released two albums since you have joined the band. I think that in the latest album, The Getaway, your role was bigger than in the previous one (I’m With You).
Not really, I would say it was the same amount.
This is interesting because it always highlighted about the album.
I know and people usually think it badly. In the sense , it is not true because I wrote as much to the previous album as for the new.There was no change in a way how we build my writings into the songs.It’s more like that it is more comfortable for us to work together but I don’t feel that I have a bigger role. They were open minded about my ideas but they were always like that.
And about the Red Hot Chili Peppers music, how it has changed since you are in the band?
I don’t really know and I don’ think nor I should tell you. I hope it changed a little bit but I couldn’t say how. If we think about the previous guitarists ,like John or Dave Navarro, they have different personalities and I am a different person too. I couldn’t say what is my influence on the songs. However, the other members were different people ten years ago, when they played with the previous guitarists. They changed a lot. So in this case we become new people time to time.
Are you satisfied with the new album?
That means that sometimes you aren’t satisfied? Why?
I don’t know. I don’t think it is bad, in fact. But I am very strict with it. I only hear from it what i don’t like. But overall I think we did a good job, and I’m very happy with our achievement. But it is hard to say that I like it, because this is my personality.
How do the audience accept the new songs on the concert?
I don’t know but I hope they like it. We will see. Now we will play in enclosed areas, and it is closer to the audience, you can see the reactions better.At the festivals we stay very far from the people and they only want to hear the greatest hits. They are standing in the cold and mud and they only want to hear the songs that they are familiar with.But the places like this concert the people only come because of us. I feel they will be more open for the new songs, we will see.
It’s not strange to be the youngest in the band? They are 20 years older.
Usually I don’t feel that. Although it is true that they have children, and I don’t, this is a big difference, but in fact these guys are all so young that sometimes I feel that I am the eldest among them.
Of course, they spent much more time on this planet, so they have much more experience.
In 2012 the band was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and thus you became the youngest musician who reached it. How does it feel like?
I really didn’t do anything which make me deserve to be there. I’m just there because I play in the band. However, I feel honored to be included with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.