This just in: The Red Hot Chili Peppers are dorks.
Granted, appearing on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is maybe not the most rock 'n' roll move to begin with. But they kicked off their installment of the Late Late Show franchise in fine old-school style with a head-banging rendition of "Can’t Stop."
And then bassist Flea launched into an unprompted, a cappella performance of "Food, Glorious Food," from the 1960 musical Oliver!. It’s such a deep-cut theater nerd song that even Corden — who, let’s all remember, just hosted the Tonys — didn’t know all the lyrics as he gamely tried to sing along.
Flea followed up the excerpts from Oliver! by forcing Anthony Kiedis to join him in singing "Heemy Leemy," a song the two wrote when they were 15 years old, high, and hiking through the mountains — which contains a whole lot more yodeling than you probably thought was part of the RHCP repertoire.
And then, after a quick sing-through of "Give It Away" ("What have you got that you’re going to give to my mum?" demanded a perturbed Corden), they pulled over so that Corden and Kiedis could wrestle on a stranger’s lawn. "I love a good man wrestle!" Corden declared, just before Kiedis pinned him. (Not shown: the homeowner marching out of the house in high dudgeon, demanding to know why minor celebrities were rolling around on the grass, locked in an embrace.)
You might think the segment couldn’t get weirder or nerdier after that, but following renditions of "Californication," "Easily," and "Under the Bridge," Flea, Kiedis, and Corden all decided to take off their shirts to sing "The Zephyr Song."
"As soon as I took my top off," Corden mused, "it just made me feel great."
"You got elevated," Kiedis said knowingly.
Elevation aside, the group put their shirts back on to conclude with "By the Way."
Throughout the whole segment, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who joined the band in 2009, watched the rest of the RHCP with barely concealed horror, his face frozen in a rictus of despair, and spoke only to declare that he would never take his shirt off.
All the while, Flea was happy as can be, singing along to the bass line of every song, throwing out show tunes, and ripping off his shirt with glee.
So if the RHCP are going to be dorks on national television, at least some of them will be having fun.