Dates: ? - circa July 2003
Players: Flea, John Frusciante, Chad Smith, Anthony Kiedis.
Additional Performers: ?
Recorded at: The Mansion, 2451 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Produced by: Rick Rubin
Engineered by: David Schiffman, Greg FidelmanReleased on: Yet to be released in-full. 'Fortune Faded' released November 3, 2003. 'Save the Population' released along with Greatest Hits on November 18, 2003.
Mixed by: Richard Dodd
The 'Greatest Hits' Sessions are perhaps the most elusive and mysterious of all Chili Peppers sessions (alongside maybe the Circle in the Noose sessions). When the band went to 'the Mansion' studio to record two songs for the Greatest Hits release in summer 2003, they ended up recording fifteen (or, as Chad has recently said - "like sixteen") instead.
There are some mass debates as to what was recorded during these sessions. Confirmed tracks include:
*It's unclear why these two tracks were released as extras for By the Way when they were actually recorded afterwards, however additional bonus tracks don't always make sense, see: 'Slowly Deeply' (released in 2002, recorded in 1998) and 'Millionaires Against Hunger' (released in 1989, recorded in 1985).
Aside from these few tracks, we have nothing but hearsay, guesses and rumours.
'Eskimo' and 'Bunker Hill' appeared on the 'Fortune Faded' single, but were recorded in 2001 for 'By The Way' and 1998 for 'Californication' respectively.
Both 'Eskimo' and 'Bunker Hill' were mixed and had additional overdubs recorded ahead of their release in 2003; this work may have been done during the GH sessions. For example, the guitar, faux-mandolin intro to 'Eskimo', which isn't present on the BTW rough mixes bootleg.
In August and September 2003, when the band went back on tour in support of 'By The Way', they started to perform what's known as the 'Don't You Ever Leave' jam after 'Throw Away Your Television' - new song written during GH sessions, old song from BTW sessions, or just a jam from soundcheck?
It has been said that songs from the 2004 world tour, such as 'Leverage of Space', 'Rolling Sly Stone', 'Mini-Epic/Kill For Your Country' (supposedly recorded for a Rick Rubin curated anti-war collection that was never released, also appeared on early tracklists for the Live in Hyde Park release) and even studio performances of 'Black Cross' and 'Brandy' were recorded, however this is just an educated guess. Because those songs were debuted live in 2004, there's the chance that they were first written / rehearsed in 2004 (after the GH sessions) during the rehearsals for their tour that year.
Then there's the elusive 'Desiree' - in February 2006 a fan on the stadium-arcadium.com forum spoke to Flea at a benefit for the Silverlake Conservatorium and posted this afterwards:
"I inquired whether they had recorded studio versions of Rolling Sly Stone, Leverage of Space, Mini-Epic, Brandy, etc. He seemed surprised I knew about their existence, and I told him I'd been at Hyde Park. He said they recorded them back during the Greatest Hits session, intending to put them on a new record. But, then Stadium Arcadium came around. As Flea was walking past, Anthony asked him what they were doing with the aforementioned songs. Flea mentioned there was another song called Desiree they'd recorded as well."
There is an unsubstantiated claim that 'Desiree' is actually a typo, and the song's name is really 'Desire' - which seems lyrically close to the Stadium Arcadium era track 'A Certain Someone'. All hearsay, however.
John Frusciante: Oh no, it's, I guess it's about halfway done. Flea had a lot of ideas on this new record, as far as like other instruments like he had like you know a clarinet and a flute come in or um or a saxophone, trumpet or...Yeah he's been practicing trumpet a lot, I'm sure there's gonna be a fair amount of that on the next record...
Virgin Radio, February 18, 2004
Chad Smith: “When we were doing our Greatest Hits record in 2003, Warner Brothers wanted a couple extra songs. So we went in to write a couple during the next break on the tour we were on at the time, and we recorded like sixteen songs. They weren't all great, but twelve of them were probably good. So we put the Greatest Hits album out and toured a little bit more, and then we were going to come back and write some more songs, and I was like, “Let’s just write another ten, take maybe seven out of that, add it to the others we’d previously done, and we’ll have a record.” I remember John Frusciante was like, “Hmmm… that was like nine months ago; I’m not really doing the arpeggiated thing anymore. I’m playing differently, I’m listening to different stuff, so I’m going to write different music. So there’s an album that we did that I don’t know if anyone’s ever going to hear.
Modern Drummer Magazine, October 2011
Chad Smith: There were some really good songs that we wrote, and we were just writing because they wanted us to put 2 new songs on the Greatest Hits Record... One of them is called 'Bicycle' and the other 'Fortune Faded'. 'Save the Population' was the other one, that's it! We went in and wrote 16 songs. We were in the middle of a tour and took a month off. Most of those songs didn't get finished because of time constraints, so we finished probably about 6 or 7 that Anthony actually sang on. I bet someday they'll come out in a box set kind of thing.
DRUMscene Magazine, Issue 71, 2013
Do you have any concrete info regarding the 'Greatest Hits Sessions'? Please get in touch -- rhcpsessionsarchive @ gmail.com