Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers, LA band playing the blend of punk, funk, trash and rock struggled for years to find commercial success, finally gaining it in early 1990s, despite frequent lineup changes, batteries, injuries, almost-death and death. Michael Balzary known as Flea, Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons were three pals who had musical ambitions and together formed band called ‘Anthym’. They managed to score themselves few gigs in local clubs. Their schoolmate from Hollywood Fairfax High School, Anthony Kiedis joined the band as a vocalist. Later Flea left Anthym to join LA punk band ‘Fear’. Slovak and Irons stayed and renamed the band to ‘What Is This?’
Anthony, Hillel, Flea and Jack were reunited again when they were asked to play for a friend at ‘Rhythm Lounge Club’. News about their performance spread rapidly and in six months they get EMI record deal for eight albums. Just before entering the studio Hillel and Jack decided to quit and work on their project ‘What Is This?’ Guys were replaced by Jack Sherman on guitar and Cliff Martinez on drums. Their eponymous debut was produced by Andy Gill, ‘Gang of Four’ guitarist. After the release of the album they weren’t satisfied with result. They wanted no more to work with Gill. They started to play more live shows than ever. Their performances were raucous and outrageous. Life on road was one big party. In January 1984, Sherman was fired for their old pal Hillel, who’s project ‘What Is This?’ didn’t succeed in stormy musical seas. These were the times when group started to experiment with drugs. Anthony and Hillel became addicted to heroin. Hillel denied that he had a problem, Anthony didn’t. The Master of Funk, George Clinton had been asked to produce their second album ‘Freaky Styley’. They recorded 13 tracks in Clinton’s studios near Detroit. The album brought more recognition. Only Hollywood received merge airplay even though band stopped at musical festival in Germany and England. After they returned from overseas Cliff Martinez was dumped for their original drummer Jack Irons. The original lineup was once more. During a grueling tour in support of ‘Freaky Styley’ the drug habits of Anthony and Hillel escalated. With the next release ‘Uplift Mofo Party Plan’ their commercial fortunes took turn for better. Album produced by Michael Beinhorn in 1987 had outsold the previous two albums. They met criticism from various parent groups for their often colorful lyrics.
The tour, which followed, had the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing in much larger venues with bands as The Beastie Boys and Faith No More playing support. This album peaked at No. 143 of ‘Billboard Top 150 Album’. They decided to record new album. But before they had to do something with Hillel. His heroin addiction was worsening. A decision was made to left Hillel go after show in Washington. But their support band guitarist Angelo Moore talked Anthony out of it. He reasoned that Hillel needs their friends more than ever. ‘Abbey Road EP’ was released in 1988. Album’s cover included controversial photo of group walking across the same pedestrian crossing, which made Beatles famous, naked with strategically placed sport socks. After four months after release of ‘Abbey Road EP’ on Friday, July 24 Hillel died on drug overdose. His death shook the band to its roots. This seemed as an end of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Anthony entered rehab. A long-time friend of Hillel, Jack Irons quit the band to grieve (later he became a drummer of Pearl Jam). But Anthony and Flea decided to carry on. Flea’s wife gave birth to a little girl called Clara. Anthony and Flea started to rebuilt the band. They found replacements. Hillel was replaced by one of the Chili’s biggest fan – John Frusciante. After the series of auditions Chad Smith was selected to fill Iron’s shoes. During the tour of 1989 Anthony and Flea was charged with sexual battery and of indecent exposure. Their new album ‘Mother’s Milk’ was released in September 1989. Album went gold in few months. The album contained eleven original tracks and covers of Steve Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’ and Hendrix’s ‘Fire’ on which Hillel featured. The first single ‘Knock Me Down’ was released as a tribute to Hillel. The tour that followed was immense. Stricter routine was kept - no drugs were allowed during the tour. Guys did a huge show in Amsterdam and World media started taking notice. Anthony’s frenzied onstage displays often let him battered. The smash hit ‘Pretty Woman’ included song ‘Show Me Your Soul’ on its soundtrack and the song became a UK Top 30 hit. After commercial success of ‘Mother’s Milk’ they decide to switch the recording company. They switched to Warner Brothers. The band chose ‘Def Jam’ main man Rick Rubin to produce their follow-up album. ‘BloodSugarSexMagik’ was released in 1991. All tracks for this album were recorded live in house, which seemly was haunted. ‘BloodSugarSexMagik’ was colossal smash. It went platinum in few weeks and it stayed in ‘US Billboard’s Chart’ for a year. The band appeared on every major magazine cover including ‘Rolling Stone’.
The world tour was total sellout. Album was riding the success of the radio and MTV hits as ‘Breaking The Girl’, ‘Under The Bridge’ song in which Anthony recalls days of his drug addiction and ‘Give It Away’ which received massive acclamations, earning for the best breakthrough video on MTV Awards. During the Asian leg of the tour on May 7, 1992 John, who had problems with heroin announced that he is quitting the band. It was shortly before the Chili Peppers were headlining Lollapalooza. Several years later he begin solo career. For the next two years, the band relied on revolving door of guitarists – including Arik Marshal, Zender Schloss and Jesse Tobias – to see them through a series of tours. Groups with Arik Marshal also appeared in episode of ‘The Simpson’s’, where they helped to re-launch Krusty the Clown career. Meanwhile, Frusciante retreated home to LA and embarked on his own descent into heroin addiction. Chili Peppers started to work with ex-Jane’s Addiction guitarist, Dave Navarro. They showed their new lineup at Woodstock ’94 festival, where they appeared with light bulbs on their heads. Their new album ‘One Hot Minute’ released in 1995 brought them back into the spotlight. Song including hit singles as ‘Aeroplane’ or ‘My Friends’. Dave seemed to fit well in the pack of pals. Chili Peppers went on tour concerning 64 shows in 21 countries. They recorded also song ‘I Found Out’ for John Lennon tribute album and No. 1 hit cover of Ohio Player’s ‘Love Rollercoaster’. They also worked on their side projects – Dave on his band ‘Spread’, Flea appeared in movie ‘Big Lebowski’ and did some voice work for kid’s cartoons for Nickelodeon. Chad becomes a dad in March of 1997. He has a girl named Manon. Band also struggled in two motorcycle accidents. They enjoys awards for Best Funk Bass Guitarist, Drummer etc., ‘Under The Bridge’ video is vote #5 in MTV’s Top 500 videos of all the time. On April 1998 Dave announces his departure. The space of the guitarist number seven reassigned to John Frusciante, who meanwhile entered the rehab and got rid of heroin addiction. The ‘Awesome Foursome’ started to work on their new album called ‘Californication’ released in 1999. ‘Scar Tissue’ is the first single and it amazingly enters the Top 10 before its official release date. ‘Californication’ quickly turns platinum and they turn their respective sights on follow-up performances. Chili Peppers also appeared on Woodstock ’99, Leeds and Reading Festivals.
‘Californication’ stays in Top 10 and ‘Scar Tissue’, ‘Around The World’ and ‘Otherside’ are kept played by radio stations around the world. The Chili Peppers definitely seem to be enjoying the opportunity to play for their fans again and the fans are positively enjoying the Red Hot Chili Peppers – Around The World.
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