Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea: I thought snowboard wipeout had ended my career

Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Flea shows off the lump in his elbow

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has revealed that he thought he’d ended his playing career when a snowboarding accident left him with an arm broken in five places.

He had to undergo major surgery in February last year, and spent more than six months recuperating – and he admits he felt like he’d let his bandmates down because they had to postpone work on 11th album The Getaway.

Flea tells Rolling Stone: “I was at this fancy ski resort in Montana. I was snowboarding with Anthony Kiedis and we ran into Lars Ulrich.

“At one point we stopped to have a cup of tea. I said to Lars, ‘We should take a picture of one of us lying in the snow, all misshapen and stuff, and trick our management company that one of us broke our leg.’

“We were laughing about it – and literally 40 seconds later I just wiped out so bad.”

Flea says he was travelling at over 50mph when he lost control and landed on his arm. But despite being offered the use of a medical sled to get off the mountain, he insisted on snowboarding to the bottom.

“My arm started swelling up right away. I thought I just really tweaked it. But when I got down the mountain I was like, ‘Okay, I really broke it.’ That’s when they put me in the ambulance.

“A girl looked at my X-rays and said, ‘There are big pieces of bone shorn off. You broke it in five places. There’s nerve damage.”

He adds: “I was so bummed. I felt like I’d let everybody down, because we couldn’t record, but we’d written all our stuff. I was just really, really sad.”

Flea retains a metal screw in his left elbow. “I had a long rehab process, I got better, and now I’m totally back on top,” he reports. “I was worried I’d never play bass again – but luckily I’m rockin’.”

Frontman Kiedis recently told how the band scrapped the songs they’d written for The Getaway in favour of working in a new way with producer Danger Mouse. The band commence a European tour at the end of June, and return to the UK for the Reading and Leeds festivals in August. The album is on sale now.

Red Hot Chili Peppers tour dates 2016

Jun 30-Jul 03: Roskilde Festival, Netherlands
Jun 30-Jul 03: Gdynia Open’er Festival, Poland
Jul 02: Werchter Rock Werchter, Belgium
Jul 09: Moscow Park Live Festival, Russia
Jul 10: Kinross T In The Park, UK
Jul 15: Ottawa Ontario At Bluesfest, ON
Jul 16: Quebec Festival d’ete de Quebec, QC
Jul 22: Jisan valley Rock Festival, South Korea
Jul 29: Osheaga Quebec At Osheaga, QC
Aug 25: Belfast Tennent’s Vital, UK
Aug 26: Reading Festival, UK
Aug 27: Leeds Festival, UK

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.