January 19, 2006

Peppers double pleasure with ‘Stadium Arcadium’

By Jonathan Cohen

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The Red Hot Chili Peppers will
release their first new album in almost four years on May 9, a
double set called "Stadium Arcadium."

The funk-rock veterans recorded 38 songs for the project,
and at one point even considered releasing three separate
records, but ultimately whittled the material down to a
25-track, two-disc set. Mixing on the Rick Rubin-produced
Warner Bros. effort is now halfway complete, according to
frontman Anthony Kiedis.

"We got together and our initial writing task was to write
a short record: an old school, hit 'em and quit 'em, straight
to the point record," he told Billboard.com. "A record with
only 11 or 12 songs instead of 17 songs, just for a change.
Three months later, we had 38 songs, all of which were
meaningful and worth recording and mixing."

At first, the idea of an album trilogy seemed "inspiring
and appealing. But the more we thought about it, the more we
realized it would be a nightmare," Kiedis said. "Even if you
only release them six months apart, you're waiting two years
until the final installment. Nobody had that kind of patience.
By that time, we want to be writing new music and making
another record. The best we could come up with is squeezing our
favorite 25 onto one body."

Kiedis cited "Snow" as one of his favorite tunes from the
new album, due to its "really crazy sounding guitar part. It's
very busy but rhythmically desirable at the same time. That has
grown into one of the epic, kind of great-feeling jams on this
record." Another tune, "Wet Sand," goes in a new structural
direction. "It isn't so much verse/chorus/verse/chorus with a
bridge," Kiedis said. "It has a beginning, a middle and an end,
which I like as a change of pace."

Fans are sure to be thrilled by the playing of guitarist
John Frusciante, who here eschews the more minimalist approach
of the Peppers' past two albums. Said Kiedis, "On this record,
he was kind of like, 'Okay, it's time for me to lay it all on
the table and really shine as a guitar player.' He's a lot more
balls-out. It's very solo intensive -- there's some incredible
guitar solos. I guess there's still a little bit of early Beach
Boys and early Electric Light Orchestra and intense vocal
harmonies. They make themselves known."

Kiedis attributed the creative burst to the fact that "the
chemistry when it comes to writing is better than ever. Always
in the past, there was a little bit of struggle between
(bassist) Flea, John or myself as contributing writers -- a
struggle to dominate. But we are now confident enough in who we
are, so everybody feels more comfortably contributing more and
more valuable, quality stuff."

The Peppers will "start rocking in May," according to
Kiedis, with the itinerary set to visit Europe first. A North
American tour will then run from August through November.
"Instead of playing outdoor shows, we'll play indoor shows so
we can bring a little bit of theatrical love into the arena
space," he said.

"Stadium Arcadium" is the follow-up to "By the Way," which
debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 in July 2002 and has sold
1.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen