New single started life as an hour-long jam session, Anthony Kiedis tells MTV News.
By James Montgomery
About a month before the premiere of "Maggie," MTV News sat down with RHCP's Anthony Kiedis and Josh Klinghoffer in Venice, California, to talk about the band's new album (and the lengthy break that preceded it). We'll be rolling out more of the interview as we get closer to I'm With You's August 30 release date, but we've already given fans a taste of what they can expect, when Kiedis and Klinghoffer explained the genesis of the album's title.
And now, with "Maggie" officially out of the box, we figured it would be time to pull the curtain back on a second portion of the chat, in which Kiedis revealed the origins of the song itself — origins that began with an hour-long jam session and exactly one classic bass line.
"When I first heard ['Maggie'], I didn't know it would be a single. [But] I knew that I loved the jam," Kiedis explained. "My first recording of that, I don't think it had many vocals on it. It was kind of mostly instrumental, about an hour long. Flea brought it in as a very specific exercise to write a classic bass line. He woke up, had his tea, sat down: 'I'm going to write a classic bass line. You can't stop me.' Played his bass line until he felt it was cooked into a classic, brought it to us and said, 'This is Classic Number One.' On a good day, you just know if there's music to wrestle with and get with, and it was one of those moments."
So Kiedis sat down and listened to the track and was immediately struck by the propulsive groove Flea had laid down. And things just took off from there, with Klinghoffer adding a winging guitar line and drummer Chad Smith providing a loose, limber backbeat. But even if things were taking shape, Kiedis said he never thought "Maggie" would be anything more than a B-side. If that.
"I took it home and it felt so fun to listen to at length that I literally left it on in my driveway, opened the door and danced with the tree next to me for quite a while," he said. "I had no idea that it would even be a song, I just thought, 'Oh, this is a great dance track. Let's put it on as a B-side, [an] hour long.' And then, as fate would have it, people heard it, and they were like, 'Oh, that's your best thing right there. That's your best thing.' "
And so, eventually, "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" made the leap from jam to official first single. And now that it's out there, Kiedis knows he's going asked plenty of times just who this Maggie is. Unfortunately, he's not about to reveal his inspirations.
"It's just a collection of memories and people along the way that had maybe left my consciousness until I heard that music, and then they kind of came dancing back into my consciousness, and out the old pen onto the paper," he smiled. "Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Although there is a Maggie, I realized later. There's two Maggies, actually."
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