Festivals like Coachella are all about seeing the stars in action — whether they’re rocking out onstage or wandering below among the hoi polloi. Last night EW.com bumped into Anthony Kiedis, frontman for Red Hot Chili Peppers (Saturday night’s Coachella headliners), just as the newly reunited Jesus and Mary Chain’s set was beginning to wind down, and grabbed him for a quick chat.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What bands are you most excited about seeing this weekend?
ANTHONY KIEDIS: I want to see the Roots. I really want to see Willie Nelson. I heard him singing a song called “You Are My Flower,” by Maybelle Carter. I want to see Ratatat. I can’t pass up the opportunity to see Sonic Youth tonight — they’re just always good. And then I’m gonna peep Bjork.
What’s been the highlight of the first day so far for you?
I wanted to see the Arctic Monkeys, ’cause I never have and I heard their drummer was good. I showed up as they were ending, which is like a sinking feeling. And then, despite my lifelong bias against Jesus and Mary Chain — because I was on tour with them in Lollapalooza in 1992 or something, and I just didn’t get along with those guys back then. But I decided this morning, “I’m gonna open my mind, I’m gonna go see the Jesus and Mary Chain.” And they’re good!
As a true festival vet, what’s your take on the scene here tonight?
Well, I get excited about music. So my hope is that I come down here and somebody rocks my world.
Has that happened yet?
I’m still waiting. But I think Ratatat’s gonna get some in. They manage to bring a real emotional quality into electronic music that I feel in my heart.
Are the Chili Peppers working on any new music?
In our astral cells, we’re working on new music. But until our tour is finished, there’s not gonna be any real official [work] — because otherwise there would be pressure to write songs, but we couldn’t record them because we’re still touring. [Right now] it’s very raw and unofficial. We start all of our shows with these improvisational jams, and sometimes I’ll hear it and I’ll go, “There’s a song in there,” and I’ll take it with me and I know I’m gonna go work on that music. We always jam [in the studio], but this is different because this is live jamming, for an audience. Sometimes I hear some magical stuff.
Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with who you haven’t yet?
I wouldn’t turn down some opportunities. Right now I’m very excited about M.I.A. I’ve heard a song [from her upcoming second album] — just perfect and beautiful. It’s the real deal. And the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are another one of my favorite bands. If Karen O called me up and said, “Let’s write a song,” I would be inclined to say yes.