March 24, 2000 3:02 AM EST
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who will launch a North American
tour Friday in Minneapolis with fellow rockers Foo Fighters,plan
to begin work on a new album soon after the outing ends this summer,
according to their bassist, Flea. "I imagine we'll go pretty quickly.
I feel like we're on a good roll," Flea said Wednesday from his
California home. "We're definitely better thanwe've ever been."
In the meantime, Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, who returned
to the seminal punk-funk band for last year's massively successful
Californication after a six-year absence, is finishing his third
solo album. The album, which Flea said Frusciante recorded in his
home studio, is slated for release this year, according to Chili
Peppers spokesperson Gayle Fine.
Frusciante released two previous solo albums, 1994's Niandra
Lades & Usually Just a T-Shirt and 1997's Smile From the
Streets You Hold during his time apart from the Chili
The guitarist struggled with heroin addiction during those years.
Both Flea (born Michael Balzary) and Frusciante have been experimenting
with sampling technology, which may well show up on the Chili Peppers'
next album, according to the bassist.
"John and I both have samplers, and we love to play with them.
But then again, we have a great drummer," Flea said.
Eight months after its release, the Chili Peppers' Californication
still is thriving. Its latest single, the catchy, plaintive track
"Otherside," is #1 on Radio and Records' Alternative chart
and is also flourishing in several other radio formats. "It's
huge," said Mike Peer, music director for New York modern-rock
station K-Rock. "Obviously this is a great album, a really enduring
Californication - and the band's live shows since its release -
is helping to define a new era for the band, Flea said. "It's
just life, how it spells itself out in that tangible audio
way," he said. "It expresses itself in a lot of different
ways, but we've learned to make a poignant
sound that's not as frantic."
Along the way, the band also has been experimenting with riffs and
grooves that could end up on their next record, Flea said.
"We just want to make a really, really good record," he said,
"and there's definitely been changes in the band that it should
Foo Fighters, who released There Is Nothing Left to Lose
last year, were a natural choice as tour partners, Flea said.
"There's not a lot of good rock bands out there, y'know? I mean,
who are we gonna play with, some rap-metal band, a Korn Jr.?"
But the bassist is most looking forward to having his recording
equipment on the road with him for the first time. He said that
will give him a chance to work on material for the next Chili Peppers
LP and for a possible solo album. According to Flea, he scrapped
plans for a
solo release that would have featured him "playing acoustic guitar,
singing folk songs," after Frusciante rejoined the Chili Peppers.
But some tracks from that record might eventually see the light
of day, along with new solo songs, Flea said. Right now, however,
the bassist's focus is on his revitalized band. "I love being
in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love playing with John Frusciante."
In Frusciante's absence, the Chili Peppers, who released their self-titled
first album in 1984, recorded one album, 1995's One Hot Minute,
with former Jane's Addiction member Dave Navarro
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