"I don't do that": If you bump into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, don't expect a handshake from guitarist John Frusciante

Red Hot Chili Peppers
(Image credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global)

Everyone has their limits and personal boundaries. Famously, Meat Loaf once declared that he would do anything for love, but he wouldn't do that. Fair enough. And for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band not known for their lack of... adventure, the red line not to be crossed is shaking hands, apparently. 

Or at least, that was the take-away implied when The Black Keys met with podcast host Joe Rogan earlier this month, and shared an anecdote about their encounter with Chili Peppers duo Flea and John Frusiciante in Madrid last summer. 

By coincidence, vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney found themselves seated beside the two Californian musicians in a Madrid restaurant in early July - The Black Keys being booked to play the Mad Cool Festival on July 7, while the Red Hot Chili Peppers were scheduled to headline the event on July 8 - and Carney decided that he would introduce himself to his fellow Americans. A decision which wasn't met with the reaction he had hoped, its fair to say.

"They were sitting there having the most nerdy conversation," he recalled. "Like, 'If you augment the 7th...' [We were] kind of like, 'Whoa, they are just such nerds!'."

"I was like, I'm going to go say what's up," Carney told Rogan. "I went over and I shook Flea's hand, and then I went to go shake John Frusciante's hand and he's like, 'I don't do that.' And then Flea was like, 'Excuse me, I'm going to go wash my hands.' And they're like, 'We're germaphobes'."

Somewhat ungraciously, Carney rounded off his anecdote by adding, "Aren't these guys legendary ex-heroin addicts and shit?"

Rogan appears to have had his mind blown by the idea that a world famous musician might not wish to touch the hands of a complete stranger while eating in a restaurant in a foreign city in the wake of a global pandemic, but then Joe Rogan has some beliefs of his own which don't necessarily chime with logic or science. But that's a whole other conversation...

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.