Red Hot Chili Peppers' New Single About Joy, Car Crashes,
By Jon Wiederhorn, with additional reporting by Shari Scorca
To truly enjoy basking in the
light, it's important to grasp what it's like to be alone
in the dark. The Red Hot Chili Peppers know this. Having
endured drug addiction and crumbling relationships as well
as fame and great wealth, they've developed a respect for
the dynamic between yin and yang, pleasure and pain, elation
and despondency. And on their new album, By the Way,
which comes out July 9, the band continues to explore the
dynamic between such polar opposites.
half of the album reflects a fun-loving, enthusiastic vibe,
the disc is equally weighted with darker and more forlorn
content. The first single from the record, the title track,
is perhaps most indicative of the group's current mind frame.
about a night in the life," frontman Anthony Kiedis
enthused from New York's Times Square. "It's a landscape
of L.A. an evening that happens simultaneously across
the entire city, and the feeling of anticipation and hope
and joy of going out into the fray. Maybe you're going to
meet some magical adventure partner that's going to warm
the cockles of your soul and sing you songs and hold your
hand and take you to places to go dancing. But it's also
about people getting beat up, and drug deals happening,
and prostitution going on, and car crashes and people playing
dice. It's about all of this stuff happening at the same
many of the band's songs, "By the Way"
pulses with charged guitars, funk-rock bass and soaring
vocals as well as vocoder effects. Kiedis described it as
one of the heavier cuts on the disc, which is otherwise
sprinkled with less surging, more melodic fare.
'By the Way' encompasses a lot of different aspects of
the record and a lot of different aspects of the Red Hot
Chili Peppers over the years, and sums it up in one bombastic,
yet melodic number that feels really good to play,"
he said. "Even though there seem to be more accessible
songs we could have chosen for the first single, we chose
to go for something more raucous and colorful."
video for "By the Way" was shot last week
in Los Angeles by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who
directed award-winning clips for Korn ("Freak on a
Leash") and Smashing Pumpkins ("Tonight, Tonight").
The clip, which guitarist John Frusciante described as "funny
and scary at the same time," was influenced by
a wild car chase in the Mexican film "Amores Perros."
has David Sheridan, one of the funniest guys ever, in the
car chase," Kiedis said. "He kidnaps me
and [bassist] Flea does his own actual human stunt-driving."
do a headstand on the hood of the car," added Flea.
"And I have ropes tied to my toes that I steer the
car with. It's incredible."
of the record label's concerns about illegal downloading
of the single from the Internet, "By the Way"
will not be sent to radio in advance of the album's release.
The video for the song will hit airwaves in June.
two new interviews with the band in streaming video on MTV