By the turn of the millennium, Red Hot Chili Peppers had established themselves among rock’s leading protagonists. Their funk-metal sound of the 80s and 90s was largely discarded in favour of the laidback summery vibes of 1999’s Californication and its 2002 follow-up, By The Way. The latter cycle culminated in three massive sold-out shows at London’s Hyde Park, which at the time stood as the highest-grossing concerts ever to be held at a single venue. With those two albums having racked up 25 million sales between them, the Chili Peppers had reached U2 levels of mega-stardom. As if acknowledging their status and their increased ambition, their next album would be a career-encapsulating double whose title reflected both: Stadium Arcadium.
Listen to ‘Stadium Arcadium’ here.
“Everyone felt more comfortable than ever”
As the Los Angeles rockers entered the next phase of their phenomenal career, they were getting along better than ever. “Everybody was in good moods,” Frontman Anthony Kiedis told VH1 in 2006. “There was very little tension, very little anxiety, very little weirdness going on, and every day we showed up to this funky room in the Valley where we write music, and everyone felt more comfortable than ever bringing in their ideas.” And, it seems, nothing was off the table.
Originally conceived as a triple-album release, the Chili Peppers pared down 38 fully formed and recorded tracks to a more digestible 28, settling in at Rick Rubin’s “The Mansion” for the process. Owned by their long-time producer, the Laurel Canyon house was where they had laid down their breakthrough album Blood Sugar Sex Magic in 1991.