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Friday, July 21, 2006

RHCP's new direction . . . of sorts

Red Hot Chili Peppers were there at the first Fuji Rock Festival, playing in a typhoon at the foot of Mount Fuji. They played again in 2002 in Naeba and are returning to headline at the festival's 10th anniversary. Before this summer's concert, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante speak about their impressions of playing here, Japanese roller coasters and George Clinton.

News photo
Red Hot Chili Peppers (back row, from left): Chad Smith, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis and (front) Flea AP PHOTO

Chad Smith

What kind of impressions do you have of Fuji Rock Festival?

Do you still have the world's highest roller coaster in Japan? No? Not the world's highest anymore? I remember that -- after I got on the roller coaster, I purchased a coffee mug with my picture on it and when I saw the photo, my mouth was wide open. You know, I was really scared.

What kind of show will RHCP play this year?

I will play bongo, and Flea will probably play banjo, and Anthony will play fluegelhorn. And John will play skin flute. And we will all be unplugged and play Gershwin. I am sure all our Japanese fans will enjoy it. I hope they will like our new direction [laughs].

We will play rock, of course, Fuji Rock! We will cause a sensation at Fuji Rock! I will fill all your orifices with rock -- eyes, mouth, ears, all your holes! I will put rock in them, so that later you will probably walk away screaming 'Help! Help! Please help!'

John Frusciante

What was your impression of the previous Fuji Rock festivals?

When we play clubs here, the kids get crazy, but when we play in most large concert halls in Japan, everybody sits and claps and the atmosphere is completely different. But in the case of Fuji Rock, the kids become crazy and everyone gets high off the atmosphere, and that's amazing.

Last time [2002], we drove through these beautiful mountains and our manager had just purchased a Fairport Convention CD, so we listened to it for the first time while we were driving on that foggy mountain road. I remember that very well -- ever since then I have listened to Fairport Convention.

George Clinton was there that year, he came backstage before our set and we listened to a doo-wop album, and George was singing. . . . It was a really powerful moment when he came to our backstage to sing a doo-wop song. And since then we have covered such songs. . . . I have lots of good memories of Fuji Rock.

Red Hot Chili Peppers play the Green Stage at Fuji Rock Festival '06 on July 29 at 9:30 p.m.

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