The best funk, punk and metal extravaganza: A look at The Red Hot Chili Peppers history

Jack Vermuth, Special to the Chanticleer


I should probably preface this by saying that the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) are my favorite band of all time, so, I am a little biased.

The RHCP was conceived when a few friends in the band What is This? wanted to start a side project. These friends were Anthony Kiedis (vocals), Michael “Flea” Balzary (bass), Hillel Slovak (guitar) and Jack Irons (drums). They formed a band named Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem. They played one show under that name then became what we know them as today, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Jumping right into the band’s debut album, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, it is apparent that The RHCP was a force to be reckoned with. Notable tracks such as “Out in L.A,” “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” and “Police Helicopter” show a glimpse of the wild-child spirit that the band originally embodied. The self-titled album was a perfect harmony of discord. However, it wasn’t without drama and received no chart time. It did, however, sit at number 201, which left it only one album away from charting. Though the first album saw underground success, it also saw lineup changes and drama. Three different guitarists and two different drummers rotated in and out of the lineup.

The RHCP’s sophomore effort Freaky Styley was produced by funk music legend George Clinton who attempted to capture the bands primal energy. It was at this point an objective listener can tell that they really started to become comfortable as a band. Notable tracks such as “Catholic School Girls Rule”, “If You Want Me to Stay” and “Yertle the Turtle” really showcase the band’s growing instrumental prowess and Kiedis’ growing comfortability with his voice and lyrics. However, it is also readily apparent that drugs had taken a hold of the band and weren’t going to let go anytime soon.

The band’s third release The Uplift Mofo Party Plan produced some classic The RHCP songs such as “Fight Like a Brave” and “Me and My Friends.” Classics such as these would help make this album their first charting effort. This album was their very best funk, punk and metal extravaganza that would carry them to number 148 on the Billboard Charts. Having finally released a charting album, The RHCP had already taken their first steps on the path towards world domination, but this path would not be without pain and sacrifice. When considering who The RHCP are today, it is paramount that one looks at the history and music of these three works in Chili Peppers history.

This article is part one of a four part series about The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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