RHCP Mentioned in Michael Beinhorn Interview

Ultimate Guitar are running a lengthy interview with Michael Beinhorn about his career as a music producer and obviously RHCP are mentioned. Here are the extracts from the interview concerning the Chili Peppers:

In 1987, you went in the studio with the Red Hot Chili Peppers to do the “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan” album. Was that your first significant production?

I’d done a couple on my own after I left Material but they weren’t really any major things to speak of. I feel like they were more my fledgling attempt to strike out on my own as a producer.

What was that like being in there with the Chili Peppers? Certainly you knew their background and the music they’d made previously?

I didn’t really, hahaha. I remember hearing them one time on the radio and going, “Oh, this is kind of interesting.” But then I later realized I had been listening to the wrong song. I thought I had been listening to a Chili Peppers song when it was actually a Jim Foetus song, hahaha. I had no idea what the Chili Peppers sounded like until sometime played the demo.

What did you think when you finally heard the band?

At that point I was kind of like, “OK. It’s messy but it could be worthwhile.”

Anthony Kiedis was going through a heavy heroin addiction at the time so that must have made those sessions pretty hard, right?

It was interesting because it was really what I needed more than anything at that point in time. It was a true baptism by fire. I went from being someone with very, very little experience as a record producer [into a project like this]. I remember going around to people and trying to get them to hire me. One guy said, “To hire you on a record right now, Michael, would be a crapshoot.” I was like, “What?” but in hindsight the guy was not wrong. I didn’t really know what I was doing.

What were those sessions like?

Here I am with this band that basically their record label can’t stand. On top of that, the minute I land to go to work with these guys – I can’t remember who it was who picked me up and I think actually Jack Irons picked me up at the airport – someone along the way casually mentioned, “By the way, two of the guys have got little drug problems.”

That must have freaked you out?

I was kinda like, “Oh.” I was a naive, innocent young man and I’m not sure what this means. I figured, “Well, maybe they’re smoking a little too much pot or they’re doing a little too much coke.” It turns out I’m smack dab in the middle of dealing with a semi-functional and a completely non-functional heroin addict, hahahaha.

There were two guys on heroin?

One of the guys was Hillel [Slovak] who was shooting dope. I think he did it to the extent where he was able to kind of go to work and at least show up and do stuff. But Anthony was absolutely AWOL. He wouldn’t show up for weeks at a time.

Yeah, it was bad. When he did, he would come into the studio and his face would be green. He was all pockmarked from scratching and stuff. He’d have a bag of candy with him and be there for like 20 minutes and go into the bathroom and get sick and leave.

How did you get through that?

It was really tough. It was really tough and it really kind of put me in a high, high stress environment very, very fast. I don’t really recommend that to most people but to paraphrase Marcus Aurelius, “No man winds up in situations he can’t handle.

At the end of the day, “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan” album would become the band’s first record to break into the Top 200 and would represent an important step in their career.

Thank you. Again, I wasn’t expecting miracles out of the thing. I was like, “If we can just get through this and everyone is alive at the end of it.” I was like, “I have to make it as good as possible.” I wanted to get them as far away from being too self-indulgent.

What do you mean?

I felt that was one of the things that had plagued them in the past. That they really were not focused on account they used all their influences in a very diffuse kind of way. There wasn’t a focused band sound to them. I thought it was really important to try and find ways to distill what they were doing.

You did push them into different areas to try different musical ideas?

Just in some ways simplify it more and focus it as much as possible.

They must have liked what you did because they bring you back two years later to do the “Mother’s Milk” album.

All of a sudden the band dynamic had changed considerably. You’ve eliminated two key people in the band [Slovak died of a heroin overdose and close friend Jack Irons left because he couldn't deal with his friend's death] who are part of this network of friends and some of whom have known each other since before high school. I’m pretty sure most of them went to high school together [Fairfax High School]. They all knew each other from the time they were pretty young so that creates a really, really profound dynamic amongst people. Sometimes it’s a dynamic that keeps people in a really good place and sometimes you might be able to do better.

When John Frusciante and Chad Smith came in on the “Mother’s Milk” album, that really changed the dynamic in the band?

Chad was very experienced as a drummer and he was extremely good. It’s so funny because I had to twist those guy’s arms to hire him too.

Is that right?

They wouldn’t do it, hahahah. They were just hemming and hawing because he was too rock ‘n’ roll for them. I was like, “You’ve gotta be joking. This is the absolute best drummer that’s been into audition and probably the best you’ve played with in the last two years. You’re crazy if you don’t hire this person. Someone is gonna snatch him up in a heartbeat.”

That’s amazing the band didn’t recognize Chad Smith’s talents from the beginning.

He looked all silly and he had a headband on. After a week, they were like, “OK.”

What was it like working with John Frusciante?

John is a different story. He was like this little kid. He was like 17-years old when he joined the Chili Peppers and he spent a lot of his time in his room at home with his mom. I’m pretty sure he’d taken lessons but he apparently sat around transcribing Steve Vai guitar solos for hours. He was a real muso.

Was Anthony Kiedis still doing heroin?

A lot of things had changed. Anthony had straightened out and there was a lot of animosity between him and Flea.

Why?

It didn’t help things at all. Yeah, it was really bad actually. They never dealt with it at all. They never went to one another and sat down and were like, “Look, dude. We’ve known each other too long for this to affect what we’re doing.” I really kind of had to keep the show going especially since the two principals, the two original guys in the band and one of whom was the singer, didn’t come to the studio ever.

Anthony and Flea wouldn’t come to the studio?

Hahaha. It was an interesting thing but it was funny because all of a sudden they were the cause célèbre at the record company. All of a sudden the president of the record company is going down to visit us at Ocean Way Studios and it’s like, “Oh, sh-t. He only does this for the really big artists. I guess he’s got a lot riding on these guys all of a sudden.” Through EMI Manhattan and they were expecting great things from them.

 

Full interview can be read HERE

 

Jim Leatherman Photographic Exhibition Featuring RHCP

The City Arts Factory in Orlando, Florida, is hosting an exhibition of photographs by Jim Leatherman spanning a thirty year period. The exhibition includes photos Leatherman took of the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

Jim-Leatherman-Red-Hot-Chili-Peppers-Orlando-exhibition

In the front row, sweat-soaked victims braced themselves against stage-diving kicks to the face that caused noses and gums to gush. On stage, the Red Hot Chili Peppers tore shirtless through songs off recently released The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. It was 1987, Flea had maybe one tattoo, Hillel Slovak was still alive and Orlando photographer Jim Leatherman drove six hours to plant himself in this seedy part of Atlanta to watch the Chili Peppers’ bloody blossom. From the second story of the venue where Leatherman perched, his shutter snapped an overhead perspective of an intense shared experience – a memory that three years later, when the Chili Peppers played Visage Nightclub in Orlando, brought singer Anthony Kiedis to tears when Leatherman showed up with the photos.

“Timing is the most important thing for me,” Leatherman says. “I’m not just there to take a picture. I want to wait for the exact moment. I’m always looking through the viewfinder, always looking through the screen. Waiting, waiting, waiting.”

Leatherman approached the rock star and shyly gifted him the photos, planning to simply pass them on and then back off. (Note that while his camera intrudes fearlessly to catch intimate moments during pivotal performances, Leatherman’s social demeanor is humbly unobtrusive.) Instead, Kiedis barked for him to come closer, and the pair sat for nearly half an hour while Kiedis went through the photos and reflected on his friendship with original Chili Peppers guitarist Slovak, who had died between the Atlanta show and the Orlando date. According to Leatherman, Kiedis cried off and on during the exchange.

“At the time, Mother’s Milk had just come out, so [Red Hot Chili Peppers] were starting to get really big,” Leatherman says. “I just thought he would be this kind of weird, scary party dude that really wouldn’t give me the time of day, and he turned out to be the sweetest, most emotional guy that I’ll never forget. It was cool, and just to have somebody appreciate my pictures was even more cool.”

The exhibition runs from its opening today (April 16th 2015; exhibition opens at 6 p.m) until May 15th at the City Arts Factory, 29 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida.

Full story and source: Orlando Weekly

 

 

Flea Jams with Nile Rodgers

Nile-Rodgers-Flea-perform-grammy-honouring

A  Grammy week event honoring Nile Rodgers was held at the Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles on Tuesday (4th February 2915)  by the Producers & Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy and RHCP’s very own Flea joined in with the performance. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist jammed on a session that included covers of  Chic’s “Le Freak” &  “Good Times” plus Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” that also saw Kathy Sledge joining them on stage to provide vocals.

“We’d never played together, I swear to you it’s the truth. We met in Germany… The Chili Peppers were on tour and I was working with the Symphony Orchestra and they played the gig in the joint the night before us and we were playing the next day and I said ‘Flea do you  just wanna come down and jam and he was like, ‘What are we going to play?’ ‘And I was like, I don’t care.’ And he was like, ‘So what if we make mistakes?’ And I was like, ‘Well cool…” Nile Rodgers

Danger Mouse to Produce New Album?

Lots of news sites are picking up on Flea’s deleted tweet yesterday (see post below) where he said the producer of the new album would be Danger Mouse. Most are saying little new e.g. this from Consequence of Sound:

Red Hot Chili Peppers are the latest group of high-profile rockers to enlist the talents of super producer Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse.

In a since deleted tweet, Chili Peppers bassist Flea confirmed Danger Mouse as the previously mentioned “unnamed producer who is really challenging us to find new ways to come up with new music.”

“The new album is shaping up good,” drummer Chad Smith explained in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “We’ve done the ‘guys get in the room and jam out songs, everybody playing together all at once’ thing. And we wrote a bunch of songs that way. And we’re now going to try another method that will be really challenging for us and will bring new, exciting results for the band. We’ve written and recorded in a way that we’ve never done before, so the record is going great. We all have high hopes that it’s going to take off and we’re going to do something very different and unique for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” Source

Similar articles can be found in DIY Magazine & Radio 104.5

 

Letting the Mouse out of the Bag?

The mystery of the vanishing tweet… deleted-tweet-flea-danger-mouse Apparently Flea posted the above tweet saying “‘Bout to start recording. Danger mouse producing… Let’s hang soon”  a few hours ago. However, the tweet was removed very soon afterwards. Danger Mouse is a music producer & song writer who is best know for being part of the Gnarls Barkley duo. He has worked with artists as like Beck, Jack White and Norah Jones.

Many thanks to Alessandro for letting me know about this on the Facebook page :)  Conversation & source

Busy Flea!

Flea news update…

Basketball 1

Flea made an appearance at a Lakers game over the weekend and featured in the pre-show program:

flea-lakers-game-january-2015

More photos including ones of Flea on the show can be seen on Red Hot Chili Family’s Facebook page

Basketball 2

He was also seen at another game at his old school, Fairfax High, where the pupils were playing against Westchester:

flea-fairfax-v-westchester-basketball-game

Source and more details including brief video showing Flea: LA Times