Radio Rock Finland Interview with Josh (June 2016)
INTERVIEWER: So it must be quite of an interesting time for you now. It’s almost a month to the album release. So what’s the main feeling? Are you nervous, excited that finally people are going to hear it?
JOSH: I don’t know. I actually don’t really think about it that much. I’m excited to get on tour play them live and that’s kind of fun for me. But I guess I have sort of found that not really thinking or caring about what other people think or say is the most beneficial to my mental health.
INTERVIEWER: It is now your second Red Hot Chili Peppers album. Was it now easier starting the whole process?
JOSH: No, wasn’t. I though it might be, but wasn’t. Cause we didn’t do this album anything like we did the last album. So I think for all of us, it was very challenging change of scenery this time around. New producer, new methods, a studio where we’ve never worked before. All these things were different.
INTERVIEWER: I was pretty surprised when I heard that Danger Mouse was going to produce this album. How did you end up working with him?
JOSH: I’ve known him for 10 years or a little more. So when names were being thrown around, inevitably his was at the top of the list just because I’m friends with him, the band knows him a little, Flea knows him a little bit but I think we were all sort of looking for an excuse to work together again. He had a lot of success and what he’s done so he earn the trust of people and I think everyone was excited to see what he could bring to the band’s already well-established sound.
INTERVIEWER: The album does sounds really fresh. So what was the things that he brought to the table?
JOSH: We wrote songs with him in the studio, which the band never had done before. Usually the band comes in with all the songs, have a time, and there is a producer who kind of Just helps shape, helps with the arrangements, a vocal part here and there. But this time, the way Brian likes to work is really getting in there from the ground floor, sort of watching the song from the beginning. He was there with Chad working on the drum beat and then Flea would go next and put some bass down and I would go on top of that. It’s a very new way of working. I forgot exactly what you asked…
INTERVIEWER: Now when you think about the whole sessions, was that the method that suits you?
JOSH: There was some positive results. The songs that we worked with Brian and worked on in the studio are good and we all enjoy playing them. We haven’t played them live yet but we’re practicing them and learning how to play them. We love doing them so yeah, it was very positive. I don’t know if it’s preferable to do it that way cuz it’s just rare to have a band these days at all. A band with people that like to playing with each other and can really ????? each other. We don’t hear that as much anymore. I think it was very enjoyable and agreeable to do with the way we’ve done it but I don’t know if it’s better. It’s was just different and we all enjoyed it. It was tough at times but…
INTERVIEWER: I never heard about studio sessions that aren’t tough like once in a while. So, “I’m With You” went number one in 18 countries. Did you have any pressure now?
JOSH: I don’t fell pressure because of any sort of numbers or because of this. I’m still sort of getting used to the fact that I’m in this band and that they had such an illustrious past before I was part of it. I still feel like there’s probably tons of people out there that hate me. There’s always pressure to live up to the enormous amount of good music this band already made. I’m the most cynical person that I know so I have to be able to justify doing what I’m doing to myself. Sometimes it’s hard and I’ve had a hard time over the last couple years because there’s been moments where I couldn’t find much positive in what we were doing. But you know, with everything you kind of get stuck in here and there. Flea got injured and we took quite a large chunk of time off. That was hard, all you’re left to do is sit there and ponder what you’re working on and think about whether it’s worth anything or not. But yeah, I think I always have a high expectation of myself. I think if it takes us four years or five years to put out another album, I will be very upset because I just really feel like we have to keep putting out new music and keep working and keep trying to exceed the expectations that I put on myself. I just always want to come up with something that’s exciting and new. I hope we’ve done that this time. I’m not sure if…
INTERVIEWER: You definitely have…
JOSH: That’s good. You know, it’s hard… I don’t have any perspective, I’ve been…
INTERVIEWER: You’re too familiar with that. So, I understood that you’ve been puting in the songs already in the “I’m With You” álbum. Did that come naturally when you became part of the writing process?
JOSH: The question was if they (songs) comes naturally? I write a lot of stuff and I think the rest of the guys from the get-go were very welcoming to me as a band member, as a writer, as an equal part of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was amazing and beautiful to be on the receiving of… just their warmth and their welcoming nature. There were times… Are you talking about the last album?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, and this one.
JOSH: There were times where I feel… Came up with me again on this album, which I tried not do or I tried to do it differently to where I wouldn’t feel this way but… There is a strange dynamic where if Flea writes something it’s Flea, and he is in the Red Hot Chili Peppers and he has been for 30 years. If I write something, you know, I’m in the band and it’s something that is expected of me to bring songs in, but I’m not sure if it necessarily fits with the band. There would be times where I’ll show a song or bring something in, and I feel like some people might not know how to react to it, and then it makes me feel like I don’t know if I’m doing a good job or not. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes with Flea or if Anthony does what he does it’s just the band. it’s just them, it’s what they are. But I write so many different kinds of songs that sometimes I would get lost. “Wait, is this song really good for this band? Should I not show it to them? I don’t know if they will like it. Is that because it’s not good, or it doesn’t come natural to them? Should we keep working on it, or just throw it away?” There was a lot of confusion with me. But back to your original question, they’ve always been very welcoming to my writing and I can’t thank them enough for that. Sometimes we have a problem, which is a good problem to have, where we write too much. Last album we had more, we recorded 50 songs. We had this whole secret b-sides album that no one knows about it.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, with 100 songs or something…
JOSH: No, it’s like 17 extra songs like… Do you know about it?
JOSH: Yeah, cause no one knows about it, but there is an extra songs for our last album that you can get as 17 songs extra album. It was like a secret hidden Red Hot Chili Peppers album that no one knows about.
INTERVIWER: Definitely nobody knows about it…
JOSH: Is out there, it’s called “I’m Beside You”
INTERVIEWER: Was any easier now with “The Getaway”?
JOSH: No. Because there were new challenges. I thought it would be easier but then this time around their kids are getting older so what used to be six hour rehearsals are now four hour rehearsals. There’s always some obstacle to overcome.
INTERVIEWER: It seems like you are pretty hard to yourself. You making on yourself quite of a lot of pressure.
JOSH: I can’t help that. Maybe someone can tell me how to not do that.
INTERVIEWER: I don’t know. I think it’s something that you can’t help. But when did you started to feel like a member of the band and not just the touring guitarist?
JOSH: Day one kind of, and just yesterday. It’s really that fluid. They made me feel so welcome from the get-go but also another thing to understand is that I know them from 20 years. I met them all back in the late nineties so it wasn’t like I was walking into something I wasn’t familiar with. I toured with them as the second musician behind John’s, back in 2007. I was very familiar with the way things were done in this band. The way the touring work and all the people that tour with the band. So I was very familiar in a lot of ways but then in certain ways,like I just said, sometimes writing this album was very difficult and I would walk away feeling like maybe I’m not an equal member, maybe what I bring isn’t good for the band or something like that. It’s not by anything that they do to me, it’s just how I would feel about myself depending on what would happen. But they’ve always made me feel so welcome in the band and I couldn’t be more grateful and proud of being the person I am, that is able to be in this band.
INTERVIEWER: There are lots of thing that happened in the time you’ve been in the band, like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a lot of huge shows. Have you ever felt like “Ok, tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up and this is all being a dream”?
JOSH: No. I don’t think about that stuff much because I really didn’t anything to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I just said yes to playing in a band with friends of mine, that’s all.
*** Someone interrupts the interview.
– I’m sorry!
JOSH: No, don’t apologize, at all.
JOSH: My life is rather like a dream all the time. I get to do what I like to do. I get to play music predominately in my life. That’s a dream. A lot of people don’t get to do what they like to do. A lot of people don’t know what they like to do. I think I almost wake up feeling like I’m in a dream just knowing who I want to be and who I can be.
INTERVIEWER: I understood but before you became a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers you were thinking about a career with the old band that you would form but then things just happened. What kind of musicial ambitions do you still have?
JOSH: Well, I still have that band. We made another album while Flea was healing from his broken arm.
INTERVIEWER: So you’ve been keeping yourself busy.
JOSH: I never rest, ever. With that band I made what will be our third album. I’ve kind of put out an album every… like a normal band would. I just haven’t been able to tour. We put out one in 2012, one in 2014 and there will be one out this year. Musicial ambitions after that… I was fortunate to play with my friend Cate Le Bon a couple of months ago, back in March. We had a couple of weeks off and I was able to go to Europe and play with her in a little improvisational band that she and I have with a friend of yours here in L.A called Josiah Steinbrick. That band is called Banana. I still get to play with friends. If I have time I’ll do anything I can.
INTERVIEWER: Do you ever have like any holiday?
JOSH: Not really. I still feel like I don’t have a job. Like, I don’t have a day job. Everyday is a holiday to me. I kind of live a life where I don’t have to report to anybody. I can get to do what I want. Even when I have to go somewhere or do something for the band still a pleasure and I still love what I do.
INTERVIEWER: Before Peppers you had been touring quite a lot with some big artists, what is different when you are an actual member of the band and the fans know who you are?
JOSH: It’s different. That’s why I sort of really made an effort to form my other band which is called Dot Hacker. Because I had grown tired of being in other people’s bands. It’s my ego. I coudn’t take not being in control anymore. I used to drink a lot on tour and just get pissy. I think as myself as a very nice and agreeable person but you know, put me out on the road and I’ll have to start to come up with all the manners of ways to anger you. I don’t do that anymore but I used to. That was how I knew that was time to stop to drinking and touring in other people’s band.
INTERVIEWER: Now on touring with Peppers must be quite like mellow and easy going.
