Josh Klinghoffer Wishes He’d Told Rick Rubin to Leave RHCP Studio

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer looked back on his first album with the band, and said he wished he’d told producer Rick Rubin to leave the recording sessions.

Klinghoffer was hired in 2009 after John Frusciante’s deperature, then fired 10 years later when Frusciante returned to the group. While the parties involved have since explained it was a move that just had to be made, Klinghoffer was left with disappointment, having appeared on two Chili Peppers albums – 2011’s I’m With You and 2016’s The Getaway – but never having felt he’d achieved what he’d wanted to with the band.

“I’m incredibly conflicted about my output with that band because I feel like, in both circumstances, producers got in the way of us truly making great music or a great record,” the guitarist explained during an interview with Vinyl Writer Music. “I like almost all of the songs that we wrote together, but seldom did we capture them in the best way.”

Klinghoffer was especially critical of Rubin, who helmed I’m With You. “I feel Rick Rubin was way more a hindrance than a help,” the rocker noted. “He told me once, ‘I just want to help the songs be the best they can be.’ I should’ve said, ‘Well, then get your driver to come and get you.’”

In 2020 the guitarist told Rolling Stone that he’d felt like the “odd man out” during those sessions, since Rubin and the band had a quarter-century connection. “Like no one else in the band is going to listen to me; they’re going to listen to their friend who they’ve known and worked with and collaborated with successfully for ages,” he said.

Klinghoffer added that Danger Mouse was chosen as The Getaway’s producer because “I didn’t want to work with Rick again,” but that the resulting record had left him similarly unhappy. “I never felt like it was easy to fight for what I wanted on that record, so that record wound up being a bunch of songs I enjoyed, but I wasn’t happy with the way it sounded.”

In the new interview, Klinghoffer also dispelled the suggestion that he was hired as a touring member of Pearl Jam after working on frontman Eddie Vedder’s 2022 solo album Earthling. “My conversation with Eddie… was a year and a half before the Earthlings [band] landed or were in existence,” he said. “The timing of my leaving the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam deciding they needed an extra voice and set of hands on the tour for the Gigaton record could not have been more perfect. Eddie and I spoke about it on his birthday in 2019, eight days after my dismissal from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

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