The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Talking politics, tofu, doppelgängers, magik

The Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers

There are certain sureties that come with the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- those distinctive bass lines, songs about California and sex, and Anthony Kiedis and Flea will almost always take their tops off.

But ask drummer of 30 years, Chad Smith, and a lot has changed as well.

The rock band have a new album called The Getaway, their eleventh studio album.

Chad says the band’s sound has moved on since the hugely successful Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

"I often get people coming up to me and saying 'Why don't you make songs like Blood Sugar Sex Magik?' And it's like, 'Well, we did that.' That was who we were then, and where we are now."

They've moved on, but Chad is still fond of those times.

"It was everything I'd dreamed of as a 14 year old boy with Led Zepp posters on the walls. Drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. Man, I was going for it."

"The first time I was in Europe was the summer of 1989. I'd never been to Europe before we go, and we land, and we are in Amsterdam in 1989. My God, like, the red light district. People are smoking hash, and we played to 300,000 people. The whole thing - my mind was blown."

The Getaway tour is unlikely to reinvigorate one tradition the Red Hot Chili Peppers are known for – stripping down, and using socks to cover their genitals.

Chad says "nobody wants to see 50-year-old guys" doing that with socks.

But they're not all pushing 50.

Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, now 36, was the youngest artist ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he doesn't feel sprightly.

"Not in the slightest. I always say I'm the one in the worst shape."

Although Josh has been in the band for 7 years, Chad says he's still considered the "new guy."

Josh took over from John Frusciante - the band's long-time on again off again guitarist.

"It was certainly weird," Josh says. "He was someone I will love and care about for the rest of my life, but we haven't spoken for a long time."

Flea and Kiedis are very much the face of the Chili Peppers - Chad too - whereas Josh is very happy not to be.

The band regularly uses its popularity to get behind US Democrats, fundraising for Al Gore, Barack Obama and most recently Bernie Sanders.

Chad describes Sanders as "the least bad of the bunch."

"Obviously nobody wants to be President any more. The job must be not so good, because look at who we've got to pick from!"

Chad says the "phenomena" of Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is scary.

"He's misogynistic. He's racist. He's a narcissistic ego-maniac."

Watch the video for the full Story report.