Face 2 Face with the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS.
rhcp + roberto croci


Just before the World Tour 2011. Just before the release of the new album I am with You. Just before anybody else (press) could talk to them. Just before … I could have died and gone to Heaven, (why assuming I’d rather go to Hell). RHCP are back.
I am with you by rhcp

Listening to ... I am with You!

5 years after their last record (if you say the title before 4 seconds… you are a fan!) here they are again. Why excited? Because I like them. Because they belong to my MUSICAL LIFE timeline. Yes they do. As a Milano-born Squallor & Elio & Le Storie Tese; Sting & Quadrophenia english enthusiast, and a Bruce Springsteen american bound die-hard fan (my first concert on March 14th 1988 Richfield Coliseum, Cleeveland, first and last time I visited it) I loved RHCP, and having a chance to talk to them is definitively … a cherry on my cake.  I have beeen thinking on how to start writing my piece and tell you the whole story.
rhcp 1991 concert

My RHCP first concert

Do I Start from my very first concert, where I saw them open with Nirvana & Pearl Jam (!!) in all their glory, 27 December 27th 1991, @ the Los Angeles Coliseum Sports Arena - first date of the Blood Sugar Sex Magic Tour - while singing my favorite song GIVE IT AWAY, which for me, italian guy living in California, meant only one thing: literally Give IT  (you know…IT) Away, a hymn to my then highly succesfull sexual life of an italian born kid living in the USA.
me and the rhcp

Me, Josh and Flea

Ok, back to the beginning of the story… or do I start from the beginning at the Casa Del Mar hotel in Santa Monica, where, a Pr takes me in the room, and I see them all, coupled up – CHAD & ANTHONY  in one room and  FLEA (with the bluest of hair) with JOSH KLINGHOFFER (newest member to replace of John Frusciante) in the other one, waiting for me….yeah.. me and other members of the press. One thing I can tell you, I was one of the very very few to get to talk to ALL OF THEM, and to talk for half an hour each.
chad from rhcp

CHAD ...in a kissing mood

Or do I start with something that I am deeply interested, something called Spider and Son. A title taken from a chapter from Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis’ autobiography? Altough I love them, I cannot say that I am the world #1 biggest Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan. Sure I think they are a great band with some really great records and even greater songs (Under The Bridge, Kalifornication, Scar Tissue & Snow), but honestly I never felt the need to drive big distances to see them live at any cost (luckily for me, I spent my adulthood life in California), collect all their albums (they were still called LP or CDs) or any of the other stuff usually associated with fandom galore. It was Scar Tissue that got to me, that grabbed my gut and didn’t let go til the very end. It was Anthony wrenching stories of his childhood and pre teens that have forever touched my heart.
rhcp + kiedis


 A terrifyingly frank account of his life, with Kiedis moving from Michigan to Los Angeles to live with his father, a drug dealer to the biggest bands in town (Who & Led Zeppelin), where between some banana-filled-with-qualudes during his elementary school years and the Wattles Park pot-smoking dreams with Flea to create a music band  (yes they did)…. we see the young Kiedis becaming his father’s sidekick, deliveryman, partner in crime, hanging out at Rainbow & Roxy… all of this, way before he even hit his teens…
rhcp kiedis

Papa 'Blackie' Kiedis+ Anthony - thanks to Numsefisk25

Did I also mention Cher was his babysitter? Did you know that Kiedis was also an actor? That he changed his name in Cole Dammett? That Roger Corman got him a role in the XXX rated comedy movie JOKES MY FOLKS NEVER TOLD ME (1978)? (check the extremely rare footage of 13 year old Anthony Kiedis delivering, brilliantly I might add, some lines).


However, one day, few years ago, I read that … this book, the accounts of those years spent with daddy, was going to become an HBO series, (hippie-kay-ie to The Wire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under) called Spider and Son. Never happened.
So, folks, that is where I start.
Q: Anthony, talk to me about Spider and Son, dead or in development?

Q: RHCP, 30 years together…

AK: I don’t know, it’s not 30, journalist like to round up.

Q: By the time you finish the tour it will be 30. Emotions and passions are always in your records, I would say it is like a marriage where you talk, love, quarrel and come out fighting. But at the same time, just like a marriage, you have ups and downs…

AK: Seriously, you can’t have the up without the down. Creativity often comes out of the downtime, so I would say this is as creative of a period as we’ve ever had, I’m not exactly sure what the down was that led to this particular up, but whatever it is we’ll take it.

