Photo via Flea’s Instagram
From what we’ve heard so far of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ forthcoming LP, The Getaway, the band’s legendary bassist Flea sounds like his normal, spry self. But according to a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Flea essentially had to relearn bass from scratch before recording the album, thanks to a nasty fall he took on a February 2015 snowboarding trip with vocalist Anthony Kiedis. “We were jetting down the mountain, going, like, 50 miles an hour, when I just wiped out,” Flea recounts. “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.”
After somehow snowboarding down the mountain and hopping in an ambulance, Flea underwent major surgery to repair nerve damage and got the scare of a lifetime: He could no longer play bass. “I went to play one note and a bunch of pain shot up my arm,” he says. “I tried to play the simplest things and my hand just wouldn’t do it. It felt like I let everyone down, because we couldn’t work on the record.”
Fortunately, Flea worked his way back into bass-slapping shape with six months of intensive rehabilitation. The silver lining to this story, to hear the Chilis tell it, is that the injury forced them to completely overhaul the new album and take a new creative approach, ditching longtime producer Rick Rubin and bringing in Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton.
We’ll see what the results sound like when The Getaway drops on June 17th. As for Flea, we’re sorry we ever called him an old man. Anyone who can shred the slopes like that truly has a bit of whippersnapper left in him.