Transcript by puyol5.shun, taken from StadiumArcadium.com
Anthony Kiedis & Josh Klinghoffer Interview – Rockin’ On
– (as I walked in the room, Anthony has gone to the bathroom, leaving Josh sitting quietly on the sofa) so, can I start interviewing already?
Josh Klinghoffer: yeah, sure.
– Didn’t you find a lot of difficulties joining RHCP for a recording for the first time?
Josh Klinghoffer: No, not at all. but are you asking me if the recording was hard, or being a RHCP member?
– Well, I meant both actually.
Josh Klinghoffer: Then the answer is still no. Members in the band were already friends of mine and I had known them for a long time. As well, I had really liked their music from a long time ago… so you know, there was nothing hard being a new member.
– But if you were to become a new member of Led Zeppelin, wouldn’t you kill yourself?
Josh Klinghoffer: haha yeah I totally would, but at the moment I’m still alive so… (laugh)
(Anthony comes back from bathroom)
Anthony Kiedis: It’s really nice to meet you.
– It’s nice to meet you too.
Anthony Kiedis: I’m gonna get a coffee so you guys could continue the interview.
– Okay. So Josh, there was absolutely no difficulties from the beginning in any aspects?
Josh Klinghoffer: The only difficulty was that we had to choose 14 songs from all the songs we made.
(Anthony comes back with a coffee)
Anthony Kiedis: What are you guys talking about?
Josh Klinghoffer: He is saying that I’d kill myself if i were to be a new guitarist of Led Zeppelin.
Anthony Kiedis: Oh, that’s pretty nice opening for an interview.
– So guys, let’s start the actual interview now. I, as a interview, finally got to listen to the new album, I’m With You. It’s already your 10th album, but it’s still got new elements and challenge than ever in my opinion. So, what do you think about the album?
Anthony Kiedis: I really feel like it’s our tenth album, even though I just found out about it a second ago.
Josh Klinghoffer: You didn’t know it?
Anthony Kiedis: No, but did you?
Josh Klinghoffer: Yeah, of course.
Anthony Kiedis: I never knew that. Making a new record is always a challenge for us, but it’s kind of a challenge that all the musicians wish to have. In my opinion, that kinda challenge is more exciting and adventuresome to me when you are not doing it alone, but with others. You have no idea what’s gonna happen, but what I love the most is that I have friends around me who I can create the music with. There’s always someone next to you, so you don’t ever have to feel weighted about the challenge. In that sense, I’m pretty lucky, having those guys. And we’re also lucky that we got this new guitarist, Josh. He’s given us a lot of new things and his presence in the band has become the reason to continue creating music and challenging. It’s the greatest thing to us. No one knew what could be expected from him as a new guitarist, but I had always known him as a great musician and a great person. I always had a feeling that it’d be really easy and exciting to create music with him. And eventually, we made a great record with him, which was way better and more colorful than I ever expected. Hope it answered your question.
– Yeah, it did. Thanks.
Anthony Kiedis: So, I love this new album so much. Honestly, I fucking do. It sounds great from the beginning till the end.
– I agree with that. I guess that in the first process of making this record, the fact that John left the band didn’t go off your mind easily. When, and in what way, did you manage to get rid of thinking about his leaving?
Anthony Kiedis: First, I’d like to mention that it was a beautiful moment when he left the band. Not only to himself, but also to us all. I think it’s very rare when all the members in the band can stay happy with a loss of such amazing guitarist. I think hid decision (to leave the band) made him happy and the fact that he stays happy made me even happier. As he was brave enough to do such thing, we, as a band, could find a new start for us. So you know, I really thank him. I will always keep it as a great memory that me and him together created a great music. However, I actually had a feeling that there was gonna have to be a end point as RHCP with John Frusciante. And it went well. You know, nothing can stay the same forever and nor could RHCP.
Anthony Kiedis: When John left the band, he said he wants to talk to me and came all the way to my house. We talked in the entrance where sun was shining. He explained to me that he wants to leave the band and do his own music. Then, I, with respect and love, agreed with his decision. I actually said “It really is a good thing for you. Good luck man. I will stay in the band and do the same thing.” And it went well for both of us. On top of that, me, Chad, and Flea happened to have one same guy who we all wanted to do music with. It was Josh Klinghoffer. Josh was John’s friend for a long time and was his partner. So this series of changes synergistically had a weird and strange relationship. It was a destiny. Things like this sometimes cause problems, but it eventually went really really really well.
– Josh, I asked you about this already, but you can’t say there’s no pressure to be a new guitarist replacing John, so how did you get ready and prepared to be a new guitarist in RHCP? And in what way did you think you could make a contribution to the band?
Josh Klinghoffer: Well… I didn’t need to reboot my mind or anything. Simply, i just started playing guitar more than ever. I have been practicing hard for upcoming tour. Before I joined the band 1.5 year ago, I wasn’t actually focusing on playing guitar as I was just playing a role as a handy guitarist. At the moment, I feel like I haven’t reached the level where I decided to be a few years ago though. (laugh)
– Anthony, was there also a pressure to you as you had to make an album without John?
