03/1994 Smash Hits

Red Hot Chili Peppers Exposed

By Pete Stanton

They describe themselves as “different”!!!

Most groups describe themselves as a “subtle mix of rock and rap”, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers say: “we’re tighter than a haemorrhoid on a mosquito’s ass” says Anthony Kiedis (singer and lyricist). “Microphones, amplifiers, drum-sticks and loads of sweaty exertion” is how Michael Balzary (bassist, known as Flea) would describe them to his mum.

They had a freaky meeting!!!

No one would talk to them. They acted like a pair of nutters. So what else could Flea and Kiedis do except form a group? Flea: He was a freak and  I was a freak so we decided to freak together.”

They hang socks from their willies!!!

Socks? Marks and Spenser do a good line. Your Gran buys you them at Christmas instead of a Stussy cap. The red Hot Chili Peppers hang them on their willies. All the time. They do it in photos, on stage and at their Gran’s house on Christmas Day. There are two theories as to why this happened: 1) It was to scare off unwanted advances of an amorous young lady, or 2) it was cold out.

One of them once joined a dangerous gang!!!

It wasn’t enough being in a rock ‘n’ roll group, being freaks and wearing socks on their willies. Oh no. ‘Cause Kiedis wanted to go off and join a Mafia-style crowd didn’t he? The gang used to hang out under a bridge in downtown LA. It was such an exclusive gang that he had to pretend to be marrying another member’s sister. He wrote a song about it, called, strangely enough, Under The Bridge.

They dice with death!!!

Living the Chili Peppers life has its costs… original guitarist and best friend of Kiedis Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose on June 27, 1988. And in May 1992 John Frusciante quit the band complaining of stress and fatigue. “I can’t give what it takes to be in this band any more.” Oh yeah, socks were too big were they, eh?

Anthony claims he slept with his dad’s girlfriends!!!

It’s Friday night. The entire world’s dads have their tea, watch Fantasy Football and fall asleep. Except Kiedis’s dad. “He was your basic, subversive, underground, hooligan, playboy, womaniser type of character and he definitely had a strong influence on me. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world to have all these beautiful women come into my house and him not be uptight about me hanging out with them and having sex with them. Rightio.

They’re well known by the police!!!

In Virginia Kiedis was convicted of indecent exposure and sexual battery after a 1989 show. That’ll teach him not to forget his socks. And in Daytona Beach, Florida, Flea and Chad Smith were found guilty of “battery and disorderly conduct and solicitation to commit an unnatural and lascivious act” following an incident with a young woman during an MTV performance in 1990.

Their youth was as manic as their life now!!!

It’s Thursday night. The entire world has its tea, watches EastEnders and falls asleep. Except the Chilis. “Me, Hillel and Anthony used to live together in this house,” says Flea. “People would come over, and we’d hang out, drink beer, put socks on our dicks and run around.”

Their first band played no music!!!

Essential items when forming a band: 1) Some musical instruments, 2) some songs to play, 3) a bandana, 4) a Port Vale season ticker, 5) the ability to wave your arms in the air. The Red Hot Chili Peppers couldn’t be bothered with any of that rubbish for their first six months- they just sat around impersonating their favourite film characters.

They’re knuckleheads!!!

They’re not pop. They’re not rap. They’re not rock. What are they then? Opera? “We’re complete post-rock knuckleheads,” says Kiedis, “who love what we do.” Well, that’s settled then.

Not more socks!!!

Have they no shame? Guess what happened when the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed in a Hollywood strip club once? A nice suit? Nope. Shirt and trousers? Uh-huh. Trousers? Not even them. Underpants? Aah, no. Not the socks again? Yup. Kiedis: “Since it was a strip club, we did our encore with the socks. The manager came running out after us screaming ‘No pubes! I told you guys no pubes!’”

Even their nicknames are rude!!!

Anthony Kiedis is nicknamed “Antwan the swan” after the apparently swan-necked shape of his, ahem, fishing tackle. Must be difficult getting socks for that.

There could be a Red Hot Chili Peppers movie too!!!

So let’s get this right. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are on the radio, on the telly, at your local strip club, at the University and the Mark & Spencer sock counter. And now Flea and Kiedis are writing a movie script, a “psychedelic comedy” based on their experiences. Several studios have expressed an interest. Be afraid, be very afraid.

They plan to travel in style!!

The days of the boring old tour bus are at an end! “When we become big rock stars,” says Flea, “we’re gonna fly everywhere in a penis-shaped jet!” Should cheer up the plane spotters anyway.

They don’t like being called Heavy Metal!!!

Flea: “I DON’T LIKE THE WORD METAL! Like, heavy metal music- Def Leppard, Van Halen- I’ve never liked that music AT ALL! The stuff I was into was punk rock which is about playing every note as if it’s the last note you’re ever gonna play.”

They don’t need water in their swimming pool!!!

Kiedis once broke his back when he jumped from a roof into an empty swimming pool. Clever.

They hang around with cool people!!!

Kiedis hung around with Keanu during the filming of Point Break and Flea worked with River Phoenix on My Own Private Idaho. Flea was in Johnny Depp’s band at the Viper Room the night River died.

Flea has plans to become a teacher!!!

Wouldn’t it be great if the Chili Peppers took your music class? Flea is very keen. “I could open Flea school: Stick your tongue out kids, jump! Now sweat really hard and scream!”

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