New Peppers?

Amid an outstanding year of new musical releases, one esteemed band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, have been suspiciously quiet. That just might be changing…

by: Rica Jacoby

While it is few and far between where the year 2020 can be showered with praise, there is one thing this year has been positively ripe with — good music. As can be gathered from perusing Across The Margin’s Best Songs of 2020 (So Far), there has been a cache of stellar releases spread across various genres. Considering there are still several more months left in this perilous year, the potential for the release of additional uplifting new music remains. In fact, Billboard has put together a menu of the confirmed album releases in store for the rest of 2020, and it’s a sight to behold.

The list includes indie favorites such as Sufjan Stevens, The Avett Brothers, and Cut Copy, legendary guitarists such as Bill Frissell, and mainstream staples like Keith Urban, Katy Perry, and Lana Del Ray. However, one act was notably absent from the list, a band — that despite their relative silence — might be on the verge of releasing an album this year. That band is The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and signs of their return are littered everywhere.

Of course, The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band that needs no introduction. They’ve been around since the 1980s and have established themselves as one of the most important acts in modern American rock music, even managing to cement their place in the annals of rock music history back in 2012 with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their almost four-decade-long career has resulted in eleven albums, with the latest one being 2016’s The Getaway.

A few years back, in 2009, renowned guitarist John Frusciante left RHCP, making 2006’s Stadium Arcadium the last album that featured the band’s original members. Now, more than a decade later, Frusciante has decided to rejoin the group for the release of whatever their next album will be. If there are any questions on how involved Frusciante will be when it comes to the new album, those questions have been put to rest as The Red Hot Chili Peppers have reportedly scrapped music that was already recorded for an album to create new material with Frusciante.

Frusciante has dabbled in multiple intriguing projects since he left the group. One of the most notable is Trickfinger, an electronic venture that makes heavy use of synths and drum machines. Considering most of the time that Frusciante spent with The Red Hot Chili Peppers had him making use of a wah pedal and his trusty Boss DS-2 distortion pedals, it should be interesting how his new electronic sound will factor into a present-day record. 

Besides Frusciante’s involvement, a new album from RHCP in 2020 would be compelling on an entirely different level, as all members of the band are at creative pinnacles individually. Flea, who has always been pivotal when it comes to driving the bands’ unique brand of funk, is certainly the rock that all things Peppers have been built on over the years, and his skills have only amplified. The combination of his bass slapping techniques and the envelope filter of his Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron pedal is responsible for some of the funkiest riffs of all time

But Anthony Kiedis, the band’s front man, has also evolved as a lyricist over the years. This is evident in the recent material that the band has released, especially evident on The Getaway (with Danger Mouse producing), as their tracks have become mellower compared to the heavier material present in the early RHCP albums. This should work well with Frusciante’s burgeoning interest in electronic music, which  could truly make for quite the album when they choose to release it.

So, the question remains: are we getting a new Red Hot Chili Peppers album this year? It’s a little worrisome that they scrapped the tracks that pre-dated Frusciante’s return, as it could potentially mean a huge setback for the latest record. However, there are still reasons to be optimistic for a 2020 release. Chad Smith, the band’s drummer, confirmed to Rolling Stone that the album was still in the works back in January. This means they’re still potentially on track to release the album in 2020. While the band has been relatively silent about any updates concerning the album, surprise album drops have been a trend for huge musical acts. Keep your eyes peeled for the new Red Hot Chili Peppers record — it may be coming sooner than you think.


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