Nothing seems to stop The Red Hot Chili Peppers juggernaut from rolling on – not even losing a pivotal band member.
position of guitarist has always been a hot seat in the California
punk/funk hipstersturned- classic rock, hall of fame superstars. Ever
since the day original guitarist – Israeli-born Hillel Slovak – died due
to a drug overdose in 1988, the slot has been held by a half-dozen
players accompanying the core group of vocalist Anthony Kiedis, bassist
Flea and drummer Chad Smith.
In between stop gap solutions like
Jane’s Addiction alumni Dave Navarro, Arik Marshall and Jess Tobias,
virtuoso John Frusciante became the anchor.
He holds the
longevity record with two long stints – from 1988-1992, and again from
1998-2009 – periods in which the band morphed from an adrenalin-filled
Los Angeles mash of punk, funk, rap and r&b, played more often than
not in various stages of dishabille, to the more radio-friendly sound of
today, but still without the clothes.
Blockbuster albums from
1991’s Blood Sugar, Sex Magik to 1999’s Californication and 2006’s
Stadium Arcadium established the group as latter-day visionaries, tying
up the fractured pieces into a splintered rock culture and bridging the
gap between the underground street sounds of downtown L.A., mainstream
pop and hip hop rhythms and energy.
So when the versatile and
prolific Frusciante amicably left the band in 2009 during a two-year
group hiatus to focus on his quirky but thriving solo career, it might
have sounded the death knoll. But as so many times in its varied career,
the band found what it needed to move forward, in the form of
31-year-old Josh Klinghoffer (reportedly a distant relative of Leon
Klinghoffer, the passenger killed in 1985 by Palestinian terrorists on
the cruise ship Achille Lauro).
Klinghoffer, who’s played on
tours and albums by Beck and Gnarls Barkely, connected to the band in
2000 when his group The Bicycle Thief opened up part of the Peppers’
Californication tour, and he forged a lasting friendship with
Frusciante. The pair eventually began writing and recording together,
resulting in Frusciante’s first solo album, Shadows Collide with People
in 2004, and subsequent releases up through 2009’s The Empyrean.
asked Klinghoffer to join the Peppers as an additional guitarist and
keyboardist during their 2007 Stadium Arcadium tour, and after the
group’s subsequent two-year hiatus, the dust settled with Klinghoffer in
Frusciante’s role when they started recording their latest album, I’m
“I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a tight-knit
unit, a band of family, a brotherhood. Since my earliest memory, they
always seemed like a band with a lot of love for each other,” the
guitarist said at the time.
And due to his being a good 10
years-plus younger than any of his band mates, Klinghoffer, who
maintains his own band on the side – Dot Hacker – has evidently infused
the Peppers with a jolt of youthful enthusiasm, not that Kiedis, Flea
and Smith ever look like they are flagging.
The Red Hot Chili
Peppers that’s arriving next week for a nearly soldout show at Hayarkon
Park on Monday night is reportedly revitalized by its new configuration
and, despite the less than stellar sales of the year-old I’m with You,
the band onstage seems to be at the top of their game.
of their show last month in Los Angeles raved about the instrumental
telepathy between the musicians, saying that “many of the best moments
came when the band dove deepest into an instrumental jam. As an
improvisational rock unit, the Chili Peppers are operating at a higher
level than they were even a decade ago, and that special prowess comes
most to life onstage.”
While the set list seems carved in stone
(heavy on the hits like “Under the Bridge,” “Dani California,” “Give It
Away” but also I’m with You tunes like “Monarchy of Roses” and
“Ethiopia” and their frenetic version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher
Ground”), there will likely be enough surprises and improvisation to
make the show one of the musical highlights of the year.
to the celebration will be the show’s opening acts – eclectic Los
Angeles band Fool’s Gold, led by Israeli-born Luke Top, which combines
African beats and 1980s danceinflected pop with Chili-style energy and
the occasional Hebrew lyric. Top is a good friend of Klinghoffer’s, and
the Peppers’ guitarists has often joined Fool’s Gold during their set.
the show will be Riff Cohen, the Jaffa-based
French/Hebrew/English-singing sensation who mixes the North African
beats of her parents’ Algeria with French pop and urban hip hop.
Her song “A Paris” catapulted her to fame in European clubs and at home, where she’s a radio staple.
The gates open on Monday at 5 p.m. Cohen takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. and Fool’s Gold at 7:30 p.m. The main attraction begin to take their shirts off at 7:50 p.m.