Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Josh Klinghoffer: Why You’ve Never Heard of his Band – Dot Hacker

In 2010, after Red Hot Chili Pepper fans were left mourning the exit of popular guitarist John Frusciante, it was officially announced that Josh Klinghoffer would fill Frusciante’s shoes.  Did it meet with opposition?  But of course.  Klinghoffer had big shoes to fill.  Frusciante die-harders would never fully embrace any replacement  for the alternative rock band.  That being said, Klinghoffer had been chosen and RHCP encouraged fans to embrace that this was their story and that they’d be sticking to it. 

Just who was Josh Klinghoffer anyway?  Well, as it turned out he was not only no stranger to RHCP, he was also no stranger to Frusciante.  Klinghoffer had already been working the Chili Peppers behind the scenes and was already a musical comrade of Frusciante.  They had been collaborating together for quite a while and this made Kinghoffers transition into the band a no-brainer.




Fast forward to 2014.  Fans have either accepted Klinghoffer as the RHCP guitarist or they haven’t. Those who haven’t have been crying for four years as the remaining RHCP fans are enjoying the new experience.

Klinghoffer quickly became known as the extremely shy member of RHCP.  He rarely speaks and when he does it’s painfully evident how uncomfortable he is.  But Klinghoffer’s shyness is only matched by his musical prowess.  Aside from being endorsed by RHCP and John Frusciante, Klinghoffer is making his mark outside of the auspices of RHCP.  He is not only a gifted guitarist, he is also a gifted composer and front man for his own band: Dot Hacker.

While most have never heard of Dot Hacker they are not a new Band.  They originally formed in 2008. While Klinghoffer was with RHCP in 2012, Dot Hacker’s first CD was released with a hauntingly beautiful melody written by Klinghoffer called Eye Opener.   With my curiosity piqued I went on line to find the song and found myself enthralled by the song from the very opening of the composition.

Dot Hacker’s latest album How’s Your Process? was released in June under the category Alternative Rock.  So why haven’t you heard about it?  After all Klinghoffer is a Chili Pepper.  Well, I couldn’t say that I know for sure, but I do have my opinions.

Back in 1993  The Red Hot Chili Peppers released Blood Sugar Sex Magic.  This was their first album to crossover into the mainstream hotbed.  The Peppers were catapulted from a barely recognized California Funk-Rock-Rap fusion band to super stardom in one fell swoop after the release of their two hit singles Give It Away, and Under The Bridge.  They were invited as musical guests on Saturday Night Live.  I vividly remember that 1993 performance.

Years later RHCP front man Anthony Kiedis would reveal the awkward stage presence between him and John Frusciante that permeated live in front of millions of viewers that night on SNL.   What was going on?  Kiedis was glaring at Frusciante.  John Frusciante was acting out.  He wasn’t playing the guitar as expected and Kiedis was livid.  Shortly after John Frusciante abruptly abandoned the group and certain fame.  He asserted that he never wanted “that type” of fame for himself and the group.  So he left the group.  

The question however remains what “type” of fame was Frusciante talking about?  We don’t know.  No matter what article you read it never goes into detail about what type of fame John Frusciante was talking about.  Certain he was talking about mega stardom, which they’d certainly acquired in 1993.  But what’s wrong with mega-stardom?  

It is my opinion that John Frusciante didn’t want the trappings that went with mega-stardom.  Those trappings being signing on the dotted line and being virtually owned by the recording company executives.  Losing creative freedom, etc.  John Frusciante, to my knowledge, has never said this but this is my opinion.  Even though Frusciante rejoined the group many years later, it’s never been clear what he meant about that type of stardom.  Years later he returned to that still super famous group and I always wondered what had changed that he was now willing to accept that “type” of fame.

Fast forward to 2009.  After many hit albums together John Frusciante again withdraws from RHCP. He now records his own music without the backing of big money record executives.   His albums get released without fanfare.  He is replaced by young Josh Klinghoffer who is certainly mentored by Frusciante.  With Frusciante’s keen understanding of the trappings of the music industry, some of this understanding surely must have rubbed off on Klinghoffer.

Hence, Klinghoffer and Dot Hacker remain satisfied (at least at this juncture) being creative artists with minimal fanfare.  Perhaps it’s just easier that way.  Not as much money… but certainly… more peace of mind.

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