Why Josh Klinghoffer Didn’t Like Working With Rick Rubin

Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer suggested in a recent interview that his work with the band would have been much better had he been a prolific producer Rick Rubin (Black Sabbath, Beastie Boys) were not part of the process.

Talking to Vinyl WriterMusic, Klinghoffer looked back on his time with the Chili Peppers as “incredibly conflicted.” Although he saved his harshest criticism for Rubin, Klinghoffer says that both albums he recorded with the Peppers were marred by working with their respective producers.

“I’m incredibly conflicted about my output with that band because I feel like in both cases the producers got in the way of us really making great music or a great record,” the guitarist explained from the interview published last week (Aug. 24) “I like almost all the songs we wrote together, but rarely did we capture them in the best way.”

Klinghoffer was with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a decade that spanned the recording of 2011’s I am with you and the 2016s The Getaway. Klinghoffer snarls Rubin who crashed I am with you. “I feel like Rick Rubin was much more of 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 have said, ‘Well, then have your driver come and pick you up’.”

Klinghoffer added that producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz) 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 ended up being a bunch of songs that I enjoyed, but I wasn’t happy with the way it sounded.”

Klinghoffer seems to be in a much better place in his current gig, being involved Pearl Jam‘s touring band and also opens for them on the road. He notes that one of his challenges with his current job is “facing a constant risk of smiling too much. [Laughs]. I sometimes let my 12-year-old self run away with my face.”

Just a few months ago, Klinghoffer cast a dark shadow about the future of rock music in generaland said that “(rock) is basically over, or soon to be over… There was a real summation of what rock ‘n’ roll did to the culture and how it spoke to power, and I think THAT has been taken away from us. As sad as it is, we’ve just got to find something else, or rock musicians need to wise up, I don’t know.”

Meanwhile, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been vocal about their rekindled bromance with the returning guitarist John Frusciante. Both drummers Chad Smith and singer Anthony Kiedis have toppled over theirsmusical telepathy“and”chemistry” with Frusciante, who was rehired after Klinghoffer was pushed out in 2019.

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