In addition to the main article containing interviews with Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Chad, there are a number of mentions of the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the magazine; RHCP are featured on a Readers Music Poll for 1993 numerous times and Flea gives his top 10 in the accompanying artists’ 1993 music poll.
Readers Music Poll for 1993
Best male singer (Anthony Kiedis)
Best songwriter (Anthony Kiedis)
Best Drummer (Chad Smith)
Best Artist/Band of the year
Best album (for Blood Sugar Sex magik)
Best Single (Under The Bridge)
Best International Tour
Best Album Cover (BSSM)
Best bass player (Flea)
Main article: BLOW And GO
PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE – YOU’VE BEEN warned! Now, read on. ¶ Warn against it, and folks will try it; attach a sticker and people will buy it; slap an “X” on it, and they will come. The Red Hot Chili Peppers collectively pledge that they will never be censored, and that vow will keep rock & roll alive despite what any morbid-minded rock critic might say. The next music writer to declare rock & roll dead better get his ass real fast and listen to Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It melds love songs, punk rock, voodoo, and total sexuality with the Chili Peppers trademark through-line of power-funk. ¶ Pepper’s Flea offers that “90 per cent of rock music being played today is boring, sterile, re-hashed shit,” but goes on to advise that “if someone cares to look, they’ll find the bands that are making art and music which mean some-thing to them.” LA Times critic Robert Hilburn dissed bands such as the Chili Peppers and others associated with Lollapalooza for not displaying “any sense of community on stage’. Flea states flatly: “Robert Hilburn doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” and goes on to add that the Lollapalooza bands “are on the cutting edge of rock & roll”. He defines rock & roll as “not giving a fuck about what anyone thinks and doing what you want — that’s what makes it so fresh and beautiful. Those bands are the ones who are summing up what youth are feeling today.”
Anthony Kiedis recalls a definite example of camaraderie, when “Ice T went out with Jane’s Addiction, and, being caught up in the beautiful energy they were creating on stage, did a mad dive into the audience”.
There’s a union at work here. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, like other Lollapalooza stalwarts such as Perry Farrell and Henry Rollins, see it all as art; performance with attitude, its roots burrowing deep into the heart of punk rock.
The point here is that you’ve got to be in it (either on stage or in the mosh pit) to be a part of the community which does exist — not standing on the sidelines segregating and criticising it.
Where not to look for rock fellowship in LA is in and around the Sunset Strip nightclubs, which is exactly where Spin magazine went hunting for “the soul of rock & roll” for one of its cover stories. Stalking the Strip for rock’s soul is like touring Times Square for the Apple’s core — you miss the heart and find only the seeds.
Had they hazarded the legendary haunted Lauren Canyon Mansion where the Peppers recorded Blood Sugar Sex Magik, they might have made contact — at least with some disembodied soul. On my own quest, I snuck up to the mansion and peered in a window to a blue-lit room where, legend has it, the Beatles first took LSD, and where Jimi Hendrix may have slept. The Chili Peppers had left, taking all their equipment, offering only four lonely mike stands to the resident spirits. I was alone. If the Beatles didn’t hallucinate there, I certainly did, as a nostalgic vision materialised from behind those empty mikes. Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Hillel Slovak and Jack Ivan appeared, in full cocksocked glory, rockin’ in 1984! Could have been the Rhythm Lounge, might have been the Imperial Gardens. It hardly seemed to matter, as long as it wasn’t some yuppified vomitorium. Drugs hadn’t turned on me yet, in fact, they were working fine and nothing could be finer than being there/then/now rockin’ with my cock out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers!
With original guitarist Hillel dead, and drummer Jack Iron alive but dearly departed, one might have expected radical changes with the band, but the Chills simply rave on in magical mode — and even this hasn’t changed since guitarist John Frusciante quit on the eve of their Tokyo show in Japan, just month before Lollapalooza II was due to tour coast-to-coast in the States.
Ask anyone who knows them: John Sidell — restaurateur and member of the band Fuge Factory — is impressed in that “the Chili Peppers have evolved from the ultimate punk-funk party band to a level of maturity and seriousness on top, of that”.
Bob Forrest, of Thelonius Monster says, “They’re my friends, and I love them, but I never realised how great they were until I heard every other band trying to rip them off,” and the Too Free Stooges’s Dick Rude labels them “Four Super Balls on Funk”.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers haven’t sweetened — they’ve gotten hotter.
