The sluggish 2020 international concert scene in Israel is picking up a little steam. Classic rock/punk/funksters Red Hot Chili Peppers are returning to Tel Aviv for the first time since 2012 to headline the Funkyard Tel Aviv Festival at Hayarkon Park on June 10.The Chili Peppers, who last year performed at the pyramids in Egypt, join a modest list of rockers and pop stars making their way here this year, including first timers Lionel Richie, Celine Dion and Iron Maiden, and returning acts Nick Cave and the Pixies.
According to promoters Bluestone Group, Live Nation and Shuki Weiss, the day-long Funkyard Tel Aviv Festival will include other soon-to-be announced international artists, DJs and local talent on different stages, as well as various activities, food and drink stands and a “chillout” corner – as well as the famed California headlinersThe Chili Peppers have been in the headlines in recent weeks due to the surprising return of longtime guitarist John Frusciante to the fold after a decade’s absence.Anchored by vocalist Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith, the band formed in 1983 with guitarist Hillel Slovak, originally from Haifa. Slovak died of a drug overdose early in the band’s career, but has remained a guiding force for his bandmates. When they performed at Hayarkon Park in 2012, Kiedis shouted from the stage, “Hillel Slovak forever! I must say, Hillel had his own brand of Israeli funk, pretty sure he invented it. That Israeli funkinstein.”Flea added, “He went out to a trip in Israel, and he came back and he was so lit up and so excited and so full of love, and to come here today and think of him it’s truly a dream.”Frusciante holds the longevity record as Slovak’s replacement with two long stints – from 1988-1992, and again from 1998-2009 – periods in which the band morphed from an adrenaline-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.Blockbuster albums from their 1991 breakout, Blood Sugar, Sex Magik to 1999’s Californication and 2006’s Stadium Arcadium established the group as one of the top rock bands in the world, tying up the fractured pieces a splintered rock culture, and bridging the gap between the underground street sounds of downtown LA, mainstream pop and hip hop rhythms and energy.When the singularly talented Frusciante amicably left the band in 2009, he was ably replaced by Josh Klinghoffer (reportedly a distant relative of Leon Klinghoffer, the passenger killed in 1985 by Palestinian terrorists on the cruise ship Achille Lauro), who had been touring with the band as a second guitarist. They continued at an unfettered pace and in 2012, were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, making the then-32-year-old Klinghoffer the youngest inductee in the Hall.Last month, he was unceremoniously ousted by his bandmates, who sent out a short announcement that Frusciante, who had gone on to a prolific, quirky solo career, was returning to the band.The recalibrated Chili Peppers, apparently due to the positive experience during their visit in 2012, are including Israel on their itinerary when they go out road trippin’ this spring.
Red Hot Chili Peppers returning to Israel