Chili Peppers To Play Three Dates Before Recording Next LP

L.A. punk-funkers wrap up series of intimate West Coast shows, prepare new material for studio.

With just three live shows left on their mini-tour and a

year of bad breaks seemingly

behind them, Los Angeles punk-funkers the Red Hot Chili Peppers

are getting ready to

head into the studio to record their seventh studio album, band

spokeswoman Gayle

Fine said Thursday.

"These are the only [tour] dates for now," Fine said. "The plan

is to get in the studio

before the end of the year and hopefully get the album out in a

timely fashion next year."

Fine said the group has been working on new material in Los Angeles. S

he would not

comment on the Peppers' choice of a producer for their album,

although American

Records honcho Rick Rubin, a frequent collaborator, has been

mentioned as a

possibility. At the 1997 Tibetan Freedom Concert in New York

City, Rubin told

SonicNet Music News that he hoped to produce the next

Chili Peppers album.

The group has not released a new LP since 1995's

One Hot Minute, the only

album in the band's canon to feature departed guitarist

Dave Navarro.

Although the Peppers recently completed a trio of West Coast dates,

they are preparing

for a second swing of intimate shows with thrash-rockers the

Deftones as their opening

act. The conclusion of the mini-tour will consist of stops at

Field of Dreams in Chico,

Calif., on Sept. 18, the Reno Livestock Center in Reno, Nev.,

on Sept. 19 and the

Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium in Stockton, Calif., on

Sept. 20.

The current string of shows, all at venues ranging in size from

3,000-5,000 seats, was

booked at more intimate venues than the arenas the band normally

plays.

These performances may be seen as a chance for drummer Chad Smith

and singer

Anthony Kiedis, who have each spent much of the past year

recovering from separate

motorcycle injuries, to get their live chops down before

entering the studio. They could

also give the two musicians and bassist Flea an opportunity

to get used to the return of

guitarist John Frusciante, who replaced former Jane's Addiction

axeman Navarro.

Frusciante re-joined the band this year after a six-year

absence.

The mini-tour hit a few sound-related snags at its inaugural

date Sept. 4 at the Santa

Barbara County Bowl, in Santa Barbara, Calif., according to

that venue's general

manager, Sam Scranton. "It was a little raggedy, because

apparently, nobody told their

sound guy when the shows were," Scranton said. "It took a

few songs to dial it in. The

first song was really ragged, and the band apologized for it."

After getting past these snafus, the group played an 80-minute

hit-filled show of mostly

older material, Scranton said. The set included selections from

two of the biggest-selling

albums of the band's 15-year career -- 1989's Mother's Milk

(which featured the songs "Knock Me Down"

and a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground") and 1991's

multi-platinum

BloodSugarSexMagik (which featured "Give It Away" [RealAudio excerpt], "Under the Bridge" and "Breaking the Girl").

"It didn't feel like the way it would have [felt] if they were a

touring band," Scranton said of

the set, which he characterized as having an impromptu feeling.

"They were just doing

whatever they felt like. For Peppers fans, it was cool, because

they don't normally get to

see them in a venue this size. It definitely felt like a band

playing the dates for the fun of

it." The show was opened by Latin hip-hop/funk band Ozomatli.

Frusciante made his onstage return to the Peppers in June of this year

at a show for L.A.

pirate-radio station KBLT. That was followed by a club appearance

in Washington, D.C.,

and an event-closing surprise performance at the Tibetan Freedom

Concert, also in

Washington, two nights later.

Although the Peppers were tentatively planning to book a South

American tour for late

1998, it has been postponed to allow them to concentrate on

recording the new album,

according to Fine.