The funk rock train continues to roll: A continued look at Red Hot Chili Peppers history

Jack Vermuth, Special to the Chanticleer


Up next on this funk rock extravaganza would be the three RHCP albums following The Uplift Mofo Party Plan.

Here we are at the second part of a four part review, and up first would be an album that would shake RHCP to the core. Mother’s Milk was an album filled with lineup changes and sadness. While on tour for their previous album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, guitarist and original band member, Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose on June 25, 1988. His passing shook the band to their very foundation and Jack Irons would leave because he couldn’t handle the passing of his friend. Hillel is credited for one song on the album, that being “Fire” a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic. However it is also here that we see the most well-known RHCP lineup of Anthony Kiedis on vocals, Michael “Flea” Balzary on bass, John Frusciante on guitar, and Chad Smith on drums. Mother’s Milk would top out at number 52 on the billboard 200, and it would land the chili peppers their first certified gold album in 1990. Notable tracks include “Nobody Weird Like Me”, “Higher Ground(A cover of the Stevie Wonder hit), and “Pretty Little Ditty.

Next up is an all-time RHCP classic Blood Sugar Sex Magik. (BSSM). This album is the first time that we really see RHCP flex their creative muscles in such a monumental way. BSSM would go on to peak at number three on the Billboard 200, and is often cited as inspiration and “the lighting of the fuse” for the alternative rock explosion in the 90s. RHCP branched out away from the speed metal and punk influences (though not entirely), and it was a huge success. Frusciante’s influence is readily apparent on the album, and it’s quite obvious that RHCP finally found a footing and found their confidence enough to become the rock legends they are today with notable tracks such as “Suck My Kiss,” “Give it Away,” and “Under the Bridge” showing that this merry band was finally blossoming. However in true RHCP fashion the album would not come without interband controversy and dilemma

Soon after the tour for BSSM ended new guitarist John Frusciante’s mental health was in jeopardy. Frusciante couldn’t handle the popularity and new heights the band was reaching. Keep in mind that he was only 22 when the album was recorded, and he was being introduced to the world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. After his departure however, RHCP had to fill that hole. Bassist Flea called up his good friend Dave Navarro, who was the guitarist for 90’s alt-rock legends Jane’s Addiction, and he asked him to fill in. Together this new iteration of RHCP would go on to record and tour the hotly debated One Hot Minute album. The album sold over 8 million copies and produced great songs such as “Aeroplane,” “Warped,” and “My Friends.” The album really illuminates inner struggle within the band and emotional distress within Kiedis who had resumed his drug habits. Despite this, the album would certify multi-platinum and reach number four on the billboard charts.

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