Flea returns to school to study music

Solo album on way as Chilis take 2-year hiatus

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Flea (second left) is going back to college

Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea has enrolled at the University of Southern California. In an interview with the LA Times he reveals that Red Hot Chili Peppers are taking two years off, and that he is also nearing completion of his first solo album.

His musical studies at USC?

Theory, composition and jazz trumpet.

"I'm glad my music education has developed the way that it has," Flea says, "but it's so much fun to learn this stuff because I never knew anything. I played trumpet in the school bands. I learned things I liked to play on my trumpet but I didn't learn why this note goes with this note and why it produces that sound. Or how to create tension in the composition.

"There's stuff that I want to know that I don't know."

"The Chili Peppers did that in our song structures but all based on emotion and intuition as opposed to knowing the math and academics of it. Knowing the structure is really fun."

You might think fellow students would be surprised to see such an eminent rock star in their classes, but Flea insists not.

"Not from people there," he says, "but people outside the school have looked at me, like, what are you doing? Except for real musicians who understand.

"My whole musical life has been an educational process and I'm just furthering my education and filling in the blanks. There's stuff that I want to know that I don't know."

Chili Peppers on hiatus for two years

All this means that the Chili Peppers remain on hiatus – for "two years" says Flea – and the bassist is also nearing completion of his first solo album. It will be a mostly instrumental set, though punk poetess Patti Smith sings on some tracks.

Flea's interest in musical education should come as no surprise. In 2001, he co-founded the Silverlake Conservatory Of Music, an organisation that particularly encourages children's musical education.

Oh, and he does need the trumpet lessons too, as our YouTube clip attests. Ouch!