Funk rock kingpins The Red Hot Chili Peppers are celebrating the new year in style. According to a report published in The Telegraph, Anthony Keidis and company are playing a private, exclusive New Year's Eve gig on the Caribbean island of St Barts.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has reportedly paid the group somewhere around $5 million for the performance, scheduled to take place at his private estate. The annual party attracts a who's who of high-profile stars and dignitaries. The 45 year old Roman Abramovich owns the Chelsea Football Club, one of Britain's premiere soccer teams.
Lead singer Anthony Keidis has been vacationing with his young son on St. Barts for over a week. British tabloids have been photographing the pair frolicking on the island's pristine beaches.
"I recently moved to the seashore and having this little person in my arms walking through the sand dunes looking at the ocean was just what the doctor ordered,' he told the Daily Mirror. "It was a reawakening for me in terms being an elated human being."
The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently released their 10th album, "I'm With You", their first release since "Stadium Arcadium" in 2006. During an extended hiatus, the group parted ways with visionary guitarist John Frusciante for the second time. In his place, "I'm With You" features Josh Klinghoffer on guitar. Drummer Chad Smith was quick to point out the difference Frusciante's absence has made for the band.
"This is a new band. Same name, but it's a new band," Smith said.
"I'm With You" has garnered a great deal of critical praise in the weeks since its release, though sales have been somewhat disappointing. "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie", the first single from the album, peaked at #38 on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart. The album has sold 450,000 copies in the US so far.
When asked about the band's hiatus, Keidis was somewhat wistful about returning to the rigors of fame.''It's been a good few years. The greatest thing for me was becoming a dad and the really good fortune of not having to work or go on the road for the first two years of my son's life," he said.
For his part, bass player (and noted underwear enthusiast) Flea was optimistic about the band's new direction.
"Over time he really revealed himself to be just the best person we could've got. And John Frusciante's such a powerful musician and left such an imprint on our band and gave so much as a writer, as a player, a serious part of our band, that no one could ever replace John. No one's ever gonna step in and do what John did. But Josh came in and does what Josh does and does it in a beautiful way."