News Flash: Chili Peppers Poised To Return To Stage

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are hoping the third time's the charm.

The band, who have been prevented from playing live shows for most of this year by everything from drummer Chad Smith's and singer Anthony Kiedis' unrelated motorcycle crashes to Kiedis' avowed, recurring drug problem, to guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Flea's temporary defection to a reunited-Jane's Addiction tour, will try to play a string of three U.S. dates in late December and early January.

"They go into rehearsals this Friday for a week," band publicist Ken Phillips said Wednesday. "Then they take some time off for the holidays and do a final rehearsal on the 26th."

The group, which has one song already completed for a new album and about 20 others in the works, also plans to get down to serious writing for their next album after their upcoming Las Vegas show, with an eye toward a late-1998, early-1999 release, according to Phillips.

The funk-rock Chili Peppers had originally planned to play a show at the George M. Sullivan Sports Arena in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 21 to warm up for their show at the typhoon-aborted Mt. Fuji Festival in Japan. Both the Alaska show and a July 23 show at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, were scrapped, however, when Kiedis shattered his wrist in a motorcycle accident in July. The shows were re-scheduled for mid-September, then canceled again after Smith dislocated his shoulder in August, also in a motorcycle crash.

Now, Phillips swears the show(s) will go on.

The re-re-scheduled shows are set to take place on Dec. 29 in Honolulu, Dec. 31 in Anchorage and Jan. 7 at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas. Plans for a tentatively scheduled New Year's eve show in San Francisco fell through, however, Phillips said.

The one live show the band did manage to pull off this year, a slot at the first-ever Mt. Fuji Festival on July 25, was interrupted by no less than a force of nature -- Typhoon Rosie, which struck after the band took the stage, forced an early end to their set and the festival.

The band is already at work on their next album, with one new song, "Circle of the Noose," completed thus far. The track, recorded by Flea and Kiedis, was previously described by the bassist as a trancey tribute to qawwali-devotional singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan -- the popular, late Pakistani singer who died in August of this year.

In addition, Navarro and Smith may release a side-project album within the coming months, according to Phillips. The side-band, Spread, is set to release the tentatively titled Pelican, which was recorded at home after the last Chili Peppers tour. The duo also recently created a video for the still-unannounced debut single from Pelican.

"We had a lot of down time, after the last Chili Peppers tour, with Flea working on some movie things and Anthony in India," Navarro said earlier this year. "So Chad and I were hanging-tight, sitting around in L.A. When I do that I tend to write sappy, depressing songs, where I'm real honest about my fears as a human being.

"It was a real low-budget, self-made thing that we want to put out on Warner [Bros., the Chili Peppers' label] just for fun. Neither of us are really necessarily interested in getting it out there to have more product on the shelf," Navarro said.

Nonetheless, the album looks like it will make it on the shelves even before the Chili Peppers' new one.

"It looks like Spread will happen first," Phillips said. "It's up to Warner Bros., but it's possible that could come out as early as late spring, or early summer if the Peppers album isn't ready yet, which it looks like it won't be." -- Gil Kaufman [Wed., Dec. 10, 1997, 5 p.m. PST]