red hot chili peppers

In 2021, luthier Carlos Lopez struck out on his own and unveiled Castedosa after leaving Fender’s Masterbuilt shop.

Photo courtesy of Castedosa Guitars

After almost two decades at Fender, where as a master builder his guitars reached the hands of the rock elite, Carlos Lopez split to start Castedosa, a family business built around a high-end baritone.

“I’m not gonna follow you, you’re gonna follow me.” As soon as I hear these words, I realize this is Carlos Lopez’s ethos. Throughout his career, the Souther California-based luthier has forged his own path, landing a job at Fender at a young age, soon moving into the custom shop, and rising to prominence as one of the company’s elite master builders. But in 2021, he took a big leap when he left that position—which many of his former colleagues hold for decades—and with his wife, Stephanie, started their family guitar company, Castedosa. Maybe bigger still: Their flagship model? An electric baritone built to command top dollar.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak (1962-1988) performing in Philadelphia in 1983. Photo by John Coffey

The first guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers helped pioneer a punk-funk-rock movement in ’80s L.A.

The 1980s were a time of bad hair, oppressive synth patches, preprogrammed hand claps, and the dawn of pop metal. But it wasn’t all bad—great music was made then, too. And the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a young band that spent most of the decade underground—playing clubs, on college radio, and out of the limelight—were one of the era’s most influential.

The early RHCP ate testosterone for breakfast. They were wild, aggressive, outlandish, bursting with energy, and often naked. Their live shows were legendary. Their music was an organic mixture of funk and punk and every young band wanted to be them—that “Chili-Peppers-punk-funk-thing” was ubiquitous and in demand. The local musicians classifieds were filled with bands looking for thumb-thumping, slap-happy bass players, rap-friendly frontmen, and guitarists well-versed in funk, but possessing punk attitude.

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Red Hot Chili Pepper Josh Klinghoffer and former Gnarls Barkley guitarist Clint Walsh talk about their chance meeting and the toys/tools used to create the gaze-prog fever dreams on their two new Dot Hacker albums, How’s Your Process (Work) and How’s Your Process (Play).

What do you do in your downtime when you play guitar in one of the most popular and influential bands of the last 30 years—a band that fills stadiums and plays the friggin’ Super Bowl? If you’re Josh Klinghoffer—pal of the Red Hot Chili Peppers since the late ’90s, touring member since 2007, and full-timer since 2009—you form another band so you can exorcise your prog-y shoegaze demons, of course.

Only in his Dot Hacker quartet, Klinghoffer doesn’t have to worry about comparisons to Strat-master John Frusciante. On 2012’s Inhibition and this year’s two Hacker LPs, How’s Your Process (Work) and How’s Your Process (Play), he’s not just the guitar guy: He takes center stage as bandleader, singer, guitarist, and synth player.

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