After a decade-long absence from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante rejoined the band in December 2019, just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In the time since, the band has been busy recording their upcoming album — their first with Frusciante since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium — and according to drummer Chad Smith, it’s “almost done.”
“We’re getting along great,” Smith told Rolling Stone in an interview published Tuesday (Oct. 13). “John’s been back for a while now, so it feels completely natural. … We’re really listening to each other in a new way.” Smith also reflected on Frusciante’s current work ethic, adding, “He’s so dedicated. … He’s so into it. He’s working so hard. We’re all working hard, but he’s in there with all the overdubs and the magic that he brings.”
Frusciante — who was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer after his exit in the summer of 2009 — was initially set to re-debut with the band on the festival circuit, but COVID-19 caused the band’s plans to be postponed. It worked out well for the Chili Peppers, as they were able to sit down and get to work on their next album instead, which currently does not have a release date or title.
“It was kind of a blessing, because we want to come out with new music and play some new songs,” Smith said of their festival plans being delayed. “It’s gonna be great when we finally go out next year and have a record to play, and a bunch of other stuff, obviously.”
Going into the studio this time around, Smith says the band isn’t trying to re-create the sound they had with Frusciante on their previous albums, which includes catalog staples Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication.
“John hasn’t been in our group in 10 years; that’s a long time. So of course it’s going to sound different, but it’s gonna sound like the four of us because we do have this special chemistry together,” Smith explained. “It sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it’s different and new, and to me that’s great. … We really like it and we’re proud of it and it has to start there. If other people like it, great. If people compare it to this or [say] ‘It doesn’t sound like that,’ we have no control over that. But yeah, we’re all really happy with the record.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform songs from their yet-untitled 12th album — in addition to their signature hits and fan favorites — on a global stadium tour in 2022. The tour kicks off June 4 in Seville, Spain, at the Estadio La Cartuja De Sevilla and will come Stateside on July 23 with a stop at Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High. The Strokes, A$AP Rocky, Beck, Haim, St. Vincent, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Thundercat and King Princess will serve as special guests on the tour.