Singer Anthony Kiedis experienced the full range of a relationship’s emotions while crafting the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ latest Warner Bros. album, “By the Way,” due in stores July 9. He took inspiration from love’s immeasurable joys and also from its knotty pitfalls, creating a compelling follow-up to the group’s 1999 smash hit “Californication.” First single “By the Way” is No. 2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart after just two weeks of airplay.
“There are a lot of sort of full-circles in this record because as I was writing, I was with the girl I’ve been with for the last three years. I felt such huge waves of euphoria and elation toward her,” Kiedis says. “While we were recording the record, we broke up. It wasn’t a ‘confused, what’s going on, tragedy’ break-up. It was kind of a ‘it’s time to go on a new path’ break-up. So then I had the inspiration of that kind of pain and enlightenment of detaching from something that I couldn’t imagine being without a few months before. Both were equally inspiring, and I got the entire spectrum in the making of this record.”
Several tunes that look at the carefree side of romance, such as “Universally Speaking,” which combines a somewhat 1950s sound with 1970s psychedelia and features an instantly hummable, feel-good chorus. Similarly, “The Zephyr Song,” containing poppy background vocals, is about flying away on a plane with a lover to escape a confining world.
Most of the tracks came to fruition in jam sessions, which later led to the lyrics written by Kiedis. “When we were writing the songs, we kind of improvised a lot,” drummer Chad Smith notes. “That’s how a lot of our music happens. There’s a lot of bouncing ideas off each other. There is this synergy, and there is this musical telepathy that we have from playing together so long. The cool thing about our group is no matter what kind of style, whether it’s fast or slow or hard or soft, it always sounds like us. I’m really proud of that.”
Band members say they are anxious to perform this new material live and are preparing for an extensive world tour this fall covering Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, with domestic stops beginning early next year. In the meantime, the Chili Peppers have a handful of festival and headlining appearances on tap, continuing tonight (June 19) in Nice, France.
Here is the tracklist for “By the Way”:
“By the Way”
“This Is the Place”
“Don’t Forget Me”
“The Zephyr Song”
“I Could Die for You”
“Throw Away Your Television”
Here are the Chili Peppers’ tour dates:
June 19: Nice, France (Nikaia)
June 20: Lyon, France (Halle Tony Garnier)
June 22: Neuhasen, Germany (Southside Festival)
June 23: Scheesel, Germany (Hurricane Festival)
June 25: Dublin (Lansdowne Road)
June 26: London (London Arena)
June 28: Roskilde, Denmark (Roskilde Festival)
June 29: Werchter, Belgium (TW Festival)