Anthony Kiedis Says Universe ‘Cleaned Up’ RHCP Lineup Change Mess
Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis discussed his joy that fired guitarist Josh Klinghoffer soon tied up with his favorite band, Pearl Jam.
When John Frusciante decided to return to RHCP in 2019, the band had to dismiss Klinghoffer, who’d been a member for a decade. It was a difficult moment since no one involved had negative feelings toward each other. After the lineup change, Klinghoffer was hired as a touring member of Pearl Jam, and also participated in frontman Eddie Vedder’s solo album Earthling and its accompanying road trip.
“My favorite part about that whole emotionally difficult experience was that, some months later, Josh went from thinking that he had been given this upsetting news to an even better set of circumstances for him,” Kiedis told Variety in a new interview.
“Because many times when we were playing music together and traveling, it was revealed to me that here’s this super-nerdy, intellectual music geek whose true love is Pearl Jam – which I always found peculiar, fascinating and wonderful, to know that he was so moved by that music.”
He continued: “And then he loses the job in our band, and a few months later, he becomes the guitarist for Eddie Vedder. It was like, ‘Thank you, universe. You cleaned up what could have been a bit of an emotional mess.’ This really works out for everyone, and we all get to go on making music.”
When the Chili Peppers laid down demo tracks with Frusciante, they asked former producer Rick Rubin to listen. “We wanted to get somebody’s outside objective feedback,” drummer Chad Smith said. “And he was really emotional, man. He wasn’t like, ‘I think this verse should go longer, and what about the turnaround.’ He was just in the moment of, ‘Wow, I never thought this was going to happen again.’”
Although they didn't necessarily expect Rubin to return, he did. The resulting album, Unlimited Love, is out today. "Rick is the single greatest human listener that I’ve ever encountered in my life by a long shot," Kiedis said. "And that is a lost art form. Nobody listens. And Rick can listen like a black belt."