JOSH: Yeah. It is rather. They all have kids and often times there is at least one kid out with us. move at a slower pace, we plan our tours around that kind of thing, having family out with us. For me, I don’t have any of that. So I just move along with a nice slower pace. With that Cate Le Bon tour that I was Just talking about, we were in a van and we were moving her own equipment and I thought “Oh, I haven’t had this in a long time. My back hurts”
INTERVIEWER: “Where is all the others to do this works, come on!” You have been doing some shows also this Spring. How frustating is that you have a new album ready and you can’t play the new songs?
JOSH: Yeah, it’s very frustating for all the benefits that cell phones and the internet have provided they’ve also taken a lot of cool aspects of culture away from us. We’ve been told we’re just not allowed to play them, I mean obviously we could if we wanted to, but we tend to listen to these voices that tell us what to do and when to do. Yeah, it’s very frustrating.
INTERVIEWER: There is a lot of really really amazing songs in the album. What songs that you are wainting the most to get to play live?
JOSH: Well, all of them are fun to play. I’m waiting to play “Goodbye Angels”, I think will be a lot of fun to play. “Go Robot” is gonna be a lot of fun to play. There is a song called “Dreams of a Samurai”, I’m still getting used to with this names. That song is gonna be fun to play, that song was a bassline that Flea showed me in Russia in July 22, 2012 and I knew instantly that this was going to be a great song at some point. It just was able to stick around, but we’d never had really a second part for it. Was just sort of a big open jam. I used to think it was our, the new version of the band Freaky Styley, to me sounded like that. And Brian really liked it we all felt it needed a chorus so one night in the studio, I think I started showing their chorus chords and someone from the back said “That’s good! What’s that?” And it became a chorus and songs kind of goes in between two different time signatures, actually three different time signatures if you count the intro. So, it’s musically interisting. I don’t particulary like the fact that it’s the last song on the album. But sometimes you don’t get your way all the time. But that song is very fun to play live.
INTERVIEWER: If you would have to go on stage now could you play the whole album?
JOSH: We could, some things might be missing. Like for “Dark Necessities” we need the piano player. Well, we need it if you want it to sound like it does on the album. I generally like when bands tries to play songs without having all the elements to them. We can go on stage tonight and play them all and be missing certain things. Unless we got our piano player friend to come do it. Who I think we will gonna have him out with us this summer. Yeah, we could do it all. Some of the songs would be more sloppy than others. Cause we only just started the rehearsals, but we can do it.
INTERVIEWER: You are also coming to Finland for two shows. The first one was sold out in like 5 minutes. Does that happen now all around the world?
JOSH: I don’t know. I’m not sure. I would imagine. It is just a such of a honour to play in a band who sells out in Finland.
INTERVIEWER: You actually played there on last tour.
JOSH: Yeah, but not in Helsinki. We stayed in Helsinki but we played a little more at Norh…
INTERVIWER: Yeah, in Tampara.
JOSH: Yeah, I saw Bruce Springsteen in Helsinki in the night before we played. He played the longest show that he ever played.
INTERVIWER: Six hours or something.
JOSH: Four and a half. It was just something on the way here to one of my favorite bands, a finish duo called Pan Sonic. Do you know them? One of my favorites.
INTERVIEWER: How did ou end up to knowing them?
JOSH: They were turned on to me by an australian guitar player called Oren Ambarch when I was down on Australia touring in 2001 or something. He wrote down a couple of artists for me to look into and I was going to a music shop that was down there. I don’t think it’s there anymore. T hey’ve always stuck out as one of my favorites.
INTERVIEWER: If you have to guess now, how many of the new songs are you gonna play in the upcoming tour?
JOSH: I think we will play all of them at certain point. Sadly this band have so much. not sadly, but that was one of the blessings and curses of this band. There is so much great music and we can only play a certain amount every noight. But I think we will play all of them. I think sometimes it’s hard in this big places that we play to play some of the slower or quietly songs cause it just takes… I think that onstage we might feel like we’ve take the energy too far down but I always love to seeng bands that do this kinda of thing. Hopefully he we will have the confidence to play all the slower songs like “The Hunter” or “Encore”, which I think are beuatiful songs that should be played live. Maybe if people bring signs to the show and hold them up so we will know that they wanna hear them.
INTERVIEWER: So it is a hint to the finish fans?
JOSH: Or any fans. Finish people can tell to everyone around the world “If you wanna hear a certain song, bring a sign”. Cause we will play everyhing, we know how to.
INTERVIEWER: Have you ever done that? It wasn’t some song that was in the setlist and then you just decided to play something?
JOSH: Yeah, we have done that. Some songs we don’t know how to play. We haven’t play them in a while. There is certains songs that we’ve never played with me. So takes signs, make a request, The sad thing is that if you bring a sign we might play it in the next night. No, we will try do it. I think that is a fun thing to do, to be able to play songs in a big place like that. If someone wants to hear a song we can play, that would be amazing.