Flea: For me it’s actually doing the time off from the band and when we started taking a break I didn’t know what was going to happen and whether the band would continue or not, and I certainly didn’t think I would want to continue after John left. I’m so grateful for everything that John gave to the band, he’s a phenomenal songwriter and musician and have really added so much to our band, but him leaving, I didn’t think I would want to do it afterwards, but one of the main things that made me want to do it was really that what you are talking about, that marriage. Like my relationship with Anthony is one that has often been antagonistic, and in that way, and we piss each other off, but I was just away from it for so long that I love him so much, it’s someone that I don’t like to say anything around or prove anything to or whatever and we can be at each other’s throats with like venomous hatred, but we still know when we walk away even though we are pissed that we love each other and it will always be, and that’s not easy to come by.

Q: The new album is great. For me, Police Station brings back a lot of memories, it reminds me of blacks & whites, racism, Cripts & Bloods from Dennis Hopper’s Colors; Skid Row; hip-hop & rap; I envisioned my America…

Saw you at the police station
And it breaks my heart to say
Your eyes had wandered off
To something distant
Cold and grey
I guess you didn’t see it coming

Snoop in Compton, 5-0, Sheriff Department in Ladera Heights, the La Riots a-la Beirut guerrilla style with people shooting on 7-11 and convenience rooftops, Rodney King, 6thousands fires all over the city – except Beverly Hills. Thank you very much for coming up with something new. By the way, Police Station is my favorite.

AK: That’s your jam?

CS: I love that one, good vibes. Good ‘Bob’.

AK: That’s a good one.

Flea: Thank you very much for re-aa-lly listening to the record.

Q: Flea, in Even you Brutus, a R&R opera, fucking amazing, there is trumpet… just  before the last song. That’s you, right?

Flea: No it’s not, it’s, the trumpet playing on the song Did I Let You Know, This Way Now, is man named Michael Bulger, who’s a teacher at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music and yeah, he came in and wailed. Luckily most people aren’t going to read it, and I’m going to get the credit for it. (laughs)

rhcp | flea


Q: You made a lot of stuff recently, you went back to University to study music, how did it change you in anyway?

Flea: Well, me attending school, It was just an idea that I had to do that I followed up on, it was just a good idea that I had, I really loved it, it was a great opportunity and I just loved being educated and it really opened, kind of gave me a clearer picture of music, even though I had just dipped my feet into the ocean of education, I got my feet wet, but I really liked it, and in terms of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, that’s a non profit school that I started ten years ago with some friends and it’s not about being famous or being a rock star or anything, it’s just about trying to teach kids about music, cause the public school system has dropped the ball and all of my friends have helped out through the years to help keep it going and lend a hand and it’s just a great thing, it’s really a beautiful thing.

Q: Five years of hiatus, what have you been doing?
JK: Really only two years of hiatus.

Flea: Five, but when we make the record we go on tour for a year and a half, so we are living that record for the whole time we rehearse it, the whole time we write it, the whole time we record it and we tour it, so we did take two years off which was a very long break for us and an unheard of break in our career and it’s the longest break we ever took, but it was two years that we took off.

Q: In these two years, what was the inspiration for this new album, what inspirations, how did you write it, where did you write it, who wrote it?
JK: Four band members wrote it, myself, Flea, Anthony, Chad, there were so many questions wrapped up in that, (laughs) what else?

rhcp | flea + josh

Josh, Flea | RHCP

Q: What was the inspiration for I’m With You?

JK: Everyone has tons of inspiration that they bring in, all four of us, and I think the goal was just to make a Red Hot Chili Peppers record that all four people in the band really loved, and we are excited about it.

Flea: At the end of the last tour, the band wasn’t in the happiest place, and I thought that we were making good art and I liked our last record and everything, but we needed to get away from it at the end, we felt, things felt just kind of strange and chaotic and not as fun as I would like, even though, it’s like fun is the main thing, meaningful is the main thing to be, is the main thing for me, you know? And so we took two years off and during that time, when John Frusciante left the band, before he left, I was presented with a different circumstance, which was him not being there, and after going to my plan with other people and school and whatnot in the time off, I very much missed The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and felt excited to bring whatever I could to make it happen again. And then we were so lucky to have Josh join. And it was great because it just injected a whole new energy and a different type of energy that we didn’t have before. And Josh brought his artistry and he was not intimidated by the situation at all, he was able to come in and really carry out being a quarter of the band completely and brought in a whole new feeling of his composition and his playing, which was unlike anything we’ve ever had before, and we had a great time.

