On Sunday (Dec. 15), the Angeleno rock act announced that Josh Klinghoffer, the guitarist who’s been playing in the group for the last decade, will no longer be rounding out their quartet. In a statement posted to Instagram, the band writes that they’re “parting ways” with Klinghoffer — who plays on two RHCP albums, 2011’s I’m with You and 2016’s The Getaway — and that they’re “grateful for our time with him, and the countless gifts he shared with us.”(Billboard.com)
Josh Klinghoffer’s life as he knew it forever changed on Dec. 15, 2019. He went to a meeting with his fellow Red Hot Chili Peppers bandmates in Flea’s backyard and was immediately given word by the bassist, while singer Anthony Kiedis and drummer Chad Smith sat quietly, that he was out of the band. Even more surprising: former two-time Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante was replacing him. Stunned, Klinghoffer had to move on without the band he had been a member for just over 10 years. The band already had demos or somewhat finished versions of roughly 24 songs in June on what would have been their first album since 2016’s The Getaway, and third album with Klinghoffer. (full interview on Spin)
SPIN caught up with Klinghoffer as he sat in his backyard in Pasadena on an idyllic Friday afternoon to discuss his dismissal from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band, his plans to move on, and how a phone call from Eddie Vedder allowed him to move on faster than anticipated.
SPIN: Could you ever tell that anything was off in the weeks or months prior to your exit?
Josh Klinghoffer: That’s the one thing I didn’t get any specific details about from Flea… though he did tell me one thing: When he went on his book tour in November and the band had been somewhat inactive for a month or so, that’s when he felt like there was something that he had created years ago with John that was not something you could lightly overlook. I’m sure he’d been hanging out with — or even playing and jamming a little bit with John — but it wouldn’t have seemed like a sure thing [that Frusciante was back in the mix].
Despite what went down, at least you can look back and say that this was a pretty strong live era for the Chili Peppers.
Klinghoffer: I always thought so, too. When I first started with them live, I’d already played on-stage with them, but not in the role I was assuming. I inherently had, as a fan of their band, the same energy that those guys had. I always felt good and that it seemed to make sense, even with this age gap, and that I wasn’t the person who had written these anthems with them. I felt like there a real connection that we had on stage.
And the albums?
Klinghoffer: I don’t hate or despise the records I did with them in any way. I listened to those songs a lot — especially when we were making them. I obsessively submerge myself into the music I’m working on and listen to it constantly. I have great love for most of the songs.
Frusciante’s career is dotted with prolific solo work in rock and electronic, with 14 studio albums to his name, as well as collaborations with the Mars Volta and other artists.
Read the Chili Peppers’ statement in full below.