Why David Bowie turned down the chance to work with Red Hot Chili Peppers

Publish Date
Tuesday, 24 January 2023, 2:35PM

David Bowie was notoriously picky about the projects he decided to work on. Unless Bowie was fully invested in the idea, he’d decline the request, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers found out the hard way — on several occasions.

Every artist has a list of dream names they would love to collaborate with one day, and you’ll struggle to find anyone who wouldn’t have wanted to team up with the genius mind of David Bowie. During his career, he was inundated with offers to step into the studio with the likes of Dave Grohl and Coldplay, who all were forced to stare rejection in the face, but nobody got told no by Bowie more times than the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Bowie’s selective approach to collaboration is just a small reason he left behind such a celestial legacy when he passed away in 2016. While he made some occasional creative mistakes along the way, his hit rate was astonishingly high.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers wanted to delve deep into Bowie’s mind and have him produce a record for them. However, convincing the Starman would prove to be an impossible task. Following Bowie’s death, frontman Anthony Kiedis admitted: “Every record we ever made, we had the band discussion: ‘Who should we get to produce this record?’ ‘I don’t know, we have to try someone new. Let’s get David Bowie!”

He continued: “So in the beginning we would call him, and he would say no, respectfully. Then, later, we would write long e-mails explaining everything, and why it was time for us to really get our ships on—and he always respectfully declined… For two minutes I was heartbroken, and then I would hear Chad Smith play drums, and I’d be like, ‘We’re good, we can go do something else’.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers have made a habit out of covering Bowie throughout their career, and this version of ‘Starman’ is a fitting exclamation of their love for him. 

This article was first published on faroutmagazine.co.uk by Joe Taysom





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