Red Hot Chili Peppers

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S

chool buddies Anthony Kiedis (a.k.a. Antwan The Swan; vocals), Hillel Slovak (guitar), Michael 'Flea' Balzary (who would later be featured in the films My Own Private Idaho and Back To The Future III) and Jack Irons (drums) performed for four years as the garage act Anthem and broke up briefly, with Irons and Slovak joining What Is This?, while Flea went to punk act Fear.

Things took a big turn in 1983, however; when they reformed to sign a deal with 'EMI' in the buff (yes naked) as a public stunt. This fetish for exhibitionism would run through much of their early career (with tight fitting, skimpy, shiny clothes to accompany them for the rest of it)! Irons and Slovak were still under contract to their old outfit to complete a record so until it expired, Jack Sherman (a.k.a. Captain Beefhart) took over on drums and Cliff Martinez (ex-Weirdos/ex-Teenage Jesus & The Jerks) took over on guitar for the 1984 self-titled debut.The album was a promising start that introduced their Funk/Metal/Punk hybrid style to the world, and before long the original line-up had returned in full force.

Taking their cue from '70's Funk types Sly Stone, James Brown, The Meters, and mixing it with some California craziness, they would create crazy tongue-in-cheek music with even sillier titles and plots. The follow-up, Freaky Styley (1985), sounded more collected, most impressive being the title track. American Ghost Dance, Sex Rap and Catholic Girls Rule were just some of their own-featured newbees that sat alongside rehashes of The Meter's Hollywood (Africa) and Sly Stone's If You Want Me To Stay.

Until this point they were exclusively an American phenomenon, but their reputation was drifting across the Atlantic to England where Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1988) introduced them to the UK audience. This record pushed them to the front of the line in the Funk/Metal/Punk merge explosion that was threatening at the time. As a show of support for their newfound fortunes in England, the Abbey Road EP (1988) was released; the cover, a spoof of the Beatles album of the same name, featuring the members of Chili Peppers donning nothing at all with the exception of a few strategically placed socks. The party was cut short rather quickly, however, by the death of Slovak in June; the victim of a heroin overdose. Keidis was also a heroin addict leaving Irons unhappy with the grim future this, too, proposed and left to later form Eleven. Over time, replacements were found in John Frusciante (guitar) and Chad Smith (drums).

Mother's Milk (1989) contained tracks like Knock Me Down and Taste The Pain, a plea for sanity in drug hell, obviously motivated by their recent experience, and the latter giving them their first MTV exposure. MTV brownie points were also scored with their cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground. Less than a year later, however, this party was also brought to a sudden halt when Keidis was given a 60-day sentence for sexual battery and indecent exposure to a female student (the following year Flea and Smith were also charged for similar crimes). Their red hot horny sex drives aside, they were also a hot property in the entertainment world when their 1991 Rick Rubin produced Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released, their first for 'Warner'. It made US Top 3, and finally showed them at their full potential. The Funk/Rock Give It Away made it to UK 9, and the ballad Under The Bridge made it to US number 1. They were secured a spot on the 1992 Lollapalooza outdoor festival which benefited, surely, by their antic filled stage show; the album itself sold millions. Another big seller was the follow-up, One Hot Minute(1995).

Frusciante was then replaced with Erik Marshall who, in turn, would be sacked one year later for Dave Novarro (ex-Jane's Addiction) adding a new dimension to their sound. One Hot Minute was now starting to pay off, however, when Aeroplane and Walkabout also became hits as singles. A further 7 charting was archived in 1997 with a cover single of The Ohio Player's Loverollercoaster.

As the tastes for their style went out of fashion and their contemporaries folded or changed, the Chili Peppers remained a strong force, and despite claims of their dissolution they returned in 1999 to release another hit album in the form of Californication, its title track being the point of interest. Under the membership of Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante and "Flea" they made an encore with By The Way (2004), and Stadium Arcadium (2005).

Following the last leg of the Stadium Arcadium tour, the band took an extended break. Kiedis attributed this to the band being worn out from their years of nonstop work since Californication (1999). The only recording they made was in 2008 with George Clinton on his latest album George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love. Accompanied by Kim Manning, they recorded a cover version of Shirley and Lee's Let the Good Times Roll; it was the last song they recorded with Frusciante.

Kiedis, who had recently become a father, left to spend time with his family, while Flea studied music theory at the University of Southern California during the band down time thereafter. During this time, Flea also joined Thom Yorke of Radiohead in the supergroup Atoms for Peace. Frusciante continued his solo career and released his solo album and Chad Smith worked with Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, and Michael Anthony in the supergroup Chickenfoot, as well as on his solo project, Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats.

In October 2009 the band officially ended their hiatus, joined now by Josh Klinghoffer to replace Frusciante. I'm with You (2011) topped the charts in 18 countries, but failed to provide the band with their second straight number one debut in the US The album's first single, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie, released a month earlier, went on to become the band's twelfth number one hit single, topping their own record.

The band released 2011 Live EP (2012), a free five live song MP3 download through their website. The five songs were selected by Chad Smith from the band's 2011 European live albums, which were also released for purchase through their website as well.

On April 14, 2012, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Chili Peppers joined Bruno Mars as performers at the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show on February 2, 2014.

The Getaway (2016) made its debut at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart when released.


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Nation USA
City Hollywood, California
Promotional Address Unknown
Genre Funk Metal
Reformations 1
Web Unknown
Active Years 1983-
E-Mail Unknown
RRCA File Code REV00169
Diskery ID 333


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Other artists mentioned in this article:

Jane's Addiction The Beatles





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