Josh Klinghoffer says Red Hot Chili Peppers were “doing cooler music” with him

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer has claimed that the band were “doing cooler music” when he was in the line-up.

Klinghoffer joined the Chilis in 2009 after serving as a touring member following the departure of guitarist John Frusciante. He recorded two albums with the group: ‘I’m With You’ (2011) and The Getaway’ (2016).

In 2019, Klinghoffer was asked to leave Red Hot Chili Peppers when Frusciante returned to the fold. The Los Angeles outfit have since made two studio records, ‘Unlimited Love’ and ‘Return Of The Dream Canteen’, both of which were released last year.

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During a recent appearance on the Brazilian podcast 5 Notas (via Consequence), Klinghoffer said that RHCP were “doing cooler music” when he was still a member of the band.

“I don’t think I finished [listening to] the second [2022 album, ‘Return Of The Dream Canteen’],” Klinghoffer explained.

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“I was trying to cram it in once before leaving on a plane, and I got as far as maybe the ninth song, and I don’t think I listened to the rest.”

The musician continued by alluding to some unreleased material he had been working on with the Chilis prior to his departure.

“It’s tough [listening to their new music], only because I honestly think we were doing cooler music,” Klinghoffer added. “I never want to sound negative about anyone doing music, but I was shocked when I heard their new record.”

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Klinghoffer teamed up with Frusciante on a collaborative album, ‘A Sphere In The Heart Of Silence’, back in 2004. However, he told the podcast that the pair “don’t talk much these days”.

“But I’ve always maintained that I still have an enormous love for him,” Klinghoffer said. “He’s one of my favourite musicians; one of my favourite writers.”

Josh Klinghoffer performing live on-stage
Josh Klinghoffer performs live. CREDIT: Getty

He also explained that he’s “not against the idea” of revisiting some of his joint music with Frusciante in the future: “I feel like it would be fun to play some of those songs again, or play them live – we never played them live.”

You can watch the conversation at the 32-minute mark in the video above.

Speaking to NME for a Big Read cover interview in early 2022, RHCP bassist Flea said: “It was a big shift for us, parting ways with Josh.

“He’s been with us for 10 years, and it was an emotionally difficult thing to do. Not only was he a great musician, he was also a thoughtful, supportive team-player – a communally-minded, kind and intelligent person.”

He continued: “But artistically, in terms of being able to speak the same [musical] language, it was easier working with John. Getting back into a room and starting to play and letting the thing unfold… was really exciting.”

Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Flea, Josh Klinghoffer and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chilli Peppers perform live at Leeds Festival 2016. CREDIT: Katja Ogrin/ EMPICS Entertainment

Last October, Klinghoffer described his time in Red Hot Chili Peppers as being “enormously stifling creatively”. He added: “They’re an established band with an established sound, and I learned over time how little deviating from that was possible.”

After being ousted from the Chilis in 2019, the guitarist said it was a “pretty simple decision” for the band to sack him. “John and Flea have a musical language,” Klinghoffer explained. “I’ll never be able to contend with the history him and John had.”

Klinghoffer has also previously criticised Red Hot Chili Peppers’ long-term producer Rick Rubin, saying he was “more a hindrance than help” on 2011’s I’m With You’.

Meanwhile, the Chilis are set to perform a headline show at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London this July as part of their 2023 European tour.

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