"I went to Utah to go to the Sundance Film Festival, and I came back with some kind of crazy [sinus infection]," says Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis. "Eighty pounds of snot in my head. So I'm just trying to kick it out before we go on tour."
Any other singer about to embark on a large-scale national tour would view such an ailment as nearly catastrophic. But Kiedis, speaking over the phone from a Hollywood rehearsal hall, seems utterly unperturbed. Although some of his composure may be due to the acupuncture treatment he underwent earlier in the afternoon, much of his cool comes from a willingness to accept things as they happen.
For instance, when drummer Chad Smith broke his wrist last fall, postponing the group's American tour, Kiedis could have worried that the delay would be a major setback for the band, crippling the commercial momentum of its new album, "One Hot Minute." Instead, he took the accident philosophically.
"Stuff happens for a reason," he says. "We're ready now, and it's good. In fact, this week at rehearsal, we did a little old-catalog searching and came up with a couple of old numbers that have sort of revitalized the intensity of our set."
As for the commercial aspects of the tour, Kiedis couldn't care less. "I do my best to ignore it," he says. "When the four of us get into a room and we start writing music, the furthest thing from our minds is worrying about anybody's expectations.
"We have very high standards for ourselves, and when we play music, it's not about what people are expecting, or anything to do with the industry. It's just about writing the best possible music that we can, and having a four-way connection, and just being true to ourselves and doing what we do."
Having that internal connection is particularly important to Kiedis. "We love each other, and we love playing music," he says. But the Chili Peppers' affection has led to some problems for the band. There was controversy last year when guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Flea were shown kissing on the cover of a guitar magazine, and there was further furor over intra-band bussing in the video to "Warped."
Kiedis, though, couldn't care less about the complaints. "To me, it's more important to express a feeling of love, and not be at all concerned about what people are going to think about you," he says. "Because the people that do relate to the expression of love are going to be so much more profoundly affected than the people who object to that sort of thing.
"Like when we kissed in the 'Warped' video. It was totally unplanned, and it wasn't a homosexual affair. But there were probably thousands of homophobic college students that rejected the Red Hot Chili Peppers because of that. But the smaller number of people that [saw that kiss] as a positive thing -- that means more to me than losing a bunch of close-minded fans."
Get your Red Hots
When: Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Where: USAir Arena
Call: (410) 481-7328 for tickets, (410) 792-7490 for information
Sundial: To hear excerpts from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' new release, "One Hot Minute," call Sundial at (410) 783-1800 and enter the four-digit code 6131. For other local Sundial numbers, see the Sundial directory on Page 2A.