Flashback: Red Hot Chili Peppers Play 'By the Way' With John Frusciante in 2007

Red Hot Chili Peppers announced plans for a 2022 world tour earlier this week via a bizarre video where Flea, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith posed as Anchorman-style newscasters. John Frusciante was the only one to appear out of character. “John,” Flea asked him, “might we expect you and the fellas to play live anytime soon?”

“Yeah,” he said, “We’re going to do a tour starting in June 2022. … The whole world … The U.S. leg will start in July 2022.”‘

The reunion was originally slated for 2020, and the band had dates on the books, but the pesky global pandemic got in the way after a lone three-song set for the Tony Hawk Foundation in Beverly Hills where Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction filed in for Chad Smith. The show featured the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” Gang of Four’s “Not Great Men,” and “Give It Away.”

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The complete Blood Sugar Sex Magik/Californication lineup hasn’t played in public since the end of the 2007 Stadium Arcadium tour. It was an epic run that took them all over the world during the course of 132 shows. Frusciante never fully articulated his reasons for leaving the band after it wrapped, but it’s quite likely he was ready for a long break after all that.

Here’s video of “By the Way” from a July 3rd, 2007, show in Chorzów, Poland. If you look carefully at the wide shots, you’ll see Josh Klinghoffer on keyboards. He was brought on board during the tour to help out with keyboard and guitar parts along with backing vocals. When Frusciante left the band, he was promoted to lead guitarist. He was let go when Frusciante returned in late 2019.

“It truly felt like a death,” he told Rolling Stone soon after the band broke the news to him, “but how many times do you get to walk away from a death and live the rest of your life?”

The wounds were very fresh at that point, and he’s since teamed up Pearl Jam to help them on their Gigaton tour as an auxiliary musician, similar to the role he played with the Chili Peppers in 2007. This past weekend, he even played with Chad Smith when Eddie Vedder put together an impromptu band to back him at the Ohana Festival after the Kings of Leon had to drop out due to a family emergency. Getting booted from the Chili Peppers may not have been his ideal scenario, but he’s certainly landed on his feet.

The Chili Peppers, meanwhile, were supposedly working on a new album with Frusciante when the pandemic arrived. They kept a very low profile over the past year and a half and nobody knows the status of the thing. Hopefully it’ll be ready by the time they hit the road next summer.

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