Anthony Kiedis: Only a tiny tiny bit, but yeah I actually did have a pressure. but when i started playing with Josh it was all gone. As soon as I entered the room and started jamming, I really felt like what we were doing was a really right thing. Like Josh (who wasnt focused on playing guitar before), I wasn’t focused on my instrument, singing, for a long time, so it took time to get back to my usual self as a singer. You know, voice is a real weird instrument, as it highly depends on your feeling, environment, and health etc… so i spent time trying to make myself as healthy as possible. Flea always said to me before Josh joined, that “i think we can still do a lot more things as a band, but i dont wanna do it in a half-finished state. if you wanna continue doing a band, you gotta do by very RHCP-like way, the best and most powerful way.” and I always answered “of course, it will be like that.” Even though i couldn’t be 100 percent sure if the new peppers would be better than the past, i was pretty sure it would be as good. We always get reborn from the ash. I mean, we can always make a breakthrough. so… sometimes its good to start a band from a scratch like this.
– You guys did the very first gig with Josh in Musicares in 2010. but when exactly did you guys start jamming for a new record? Was jamming process any different than before?
Josh Klinghoffer: It was 12 October in 2010 when we first started jamming. As far as i know, it wasn’t any different than before except for the fact that I was in the band. but those 3 guys have changed a lot compared to last album in my opinion.
Anthony Kiedis: Exactly, us 3 have changed a lot and we all got life different from the past. Luckily, Chad and Flea are real open musician and are always welcome to play with a new guy. Once i entered the room and there was Josh and Chad jamming already. u know, Chad loves it with Josh. He was like, “Wow, i just got someone to play with in my neighborhood.” The most amazing thing was that it went real smoothly from the beginning, when we first welcomed Josh as a new member, to the recording process. On purpose, we took 1 year to only write songs. We could finish it in 6 months, as we already had many songs written at that moment, which were enough for 2 records. but we had already decided to write songs for a year long. Eventually, as you could imagine, many songs written at the end made it on the actual record.
– But Brendan’s Death Song was written at the beginning of writing process, wasn’t it? And is the theme of this song the real man, Brendan?
Josh Klinghoffer: The answer is yes to both questions. It’s one of the very first songs we played.
Anthony Kiedis: On 12 October….. (he explains about Brendan which is almost the same as previous interview… so let me skip this part)
Josh Klinghoffer: 2 weeks before Brendan died, he sent me an email saying “congratulation! you joining the band will be one of the biggest turning points RHCP have ever had.” And on the day I started playing music with peppers, he died. Most of this song was written on that day.
Anthony Kiedis: Thank my god for letting us make this song. We could put something on the album that honors his death.
– What the new album surprised me was, for example, disco rhythm, African style and use of piano and etc… they are really new things to the band arent they. How did you guys come up with all those new things?
Josh Klinghoffer: All those things are what we really loved from before. They all came out naturally, as 4 musicians gathered, who have been in love with music for a long time, and just played any instruments randomly.. u know.
Anthony Kiedis: Speaking of disco type music, i sometimes like those. Some are really terrible though. When we mix it with rock, it stood out beautifully, just like the song in the album, Dance, Dance, Dance. but its not our first time to put disco taste in songs. Before, we wrote a song called Right On Time, which is like mix of disco, punk and rock. I mean, we had always put disco taste in our songs before in many kind of shapes.
– As I listened to your lyrics on the new album, I really felt like your words got way deeper. Your way of seeing the world has changed or something?
Anthony Kiedis: Man… are you asking me for a date?
– Haha, no.
Anthony Kiedis: You know, i just do my best to write the best words for a song. I never like analyze my own lyrics or anything. (he continues talkin about some deep artistic shit that i cant even translate… srryy) My 3 year old son always asked me to tell him a story. And tellin him a story all the time was like a good exercise for writing lyrics to me. (he laughs)
– Unbelievably, you are turning 50 next year, Anthony.
Anthony Kiedis: Im turning…. 48 next year.
– Haha stop kidding.
Anthony Kiedis: Well… yeah Im 48 at the moment.
– You guys have been through lots of things. The meaning of continuing as RHCP has ever changed in your life? for example, like compared to the last album?
Anthony Kiedis: No, not at all. As Josh said, when you get satisfied being in a band is when you have guys who you wanna share experiences with, make music with, and really be a band with. I think its very very true. That’s the real purpose of doing a band. There are a lot of other things, but it is the most important thing to me. We started playing music in 1983 because we liked each other, loved music, and wanted to play music together. It’s that simple, u know. Doing music with someone whos important to you is really wonderful thing. because with love for life, art, and your friends, you create some beautiful thing from the scratch. That’s pretty much the reason why we started the band and still continue doing it. Other things are great, too. sharing your songs with the whole world, playing songs live, getting money from the thing you love the most, making audience happy or unhappy sometimes, learning things from failures…. all those stuff are part of being in a band and its real real exciting. the reason why im here getting interviewed as a singer of RHCP, it hasnt changed at all.. since 1983.