Josh Klinghoffer: Being in Red Hot Chili Peppers was "enormously stifling, creatively"

10 October 2022, 14:31

Anthony Kiedis and Josh Klinghoffer in August 2011
Anthony Kiedis and Josh Klinghoffer in August 2011. Picture: DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

The former guitarist claims: "It's sad when something is taken from you."

Josh Klinghoffer has claimed that being the guitarist in Red Hot Chili Peppers was "enormously stifling, creatively".

The musician - who was replaced in the group after a decade when former guitarist John Frusciante rejoined in 2019 - insisted there was no option for "deviating" from the group's signature sound.

Klinghoffer told Guitar World magazine: "Obviously, it's sad when something is taken from you.

"I did a perfect 10 years with them, but for as much as I love those guys and loved playing with them, it was also enormously stifling creatively.

"They're an established band with an established sound, and I learned over time how little deviating from that was possible."

Flea, Josh Klinghoffer and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chilli Peppers performing live at Leeds Festival 2016
Flea, Josh Klinghoffer and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chilli Peppers performing live at Leeds Festival 2016. Picture: Katja Ogrin / Alamy Stock Photo

The musician explained that he initially tried to avoid "certain chords" in his writing "if they sounded like something John would play".

He explained: "I thought I was doing a good job writing with them, but it wound up not kind of becoming part of my story, or if it is part of my story with them, it's a small part.

"As much as I thought they were up for experimentation, they generally stayed in their own lane."

Josh Klinghoffer performing with Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2017
Josh Klinghoffer performing with Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2017. Picture: Daniel DeSlover/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

Klinghoffer described his time with the Chilis as "a blessing and a beautiful experience", but he's now moved on to work with Pearl Jam and on frontman Eddie Vedder's solo album Earthling, released earlier this year.

With both Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, the guitarist has found himself joining bands with a wealth of material, but he wasn't overwhelmed at the prospect at learning so much material.

He explained: "I was already in the Chili Peppers' orbit before joining them. I was good friends with John, and I toured with the band in 2007 as a second guitar player.

"I generally knew what they did and didn't play, so I knew what to work on. Some songs from Stadium Arcadium I wasn't familiar with on the guitar, but I knew [Blood Sugar Sex Magik] backward and forward.

"In the case of Pearl Jam, I know their catalogue from record one to five like the back of my hand. Albums from 2000 onwards, I don't know as well."

Red Hot Chili Peppers' second album of 2022, Return Of The Dream Canteen, is released this week, Friday 14th October. Their first of the year, Unlimited Love, was issued in April.