David Bowie Also Declined To Work With Red Hot Chili Peppers

Written by | January 29, 2016 6:44 am | No Comments


David Bowie and Anthony Kiedis


I wonder how many collaborations David Bowie turned down. We learnt about the Coldplay one, that he kindly rejected because ‘It’s not a very good song, is it?’ But Chris Martin was not the only musician to have received the same answer. Apparently the Thin White Duke also passed up several offers made by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Anthony Kiedis was invited in Steve Jones’ radio show, Joney’s Jukebox, and Kiedis admitted the band asked Bowie to produce their 2002 album ‘By the Way’, and later 2006’s ‘Stadium Arcadium’, only to receive the same disappointing answer.

‘Every record we ever made, we had the band discussion. ‘Who should we get to produce this record?’’ ‘I don’t know, we have to try someone new!’ ‘Let’s get David Bowie!’ ‘Okay, let’s call him.’’ Said Kiedis according to Alternative Nation.

‘So in the beginning we would call him, and he would say no, respectfully. Then later we would write long e-mails explaining everything, and why it was time for us to really get our ships on, and he always respectfully declined. For two minutes I was heartbroken, and then I would hear Chad Smith play drums, and I’d be like, ‘We’re good, we could do something else.’’

‘We asked him to produce ‘By the Way’ as we were writing ‘By the Way’, and then we asked him again for our next record, which was ‘Stadium Arcadium’. He said no to us two or three times, but his mate [Brian] Eno, who we’ve also been asking our entire career to produce a record for us, has said no 8 times. All good. You gotta ask. And by the way, “no” is a reasonable answer. It’s one of a couple of answers you could get, and it’s acceptable.’

Some people never take no for an answer it seems, if Eno declined 8 times, this means he was asked 8 times! Plus I wonder why musicians tell this kind of stories, if Bowie repeatedly declines your offer or tells you your song is not good, may be it is not your proudest moment and why would you tell the masses such a thing? Just to admit you had a connection with Bowie no matter what?

This story is a bit strange because it is partially in contradiction with what you can read on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Wikipedia page: ‘However, the Chili Peppers decided to look for other producers for Californication. David Bowie had shown great interest in working with the band and asked to produce the album; however, the Chili Peppers chose to remain with Rubin for Californication.’ You can find the same bit in ‘Scar Tissue’, written by Anthony Kiedis and Larry Sloman: ‘We even considered David Bowie, who wanted to work with us but finally sent a gracious note explaining that he had too many other commitments to take on another project’

Why did Kiedis change his story? Is he telling the truth in his book? Did Bowie have an interest in working with them but was simply too busy, or did he decline by lack of interest from the beginning as Kiedis seems to tell now?

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