I haven’t typed out the whole transcript- just the main snippets connected to Flea.
Albarn is here rehearsing Rocket Juice & the Moon… His two bandmates, drummer Tony Allen and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea- on a three-day vacation from the Pepper’s world tour are joined by…
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Rocket Juice & the Moon were conceived back in 2008. Albarn, Allen and Flea were travelling on a plane to Lagos to take part in Albarn’s ever-morphing Africa Express Collective, which he had set up in response to the dearth of African artists on the bill at Live 8 three years earlier.
“Flea is a bit Fela Kuti fan,” says Albarn. “He was in business class but he saw Tony and me at the back of the plane and sat with us for the journey. It was the first time he’d met Tony. They talked about Fela and we all got on really well. We made a promise to ourselves after the show in Lagos that whenever we had the chance we’d get together and jam. So Rocket Juice & the Moon came out of that. If we were all in the same place, we’d rehearse, and as time went on we articulated our ideas. But it was never our intention to play shows and make a record. Things just happened.”
Flea agrees. “We captured a really beautiful moment between three musicians,” he says down the phone from Los Angeles. “It was clear from the moment we met we were all going to click in the studio, just the way we approach music and what we want from it. We’ve got a spiritual connection.”
Like Albarn, Flea gets a kick from a collaboration, having worked with Jane’s Addiction, Johnny Cash, The Mars Volta and Thom Yorke in Atoms For Peace, who played Yorke’s solo album The Eraser live in 2009 and have an album planned for later this year.
“I love the Chilis,” he says, “they’ve been my home for 30 years, but going out and playing with other people, there’s a sense of liberation. I learn and expand. I gain more energy as an artist, and I go back to the Chilis and I’m a wider and wiser musician with more to offer. That’s what I’m reaching for in life. Music is infinite.”
Flea describes RJ&TM album sessions as relaxed and loose- “like music is supposed to be played”- before paying fulsome tribute to their helmsman: “Damon is so open, a truly lovely guy.”