Interview: Flea's relentless optimism and theory of interconnectedness

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Brian Oake and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers
Brian Oake and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers (Courtesy Flea)
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  • Brian Oake interviews Flea 12:05
  • Meditation room dispatches 00:42

It's Saturday, January 21 and Brian Oake is in a meditation room that smells of sage and burning candles and is kept at a balmy 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

When Flea arrived, the two talked about meditation, inspiration and, given the setting, the Minnesota Timberwolves' greatest practitioners of meditation.

As the conversation continued, Flea kept delivering nugget after nugget of wisdom:

On his on stage performance philosophy:
"Well if there's anything about our band that I put a lot of stock in, is having never ever phoned-in a gig. Or not come in and completely given everything I've got on that night, that gig. Often to the point of detriment of my own well-being. You know I care a lot about it; it's not just a job, it's a life mission."

On working with Danger Mouse, instead of Rick Rubin, on the latest album:

"For a variety of reasons it felt like time for a change, and really probably the biggest reason was just for a sense of moving forward and trying something new and just seeing what would happen under a different scenario. Danger Mouse - Brian [Burton] — he has a much different approach to recording than Rick and it made us think and work in a different way. And we didn't really know what that would be and what that would be like, and it was markedly different, like polar opposite of an approach, and it was good for us.

Beyond the working relationship, I care for Rick very much he's been a real emotional support for me and we're friends and we talk about our lives with each other and our girl problems."

On his non-profit music school:
"[Silverlake Conservatory of Music] is just a great, great spot, we've been going 15 years, it's a non-profit music school. We have 8 or 900 kids going through there a week. It's fantastic. We just opened our first building - we ran it out of a store front for the first fifteen years and we just opened a big building, we have a big auditorium, twelve private lesson rooms. We have a huge choir and an orchestra and a contemporary music group, adult's choir, children's choir, we teach all the orchestral instruments, it's such a beautiful vibe."

On moving forward in the current political climate:
"In light of the most recent political developments, it feels — this has always felt important to me — you know, nothing really changes. All we have is the love that we give to each other and how we can really reach out in our communities, and sometimes I feel like the best work that we can do in the world is to really help in our communities. It's like the big stroke things are important — obviously being in a band we've done all kinds of fundraisers throughout our career — but the stuff that I've done and we've done and been able to help out right in our community, when you really see the results, you feel this tangible love and you feel, like this light growing brighter, and when you're able to see that happen, it's really inspiring. It's been a great, great gift and I feel now, more than ever, it's all of our jobs to do everything we can to spread love in the world. And to really do what we can to care for our fellow humans.

It's funny, I always look at it as not so much getting away, but rising up, rising up, raising all of our levels of consciousness artistically, communally, you know, waving your freak flag high and getting into it, you know, reaching to be your higher self.

I always remain hopeful, I am a person with a lot of faith and a lot of belief in love. I'm lucky to be able to translate into what I do, into my rock and I give everything I've got and try to lift up people's hearts, but we all have that. Look man, you're a lawyer, you're a plumber, you're a garbage man, you're a mailman, whatever you're doing you can smile at people in the street and help them feel connected. I feel like all of the evil in the world stems from us not realizing that we are all one and that we're all connected. And when I say all one, I mean ALL one."

Listen to the full interview, (as well as a secret tape of Anthony Kiedis's vocal warm-ups from the meditation room) by using the audio player above.

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  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Red Hot Chili Peppers at Target Center on January 21, 2017 (Brian Oake)