AK: It’s different. You know, it’s a hard thing to verbalize, because we don’t go searching for inspiration, it finds us, whether we are looking for it or not, it’s kind of like humility, if you don’t find humility, humility is going to find you. You don’t find your inspiration, it’s going to find you, and I think the first blast of inspiration came when John came to leave the band. It really was not a bad thing for anybody, particularly for John. He came and he very graciously said ‘Guys, I want to go my separate way’. And we all said ‘Wonderful, go that way and enjoy yourself, be happy doing what you want to do’, but it created an incredible opportunity for us also, because we had done it for a long time with John and maybe we needed a change, maybe that’s the only way we could have got a change. So, inspiration found us. We weren’t even looking for it and it found us. And anytime you get a new band member, Josh Klinghoffer comes in, a new personality, a new love for life and music and somebody who’s been amassing a wealth of knowledge, and ideas, he’s like, ‘how do you like this stuff’, ‘yes, let’s take this one and this one and work on those’, so the chemistry was reinvented and I think that’s where all the inspiration came from.

Q: Tell me how was the collaboration with Rick Rubin.

AK: Rick’s been with us for 20, although we did meet him way back, about five years before we ever worked with him, we met with him at a rehearsal when Hillel Slovak was still in the band and Rick came to visit us, and he was terrified, he was like, get me away from these guys before they kill me. And he literally went cowering out of the room, like let’s get out of here before something bad happens. And he left and, you knew about that right?

CS: (imitates Rick) Come on my dear, let’s get out of here. That’s how he talks, and he moves like…

Q: Shuffling off?

CS: He was shuffling, but I can only imagine.

AK: But there must have been some weird attraction that we had to each other, because, I can’t even really remember why.

CS: Well what happened was, if I recall correctly, was around 1989, Rick Rubin came and saw us play, June of 1990, saw us play The Greek Theater, the end of our Mother’s Milk tour and he thought it was the best shows that he’d ever seen, he was like, ‘I can’t believe this is the same band that I saw three years ago’ or whatever it was, and then we were looking to start a new relationship with a record company, and Rick was President of American Records at the time, and it was Def American Records, he had his own label, and we were sort of recording differently, it wasn’t meeting different people, he met us and we had lunch, did he court, he was courting? He had his own courting style, (laughs) as he danced his way into our lives, and we decided not to go to his label, but he said ‘cool man, if you don’t want to go with American Records I understand, but I would like to produce you someday.’ And we always kept that at the back of our mind, I remember thinking like what possibly could the guy that like does Slayer, Danzig and these kind of groups like, what could he bring to our table and it’s funny, he ends up being our guy for the next 20 years.

rhcp + me + kiedis


Q: To be a rock and roller at 50, what does it mean, is it the fans, or just who you are?

CS: For some reason, I’m not exactly sure my answer, maybe you could shed some light on this.

AK: Oh, I can shed some light. I have no idea what you are talking about, but I can shed some light.

CS: Our music has always appealed to younger people, and we’ve been very fortunate to have new fans that we come and make a new record. And lots of our fans that have grown up with us for 27 years, or whenever they discovered us, have stayed with us and we are very grateful for that, and I’m really happy when I see young faces in the crowd, rocking out to our music, and it really warms my heart. And for some reason, our music touches people, and the only thing I can think of is we play music that’s honest and from our hearts, and we are passionate about it and we connect with our fans. We connect with everybody and I love connecting with young people, it’s really cool.

Flea: You know, I mean for me it’s like as long as I’m willing to put in the energy to nurture, music is a sacred fucking thing, and rock and roll is a sacred fucking thing, and as long as I’m willing to like keep, to nurture like the sacred thing that it is and to connect and tap the source of the real spirit and let it live through me, and be willing to like let it guide me and not stay stagnant and keep trying to move and get better, then I feel like I’ll have all the energy in the world to rock because that’s like, no matter what age you are, the strength doesn’t come from your physical body, the strength comes from somewhere else, sometimes I feel that my energy is stronger than ever.

AK: Don’t I get to shed some light?

Q: Oh, go ahead, shed.

AK: No, there’s no light for me to shed. (laughter)

CS: All that buildup! But he does build his own sheds.

AK: I like sheds!


… To be continued…

Next… what they say about kids, John Frusciante, punk and Italy…