Tour break allows Red Hot Chili Peppers to start work on their next album

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There has been at least one positive from the ongoing tour hiatus for the Red Hot Chili Peppers as frontman Anthony Kiedis recovers from foot surgery: The remaining Peppers have started work on a new release.

This as-yet-unnamed project follows up a signature year for the band, as its 2011 release “I’m In You” earned a Grammy nomination and the Peppers were named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Drummer Chad Smith, bassist Flea and current guitarist Josh Klinghoffer have convened in LA, where they are sorting through new song ideas before they restart the North American leg of their ongoing world tour.

“We just rehearsed and came up with some ideas and new song ideas and stuff and played together for two weeks, and it was really fun,” Smith said. “It came out great — flowing and really natural and like we’ve been playing together a lot, which we have. We sent (Kiedis) CDs and he’s like, ‘I love this stuff! It sounds great. I love the new jams.’ That’s just good for everything; it’s good for morale, it’s good for the future. The future is bright.”

That said, Smith confirmed the Red Hot Chili Peppers will return to the concert trail for the rest of the year, beginning with a March 29 date at Tampa, Fla. The band then heads to Europe in June, followed by make up dates back in the states beginning in August.

So, it would be at least 2013 before any new album appeared.

“Normally in Chili Peppers world, we never really had this much of a kind of break in a tour,” Smith told Billboard.com. “Before, if we had a month off, we would never get together and write song ideas; we always wrote songs when it was time for an album cycle. But everyone just wanted to play. It was great.”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and related solo projects. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – I’M WITH YOU (2011): Though they often play with a familiar steely aggression, the Red Hot Chili Peppers seem nevertheless to be rounding the corner into middle age. I’m With You, the band’s first project since the 2006 double-album Stadium Arcadium, is often focused on departures — of youth and of old friends, perhaps a direct reaction to the exit of guitarist John Frusciante. The longest layover in band history, clearly, gave them time to think. Still, this being the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and thunderous bassist Flea being, well, thunderous on the bass, you’d expect most of these ideas to be buried deep in the group’s trademark whomping frat-boy funk, right? Not so fast. This Rick Rubin-produced efforts ends up as the most layered, complex offering in a Peppers’ catalog dating back almost three decades.

JOHN FRUSCIANTE – SHADOWS COLLIDE WITH PEOPLE (2004): hat is the sound of a lone Pepper? Not as hot, not as funky … but more distinctive than you might expect. While some of 2004?s Shadows Collide With People shares bits of Chili Pepper-ness, there are definitely a few non-Pepper moments. First of all, the electric guitar does not play a big role here. No, a strummed acoustic is used to build the bed of sound supporting the vocals. This isn’t really out of left field with respect to the Peppers: acoustic guitars are used there, just not to this degree. What is very Pepper-like is the tempo, with much of the album settling into that familiar mid-tempo “Californication”/ “Scar Tissue” area. It’s also quite amazing to hear Frusciante’s vocals.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – GREATEST HITS (2003): The Chili Peppers is one of those bands that I resisted. They were getting airplay from Mother’s Milk (“Higher Ground”, no doubt) and I just did not get it. Then Blood Sugar Sex Magik came out. This was the Peppers’ London Calling, their Dark Side Of The Moon (and hopefully not their Frampton Comes Alive). The funk was undeniable: killer guitar riffs and powerful in-the-pocket drumming, all anchored by Flea’s kinetic and soulful bass. So one day at work I’m listening to BSSM and a co-worker asks me if I’ve heard the ‘real’ Chili Peppers. He offers up his LP copies of Uplift Mofo Party Plan and Freaky Styley. Cripes, this stuff is nuts!

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