If it weren’t for Andy Gill, Red Hot Chili Peppers may not exist today.
Bassist Flea and guitarist John Frusciante play on The Problem of Leisure, an upcoming box set paying tribute to the late Gill and his band, Gang of Four. Speaking with The Guardian, Flea describes how Gill “profoundly” influenced the musician he would become.
“It opened my mind to everything,” Flea says of Gang of Four’s 1979 debut, Entertainment! “I didn’t care about virtuosity any more. You could be a confused kid like me, not knowing how to play that good, and still make something incredibly f***ing important, like Gang of Four.”
Flea got to work with his hero when Gill produced RHCP’s self-titled debut album in 1984. However, the sessions were fraught with tension between the young, partying band members and the more professional Gill. Years later, Gill would accuse a Chili Peppers song of “ripping off” Gang of Four, which upset Flea. Thankfully, he two patched things up in 2018, when Gill asked Flea to contribute to the then in-the-works The Problem of Leisure.
“[We] talked about everything, about that remark and why it hurt my feelings — that we had our own thing, but were grateful for the influence he had on us,” Flea recalls. “He said he hadn’t meant it like that.”
“We talked about the arguments while recording our album and I apologized for anything I did that was offensive and he did, too,” he adds. “At the end, I was able to talk to him on the phone and say: ‘Andy, I love you."”
Gill died February 2020 at age 64. The Problem of Leisure will be released May 14.
By Josh Johnson
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