Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I was really excited to hear that The Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the artists being inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2012. I've been a fan for over twenty years: I was turned on to them in about 1989 when they released Mother's Milk. I have gotten every album since on release day (if not earlier), and I picked up all of their earlier albums too. The band has been though so much -- death, addiction, near implosion -- but somehow their music makes me feel good to be alive.

In the next few weeks, I hope to have a guest blogger write a real life testimonial about the band.  But I thought I'd give a quick primer on the group.  I'm curious which members will be part of the induction. Obviously singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea.  I'm sure the guys from their most successful lineup, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante. And I kind of figure that original members -- the late guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons (who later joined Pearl Jam) - may get in. But I wonder if Dave Navarro, who was in the band for one album (1995's well titled One Hot Minute) will be included. Or their newest member, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who is on their new album, I'm With You. (The Chili Peppers are managed by the same company that manages Metallica -- and when Metallica were inducted, bassist Robert Trujilio was included, even though he had only played on one album, Death Magnetic). Anyway, if you're just looking to get into the band, here are my recommendations:

The Compilations: the band's career took off when they signed to Warner Brothers Records for their 1991 LP, Bloodsugarsexmagik. 2003's Greatest Hits covers the WB era, which is mainly the Kiedis/Flea/Smith/Frusciante lineup. It has their most well known material. But if you're interested in their early stuff, which they recorded for EMI, check out 1992's What Hits!?, which mostly features the Kiedis/Flea/Irons/Slovak lineup (as well as some tunes from Mother's Milk, which was Smith and Frusciante's first album with the band).   They have yet to release any kind of career spanning collection, nor do they have any box sets.

The Classic Album(s): 1991's Bloodsugarsexmagik. I'm going to do a "#20yrslater" post on that album soon, it is such an incredible record. I'm sure the guys in the band think it is their best, it's certainly the album that made them stars, and it also made people take them more seriously.  I think the aforementioned What Hits!? does a great job of covering the Slovak/Irons era, but the best single LP from that time is 1987's Uplift Mofo Party Plan. Another classic is the group's reunion album with Frusciante, 1999's Californication.

But honestly, I have a hard time not liking anything by them. I also love Freaky Styley, Mother's Milk, By The Way and even the album with Navarro, One Hot Minute.

No comments: