Why Josh Klinghoffer Didn’t Like Working With Rick Rubin on Red Hot Chili Peppers Album, ‘Way More a Hindrance’
Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer implied in a recent interview that his work with the band would have been a lot better had prolific producer Rick Rubin (Black Sabbath, Beastie Boys) not been part of the process.
Talking to VinylWriterMusic, Klinghoffer looked back on his time with the Chili Peppers as "incredibly conflicted." Although he saved his harshest criticism for Rubin, Klinghoffer says both of the albums he recorded with the Peppers were marred by working with their respective producers.
“I’m incredibly conflicted about my output with that band because I feel like, in both circumstances, producers got in the way of us truly making great music or a great record," the guitarist explained from the interview published last week (Aug. 24.) "I like almost all of the songs that we wrote together, but seldom did we capture them in the best way.”
Klinghoffer was with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a decade, spanning the recording of 2011's I'm With You and 2016's The Getaway. Klinghoffer snark-ily blasts Rubin, who helmed I'm With You. “I feel Rick Rubin was way more a hindrance than a help," the rocker noted. "He told me once, ‘I just want to help the songs be the best they can be.’ I should’ve said, ‘Well, then get your driver to come and get you.’"
Klinghoffer added that producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz) was chosen as The Getaway’s producer because “I didn’t want to work with Rick again,” but that the resulting record had left him similarly unhappy. “I never felt like it was easy to fight for what I wanted on that record, so that record wound up being a bunch of songs I enjoyed, but I wasn’t happy with the way it sounded."
Klinghoffer seems to be in a much better space in his current gig, being in Pearl Jam's touring band and also opening for them on the road. He notes that one of his challenges with his current job is "fac(ing) a constant risk of smiling too much. [Laughs]. I sometimes allow my 12-year-old self to run away with my face."
Just a few months ago, Klinghoffer cast a dark shadow on the future of rock music in general, saying that "(rock) is basically over, or soon to be over... There was a real cresting of what rock 'n' roll did to culture and how it spoke to power and I think THAT has been taken from us. As sad as it is, we just have to find something else or rock musicians have to get smarter, I don't know."
Meanwhile, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been vocal about their rekindled bro-mance with returning guitarist John Frusciante. Both drummer Chad Smith and singer Anthony Kiedis have gushed about their "musical telepathy" and "chemistry" with Frusciante, who was re-hired after Klinghoffer was pushed out in 2019.
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