It’s been over five years since the Red Hot Chili Peppers released Stadium Arcadium, their last (double) album of original material. In the intervening years, the band has undergone some very turbulent times, times which saw guitarist John Frusciante –who many consider to be the band’s “secret sauce”– leave the group and bassist Flea seriously consider doing the same. However, the bond between Anthony Kiedis, Flea and drummer Chad Smith ended up prevailing and the guys, along with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, will be releasing their new LP, I’m With You, this August.
Yesterday afternoon, the band released the album’s cover, designed by bad boy British artist Damien Hirst. It’s an oddly conceptual choice and supremely “arty” choice by the Chili Peppers, whose previous album covers have generally either been fairly literal in their interpretations of the album’s themes (see: Californication, Stadium Arcadium) or designed to reinforce the public perception of the band as embracers of hedonism (see: Mother’s Milk, Blood Sugar Sex Magik). It’s also supremely sterile for a band that’s known for having a funky, slinky, sexy sound that’s anything but sterile.
When pressed for comment on it, Kiedis told Classic Rock magazine that, “It’s an image. Its art. Iconic. We didn’t give it it’s meaning but it’s clearly open to interpretation.” So then, what’s YOUR interpretation of it? Is it a bold statement about Big Pharma? Did the Chili Peppers want to memorialize an old lady who recently swallowed a fly (that perhaps died)? If you have any theories, we’d love to hear ‘em.