Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has spoken about the “very painful” process of firing guitarist Josh Klinghoffer last year amid the return of John Frusciante to the band. 

In an interview with the SoCal in 17 podcast interview (via Alternative Nation), Flea explained how the situation went down.

“In my band we had a big change, John Frusciante, who left and this is his third round in the Chili Peppers, he has quit twice. He came back to our band, and it was very painful to part ways with Josh Klinghoffer, who was the guitar player in our band for the last 10 years.”

“Because he is a good friend, and a great musician, and a supportive, awesome, loving, intelligent person. Sometimes you just have certain connections with people when you make art, I’m sure you’ve done artistic collaborations, where sometimes someone can be the best person in the world, but it doesn’t mean you have a mutual language when it comes to the creative process,” Flea continued.

“With John, we really have a profound language that is easy, and organic, and natural, and doesn’t need to be discussed, it just is there.”

Frusciante joined the group in 1988 but left four years later and returned in 1998 before leaving again in 2009, at which point Klinghoffer took over.

Klinghoffer has also previously spoken out about his dismissal from the band, saying he was “not surprised”.

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“I had gotten the text from Flea the day before and we’d put the writing on pause for a while and I just thought we were getting back into the swing of things. We finally came to the communal decision that we would do a record and that was what I thought we were going to talk about mostly,” he told Rolling Stone.

“I turned up last and they were all sitting in the backyard and Flea seemed sombre when I got to the door and he just got right to it and said, ‘We decided to ask John to rejoin,’ and I just sat there quietly for a second and said, ‘I’m not surprised. I wish I could’ve done something that would’ve made this an impossibility. But I’m really happy for you guys.’ I’m happy for John.”

Klinghoffer continued, “I wanted to leave the feelings that I had in that moment untouched, which were just the love for those guys. I love those guys deeply. I never saw myself as deserving to be there over John.”

During Klinghoffer’s 10-year run in the band, Red Hot Chili Peppers released two studio albums- 2011’s I’m With You and 2016’s The Getaway.

Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently recording a new album and are set to play with Pearl Jam live in 2021.

Check out ‘Under the Bridge’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers: