The thing I love about great rock bands is that you can NEVER count them out! The Red Hot Chili Peppers have had more than their share of setbacks, including the exit of the ultimate Pepper Guitar God John Frusciante. (Thank God I saw them in concert a couple of times w/ Frusciante). Many of my friends and even the Rock Chick lost interest in the Chili Peppers after Frusciante left. I, for one, really liked the last record “I’m With You” which debuted new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. While he’s not the strong lead guitarist Frusciante was, the chemistry of the band has altered and Flea, Chad and Anthony have come more to the front. The songs were better formed and more musical. Maybe that stems from Flea going back to college to study music theory. They still rocked and I’ll admit I miss John, but this band survived. That’s what I love about these guys, they always find a way to shoulder on.
Today marks the release of “Dark Necessities” from their upcoming June release “The Getaway.” This is the first RHCP’s album not produced by Rick Rubin since “Mother’s Milk.” At the helm for this project is Danger Mouse with help mixing from Nigel Godrich (sp?) of Radiohead fame. From what I can hear, and I love Rick Rubin, the change has done the boys good.
“Dark Necessities” is a great song. It’s a great first song/single. It’s catchy as Hell. The first sound you hear is Flea playing a wonderful bass line. The keyboards and rhythm guitar come in and a palpable sense of tension is created… The Rock Chick was with me for the first listen and said, “No other band puts the bass out front the way the Chili Peppers do with Flea.” Well said, Rock Chick, well said. The shining star here is Anthony Kiedis, when his vocal starts, all full of confessional yearning, I can’t turn away. I am embarrassed to admit I got goose bumps. To think when these guys started all Anthony did was rap. His vocal is fucking funky, baby.
That’s the thing I always forget about these guys, they started as a funk band! While they’ve come a long way from that – they are more rock centric now – and have gone through all kinds of changes, musically, guitarists, drummers, producers etc, they remain a solid funk band. Flea’s heavy bass with Chad in the pocket, it takes me back to “Uplift Mofo.” Josh plays a little funky, wah-wah 70’s guitar thing in the background. There is a keyboard break, piano, in the middle of the song, and in the old days it would have been a blistering, Hendrixy guitar solo and I’ll admit it, I still miss that, but the song plays out with a beautiful, soulful guitar solo from Josh and while it’s nothing Frusciante would have played it fits the song better. It’s not the same Frusciante style Chili Peppers, but I like this incarnation.
My only complaint right now is that I can’t buy “Dark Necessities” on iTunes or on vinyl or anywhere. You can hear it on YouTube and see the cover art for “The Getaway.” The Rock Chick, ever the optimist said, “I hope this isn’t the only good song on this album.” Apparently she didn’t share my love of “I’m With You…” Ah, love…
Keep an eye out here for new Chili Pepper news. I’ll put out whatever I can whenever I can as they release the songs. I’m really looking forward to hearing from these guys again.