Home News Classic Rock News How Flea’s Broken Arm Helped Change Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Creative Process

How Flea’s Broken Arm Helped Change Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Creative Process


Scott Dudelson/WireImageRed Hot Chili Peppers have worked with mega-producer Rick Rubin on all of their albums since 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik. However, for their upcoming album The Getaway, the Chili Peppers recruited producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. That change came about in part thanks to bassist Flea breaking his arm last winter in a snowboarding accident.

“We were jetting down the mountain, going, like, 50 miles an hour, when I just wiped out,” the bassist tells Rolling Stone. “It was like, bam. My arm started swelling up right away. I broke my arm in five places. Big pieces of bone were shorn off.”

Flea spent six months recovering from the accident, which required major surgery to repair nerve damage. When he tried to pick up a bass again, he played one note and “a bunch of pain shot up my arm.

“I tried to play the simplest things and my hand just wouldn’t do it,” Flea recalls. “It felt like I let everyone down, because we couldn’t work on the record.”

While the Chili Peppers couldn’t do concrete work on what would become The Getaway, the downtime allowed the band to think about what they wanted to accomplish with the album. Coming off 2011’s I’m with You, which was a commercial disappointment compared to RHCP’s past records, the band wanted to shake things up.

“We were starting to do the same things we’ve always done,” says Flea of the I’m with You sessions. “I knew what we were gonna do before we even did it.”

To avoid any more creative malaise, the Chili Peppers decided to recruit Burton to produce the album. You can hear the results when The Getaway is released June 17.

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