Flea says he was so “freaked out” by having to fire Josh Klinghoffer he crashed his car into his house

Not the best way to arrive with bad news.

Flea and Josh Klinghoffer

Image: C Taylor Crothers / Getty

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Flea has recalled being “freaked out” by the emotional of welcoming guitarist John Frusciante back into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as it meant saying goodbye to Josh Klinghoffer, who had played with the band for a decade.

Frusciante first joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988, however left in 1992. He was invited back by Flea and vocalist Anthony Keidis after they fired guitarist Dave Navarro in 1998. He quit the band for a second time in 2009, being replaced by his friend Josh Klinghiffer for almost exactly a decade. In 2019 Keidis and Flea would once again invite Frusciante back to the group, this time taking Klinghoffer’s place.

Speaking to Classic Rock, the bassist recalled how he was so emotionally stressed by having to dismiss Klinghoffer that when he arrived to break the news, he drove into his garage. “I crashed my car into the garage, I was so freaked out about it. You go into the garage and the door’s coming down, and your mind’s so gone you just go into the door. It was really hard.”

Flea also made it clear that the band doesn’t resent Klinghoffer, however they found that they missed their particular musical chemistry with Frusciante.

“Look, [Klinghoffer] is an amazing musician, he’s a kind and thoughtful person. I could go to him when I was hurting and crying on the road when I was in my own miserable neuroses and depression.

“But we had a language with John that we developed when we were all much younger. We can do things without really speaking about it, we have this connection. That was harder with Josh, and for Josh too.”

Despite the charged nature of his departure, Klinghoffer himself has expressed his lack of hard feelings against the band and Frusciante. “It’s absolutely John’s place to be in that band,” he told NME. “I’m happy that he’s back with them.”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 12th studio record Unlimited Love arrives on 1 April 2022.

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