Red Hot Chili Peppers To Launch Tour, Plan Next LP

Foo Fighters will join Los Angeles-based punk-funk band on concert swing that starts Friday in Minneapolis.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who will launch a North American tour Friday in Minneapolis with fellow rockers Foo Fighters, plan to begin work on a new album soon after the outing ends this summer, according to their bassist, Flea.

"I imagine we'll go pretty quickly. I feel like we're on a good roll," Flea said Wednesday from his California home. "We're definitely better than we've ever been."

In the meantime, Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, who returned to the seminal punk-funk band for last year's massively successful Californication (RealAudio excerpt of title track) after a six-year absence, is finishing his third solo album.

The album, which Flea said Frusciante recorded in his home studio, is slated for release this year, according to Chili Peppers spokesperson Gayle Fine.

Frusciante released two previous solo albums, 1994's Niandra Lades & Usually Just a T-Shirt and 1997's Smile From the Streets You Hold during his time apart from the Chili Peppers. The guitarist struggled with heroin addiction during those years.

Both Flea (born Michael Balzary) and Frusciante have been experimenting with sampling technology, which may well show up on the Chili Peppers' next album, according to the bassist. "John and I both have samplers, and we love to play with them. But then again, we have a great drummer," Flea said.

Eight months after its release, the Chili Peppers' Californication still is thriving. Its latest single, the catchy, plaintive track "Otherside," is #1 on Radio and Records' Alternative chart and is also flourishing in several other radio formats.

"It's huge," said Mike Peer, music director for New York modern-rock station K-Rock. "Obviously this is a great album, a really enduring album."

Californication — and the band's live shows since its release — is helping to define a new era for the band, Flea said. "It's just life, how it spells itself out in that tangible audio way," he said. "It expresses itself in a lot of different ways, but we've learned to make a poignant sound that's not as frantic."

Along the way, the band also has been experimenting with riffs and grooves that could end up on their next record, Flea said. "We just want to make a really, really good record," he said, "and there's definitely been changes in the band that it should reflect."

Foo Fighters, who released There Is Nothing Left to Lose last year, were a natural choice as tour partners, Flea said. "There's not a lot of good rock bands out there, y'know? I mean, who are we gonna play with, some rap-metal band, a Korn Jr.?"

But the bassist is most looking forward to having his recording equipment on the road with him for the first time. He said that will give him a chance to work on material for the next Chili Peppers LP and for a possible solo album.

According to Flea, he scrapped plans for a solo release that would have featured him "playing acoustic guitar, singing folk songs," after Frusciante rejoined the Chili Peppers. But some tracks from that record might eventually see the light of day, along with new solo songs, Flea said.

Right now, however, the bassist's focus is on his revitalized band. "I love being in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love playing with John Frusciante."

In Frusciante's absence, the Chili Peppers, who released their self-titled first album in 1984, recorded one album, 1995's One Hot Minute, with former Jane's Addiction member Dave Navarro on guitar.

Red Hot Chili Peppers/Foo Fighters tour dates:

March 24; Minneapolis, Minn.; Target Center

March 25; Madison, Wis.; Dane County Expo Center

March 27; Carbondale, Ill.; SIU Arena

March 28; Champaign, Ill.; Assembly Arena

March 30; Dayton, Ohio; Nutter Center

March 31; Columbus, Ohio; Value City Arena

April 2; Amherst, Mass.; Mullins Center

April 3; Albany, N.Y.; Pepsi Arena

April 5; State College, Pa.; Bryce Jordan Arena

April 6; Roanoke, Va.; Civic Center

April 8; Bloomington, Ind.; Assembly Hall

April 9; Lexington, Ky.; Rupp Arena

April 11; Knoxville, Tenn.; Thompson-Boling Arena

April 25; Omaha, Neb.; Civic Auditorium

April 26; Iowa City, Iowa; Carver Hawkeye

April 28; Columbia, Mo.; Hearnes Center

April 29; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Myriad Center

May 1; Little Rock, Ark.; Barton Coliseum

May 2; Austin, Texas; Frank Erwin Center

May 4; New Orleans, La.; TBA

May 5; Pensacola, Fla.; Civic Center

May 7; Greenville, S.C.; Bi-Lo Center

May 8; Norfolk, Va.; Scope Exhibition Arena

May 11; Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; NEPA Arena

May 13; Providence, R.I.; Civic Center

May 14; Portland, Maine; Cumberland County Civic Center

New tour dates:

May 27; George, Wash.; The Gorge

May 28; Vancouver, British Columbia; GM Place

May 30; Salt Lake City, Utah; E Center

May 31; Salt Lake City, Utah; E Center

June 2; Phoenix, Ariz.; Desert Sky Amphitheater

June 3; Albuquerque, N.M.; Pitt Arena

June 5; Houston, Texas; Woodlands

June 6; Dallas, Texas; Starplex Amphitheater

June 8; Atlanta, Ga.; Lakewood Amphitheater

June 9; Charlotte, N.C.; Blockbuster Pavilion

June 11; Raleigh, N.C.; Alltell Amphitheater

June 12; Nashville, Tenn.; Starwood Amphitheater

June 14; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Mars Music Amphitheater

June 15; Orlando, Fla.; Orlando Arena

June 28; Bonner Springs, Kan.; Sandstone Amphitheater

June 29; St. Louis, Mo.; Riverport Amphitheater

July 1; Moline, Ill.; The Mark of the Quad

July 2; Milwaukee, Wis.; Summerfest

July 4; Louisville, Ky.; Freedom Hall

July 5; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Van Andel Arena

July 7; Indianapolis, Ind.; Deer Creek Amphitheater

July 8; Cleveland, Ohio; Blossom Music Center

July 10; Bristol, Va.; Nissan Pavilion

July 11; Camden, N.J.; E Center

July 13; Hartford, Conn.; The Meadows

July 14; Holmdel, N.J.; PNC Arts Center

July 16; Mansfield, Mass.; Tweeter Center

July 17; Hershey, Pa.; Hershey Stadium