The Red Hot Chili Peppers have cycled through quite a few guitarists over the years, but their latest personnel change was still fairly unexpected. Last month the Chili Peppers announced that John Frusciante — arguably the definitive RHCP guitarist, with all due respect to the late Hillel Slovak — was rejoining the band for a third stint. This was good news for many RHCP fans due to Frusciante’s involvement with some of the group’s most beloved albums; his first tour of duty with the band from 1988-1992 included the star-making Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik LPs, while his second run from 1998-2009 yielded Californication, By The Way, and Stadium Arcadium.
The news was less great for Josh Klinghoffer, a former member of RHCP’s touring ensemble who took over as the band’s main guitarist upon Frusciante’s departure in 2009. After a decade in the role, Klinghoffer was suddenly out of a job because Frusciante was back in. Now, as Rolling Stone points out, Klinghoffer has gone on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast to discuss his removal from the Chili Peppers.
Klinghoffer told Maron his ouster was “a complete shock but not a surprise,” and that he feels no animosity toward Frusciante or the rest of RHCP: “It’s absolutely John’s place to be in that band. So that’s why I’m happy for him, I’m happy that he’s back with them. If John coming back had happened five years ago, it would have been hard for me, temporally, to weigh [my work] against what they had. Now, after 10 years, two tours, and almost three albums of writing, I’m really proud of what I did with them. I feel like we did create something.”
Klinghoffer also revealed that his former bandmates initiated the reunion with Frusciante, and that they broke the news to him in person at Flea’s home: “They just said, ‘We’ll get right to it. We’ve decided to ask John to come back to the band.’ And I just sat there quiet for a second and I said, ‘I’m not surprised.’ And the only thing I could think to say was, ‘I wish I could have done something with you guys, musically or creatively, that would have made this an absolute impossibility.'” Klinghoffer confirmed that he had been working on new music with RHCP that will likely be scrapped as they rejoin with Frusciante. Klinghoffer’s own band, Pluralone, will open for Pearl Jam on their North American tour this spring.
Listen to the full WTF interview below.