Josh Klinghoffer on Red Hot Chili Peppers: "I did a perfect 10 years with them, but for as much as I love those guys and loved playing with them, it was also enormously stifling creatively"

Red Hot Chili Peppers
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage))

Josh Klinghoffer has been surprisingly revealing about his decade in Red Hot Chili Peppers in a new interview for the current issue of Guitar World

Klinghoffer was Josh Frusciante's collaborator on his solo albums and an additional musician on the Stadium Arcadium tour before taking over from Frusciante following his second departure from RHCP in 2009. He would record two studio albums during his decade with the band, before being asked to leave in 2019 when Frusciante returned. Klinghoffer revealed to Guitar World's Joe Bosso his time with the band was often creatively challenging.

“Obviously, it’s sad when something is taken from you,” Klinghoffer reflects on his parting with RHCP. “I did a perfect 10 years with them, but for as much as I love those guys and loved playing with them, it was also enormously stifling creatively. They’re an established band with an established sound, and I learned over time how little deviating from that was possible.”

When Bosso pushed Klinghoffer on what that meant in terms of guitar approach, the musician elaborated…

“When I first joined, I wouldn’t use certain chords when I was writing if they sounded like something John would play. Or if it sounded like a choice they would have made on their last album, I purposely went the other way.” 

But these efforts to explore new territories didn't always work out.

“I thought I was doing a good job of writing music with them, but it wound up not kind of becoming part of my story, or if it is part of my story with them, it’s a small part. As much as I thought they were up for experimentation, they generally stayed in their own lane."

Nevertheless, Klinghoffer looks back on his time with the band as "a blessing and a beautiful experience" and is obviously on good terms with RHCP Chad Smith drummer as they both toured as a part of Eddie Vedder's Earthlings solo band just recently.

He's now a touring member of Pearl Jam too and is enjoying the experience, musically and personally. "I’m honoured to say that these guys are my friend," Klinghoffer told Guitar World

The new issue of Guitar World can be purchased at Magazines Direct.

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.