David Bowie Turned Down Collaborations with Red Hot Chili Peppers + Coldplay
According to Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers asked Bowie to produce two of their albums (2002’s By the Way and 2006’s Stadium Arcadium), and he refused both times.
“Every record we ever made, we had the band discussion: ‘Who should we get to produce this record?’ ‘I don’t know, we have to try someone new,’” Kiedis recounted to Steve Jones on his Jonesy’s Jukebox radio show (via Alternative Nation). “‘Let’s get David Bowie!’ ‘Okay, let’s call him.’”
So in the beginning we would call him, and he would say no, respectfully. Then later we would write long emails explaining everything, and why it was time for us to really get our ships on, and he always respectfully declined. For two minutes I was heartbroken, and then I would hear Chad Smith play drums, and I’d be like, “We’re good, we could do something else.”
Kiedis recalls Bowie declining a role as producer two to three times in all. They also reached out to Bowie’s longtime collaborator Brian Eno, and he turned down the California rockers another eight times.
Fortunately for the Chili Peppers’ egos, they weren’t the only band passed over by Bowie. He also refused to appear on a Coldplay song. In a move solidifying Ziggy’s status as hero, Bowie told the English outfit, “It’s not a very good song, is it?”