Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea said he used to feel “weird” about his relationship with drummer Chad Smith because so much of their communication was nonverbal.
Flea said he had a “brother-like” connection with singer Anthony Kiedis and a “very personal” link with guitarist John Frusciante, but things were always different with Smith.
“We don’t hang out outside of the band, never have – I’ve probably been to his house once,” he told producer Rick Rubin in a recent Broken Record podcast. “It’s just like, we get down, we look at each other and that’s how we talk. Very rarely do we speak about emotional things, about spiritual things, even things that trouble us or things we aspire to. It’s just we get down and fucking hammer out some grooves!”
Flea’s discomfort came to the fore when he was asked to record a personal video message for Smith’s 50th birthday. “And I remember feeling weird,” he recalled. “I almost was embarrassed. … I kind of said, ‘Look, Chad and I, we don’t really speak emotionally about these things that I would normally talk about under these circumstances. We talk by playing, we talk by looking at each other and knowing when to lay back into a groove or knowing when to lean forward, and knowing when to sit right in the middle, or knowing when he should lay back and I should lean forward, or vice versa.'”
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The bassist noted that’s when he realized the strength of their connection: “All these intricacies of rhythm, which color a song so profoundly – we do all this stuff just by looking at each other. Afterwards, I was like, ‘Why the fuck should I feel like that’s less significant than speaking or talking about our fucking inner child or some shit?’
“That is a beautiful conversation that Chad and I share, and I’m so grateful for that. That’s the way that we are, and that’s what it is – that’s awesome.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers start a world tour on June 4 with North American dates starting on July 23.
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