Red Hot Chili Peppers Bug Out On New Album Cover

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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.

Damien Hirst Does Cover Art for Red Hot Chili Peppers’ New Album [BlackBook]

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  1. Talking about the album art being sterile; isn’t the album title also that? I’m With You: who would expect a title like that from Red Hot Chili Peppers!? But then they are always out to surprise us. But trust them to come out with a really contrasting image to the album title!

  2. trish says:

    It’s an ode to Avril Lavigne

  3. Mark Graham says:

    Trish, I think you nailed it!

  4. Mark Graham says:

    And hey Runcil, thanks for commenting. Yeah, I’M WITH YOU is a really weird and straightforward name for a Chili Peppers album, considering their love of puns and worldplay. Can’t wait to hear the record, though, I’m still a huge fan.

  5. Squid says:

    It’s a combo from them that wasn’t expected but I guess it’s not 1996 anymore. I just hope the album sounds like them since this doesn’t look like them.

  6. Nick Minichino says:

    Damien Hirst loves critical uses of pharmaceutical imagery in his art, so combined with Kiedis’s quote “We didn’t give it its meaning,” I think that explains at least half of the cover.

  7. allourblogs says:

    I hope the Chili Peppers can pull off a decent album with John Frusciante. Please check out my review of “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, listen to the song, and share your opinions on my blog: http://allourblogsblogs.blogspot.com/2011/07/adventures-of-rain-dance-maggie.html