Red Hot Chili Peppers Band: A Strange Journey Through 4 Decades


Red Hot Chili Peppers Band: A Strange Journey Through 4 Decades

So weird, so unique – that’s how many music critics judged the Red Hot Chili Peppers when the band started in 1983. And after a five-year hiatus, this band has recently become a comeback. tour again, with a stop in Cologne (Germany) on July 5.

This Californian band was founded by childhood friends Anthony Kiedis and Michael “Flea” Balzary and has stood the test of time. Despite facing death, drug abuse, and nonstop confrontations with other bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have successfully weathered two centuries.

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In early April, the band released Unlimited Love – their 12th studio album, with the return of guitarist John Frusciante after nearly 15 years of separation from the band. The album also features producer Rick Rubin, who has produced Red Hot Chili Peppers albums since the early 1990s, including the legendary Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

Current members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from left: Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante and Flea

Current members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, from left: Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante and Flea

Unlimited Love debuted at number one in 10 countries, becoming the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first number one album on the US charts since Stadium Arcadium . NME wrote that Unlimited Love showed “how to create the melody, the chorus and the gentle melody”. Artist Frusciante said the band has recorded nearly 50 songs and has plans for a follow-up album.

As of June this year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers continue to tour the world and prove that nearly 40 years after their formation, the band can still draw crowds with a combination of punk, funk metal, and rap. metal, rap rock, nu metal and a bit of “magic”.

Speaking of stage shows, one of the band’s trademarks is their propensity to perform… shirtless, whether at the 2014 Super Bowl or the rock’n’ Hall of Fame induct. roll in 2012. Up until the early 2000s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers sometimes went shirtless when performing. This style started in 1983 at one of their first concerts. At the time, the band was playing at the famous Kit Kat Club strip club in Hollywood and decided that it was doing so to go along with the club scene. After that, many people came to the club not only for the music but also for their costumeless performances.

Flea and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California

The trouble with drug addiction

After debuting in 1983, gradually, Red Hot Chili Peppers made a name for themselves with extended gigs. But along with that, the drug abuse of the band members also became more. While bassist Flea was hooked on marijuana, singer Anthony Kiedis and guitarist Hillel Slovak enjoyed heavier drugs. Even in a 1999 interview for VH1- Behind The Music, Kiedis said he tried heroin for the first time when he was 14 years old.

In fact, the singer started smoking marijuana regularly when he was a teenager. Kiedis met the boys who would later become members of the band in the late 1970s at Fairfax High School – and in particular, had a deep friendship with Flea and Hillel Slovak.

Flea was born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to California with his mother and siblings in the late 1960s. His stepfather was a jazz musician and young Flea was often allowed to sit in performances. His friend, Hillel Slovak, a guitarist, taught Flea how to play bass when he was 16 years old. Before that, Slovak and his Jewish family had moved from Israel to Los Angeles. In addition, drummer Jack Irons was also a classmate of Flea, Kiedis and Hillel at Fairfax High School. They were the cores that made up the original Red Hot Chili Peppers lineup.

Flea and Anthony Kiedis in 1986

However, the members were not together for long due to 2 of them being addicted to drugs. Kiedis’ struggle with drug addiction is described in the song Fight like a Brave ( The Uplift Mofo Party Plan album ). It took many years with many visits to rehab, that Kiedis was “clean” and became a person who likes to live a healthy life, be a vegetarian and stay away from alcohol and drugs as he is now.

Meanwhile, guitarist Hillel Slovak succumbed to the war on drugs. On June 25, 1988, Slovak died at the age of 26 from a drug overdose. Grieving over the death of his friend, drummer Jack Irons left the band.

Success comes from chance

After Slovak’s departure, Flea and Kiedis still wanted to move on, so they hired new artists including 18-year-old guitarist John Frusciante – the band’s “crazy” fan who knew all of their songs – and Chad Smith on the drums.

With this lineup, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have enjoyed their greatest commercial success. The album Mother Milk was released in 1989. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released two years later and brought Red Hot Chili Peppers to international fame. Worth mentioning, the ballad Under the Bridge , which is not a typical Red Hot Chili Peppers song, peaked at #2 on the US Billboard pop chart .

It should be recalled that the ballad Under the Bridge only appeared on the album by accident. One day, producer Rick Rubin was looking through Kiedis’s notebook during rehearsal and came across a poem about the singer’s drug experience. “It’s not a Chili Peppers song,” he told him. But Rubin convinced Kiedis to turn the poem into a song, and it became the band’s biggest hit. This story was told by Kiedis in his autobiography Scar Tissue (2004).

In Scar Tissue, Kiedis further states that he, Flea, and Smith enjoyed the fame they had at the time, but Frusciante was uncomfortable. The guitarist eventually left the band in 1992 and he also struggled with drug problems in the years that followed. However, Frusciante returned to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1998 when things did not go well for his successor – Dave Navarro. In six years, the band recorded only one album featuring Navarro, One Hot Minute.

With Frusciante’s return, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released very successful albums, including Californication (1999), By the Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006). In 2009, Frusciante left again to pursue solo projects. Josh Klinghoffer replaced him on guitar and recorded the album I’m with You (2011) with the band.

10 years later, the band broke up with Klinghoffer and Frusciante was back again. In an interview with the music magazine Rolling Stone , Flea shared: “From an artistic perspective and being able to communicate with the same musical language, Frusciante always makes things easy. Being back in the same room together and letting things happen naturally is a wonderful thing.” And Kiedis said: “It’s great when you don’t feel like time has cast a shadow over you.”

Best selling band of all time

With over 100 million records sold worldwide, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the best-selling bands of all time. They are the most successful band in the history of alternative rock, with the record for most number-one singles (14), weeks at number one (85) and most songs (25) on the charts. Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

The band has won six Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, and the band’s legendary status is also immortalized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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