In 1984, the Peppers broke out with their self-titled album exhibiting a humanity which holds today. From the song “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes’, one might sense a life-affirming passion through a coyote’s eyes, but that all depends on whose eyes you’re looking through. Through lyricist/lead singer Anthony Kiedis’s big brown ones we see a song about “being a wild man on the loose, living life in a very free fashion”. The eyes have it. They say, “Fuck mankind — let the animals be as they will. I like animals better than I like people.”
In 1985 we were treated to the George Clinton-produced Freaky Styley, complete with choice cuts: Sly Stone cover, “If You Want Me to Stay”, and a song not likely to be quirk at a church social dance — “Catholic School Girls Rule”. “School Girls” is not so much a mockery of the religion as it is an attack on suppression in the Catholic church. Kiedis imparts that the upside of such suppression is that “it makes girls want to experience the beauties of life more than ever. They end up going absolutely sexually berserk.”
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan was 1987’s bent offering sending home-grown Hollywood to the heartland with the cuts “Me And My Friends” and “Organic Anti-Beat Box Band’.
“I love Hollywood because I love life, and this is where I spent my life,” says Kiedis. The Uplift album finishes sensually with “Love Trilogy”, a tune embracing the total sexual experience.
1988 saw the most hilarious album cover ever on The Abbey Road EP giving record-store rackjobbers a chuckle trying to place the cock-sock, a trademark which, according to Kiedis, is “retired in Florida, where they’re thinking of doing a sort of Disney/World/Universal Studios style monument to it.”
In 1989, the “new Chili Peppers” gave us the critically hailed Mother’s Milk album, taking us to Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”, deifying Magic Johnson, and letting us relive obsession school-boy fantasies behind “Sexy Mexican Maid. Mother’s Milk, the last Peppers album for EMI Records, launched the boys as a band to be reckoned with. Blood Sugar Sex Magik sent them over the top.
ANTHONY KIEDIS LIVES IN SHOELESS, SHIRTless luxury high in the Hollywood Hills where life can still be shared with coyotes. He looks good, some say “beautiful”, having been clean (drug-five) for three years. Regarding his friend and music-mate Hillel Slovak’s death, it would be pat to say that some must die so that others may get clean. Slovak’s inspiration runs so much deeper.
“Artistically, I think that the time Hillel was on this earth inspires me more than anything,” says Kiedis, “and his artistic life will always be with me as long as I’m alive.”
The tremendous cut —”Knock Me Down” — a love song about Hillel Slovak off the Mother’s Milk album — offers more than “just say no” ever could. Sobriety has allowed Kiedis to “love himself” and “love life” today. Sex is also an important and varied experience, resurrected from where “it dies” while he was high. He’s never met sex he didn’t like, and relates that “an orgasm feels like, if your anus was a cocoon, and the most beautiful butterfly in the world was born out of your anus, that would be an orgasm.
He’s been thinking about sex since he was six, but lost it for sure at twelve. Loneliness is a feeling that Kiedis might embrace: “It’s a true feeling; something to ponder, to experience.”. And all who care to listen may also experience that feeling on the Chili’s single “Under the Bridge”. While Kiedis shies away from politics, he’s got zero tolerance for racism — his message sent in song, not from a soapbox. Take “Power Of Equality’ — a tune that Kiedis wrote about “how fucking cool it would be if everyone was considered equally”; about, “an imaginary Utopia one would , if there was no racism in the world.”
Critics have gotten off in the past by saying that “white boys can’t play funk.” Those critics can’t have heard funk-master George Clinton’s pronouncement — “funk is colour blind.”.
Flea plays bass, golfs, dives into mosh pits, and appears as “a man-servant” in Gus Van Sant’s film My Own Private Idaho. He describes orgasm as “when art and action come together” and shares, “I’m frightened most by the thought of chasing myself into a very scary corner of my mind and getting stuck there.”
Spotting my tattoo, he warns, “You’ll live to regret having your girl’s name on your arm, because if you’re any kind of man, you’ll never have it removed.” He shows he’s man, bearing long lost “Loesha” over his heart, and will remain a man he puts it, “tortured, strangled by my own love.”
“It’s erroneous,” Flea asserts, “to categorise love as flowered people sitting around in the grass, giving each other massages, when it manifests itself in violence, anger, and frustration.”
The world seems a much safer place with Flea kicking it all out through his four-stringed love gun. He says he’s “most fulfilled with a burrito in my stomach, a joint in my hand, a swimming pool all around me and Led Zeppelin in my ear.” He’s a big fan of pornography, and lost his virginity at 14 in a group-sex situation with “a girl who was on twelve Quaaludes [sedatives] and a quart of whiskey.
“I jacked-off the other night to Night Shift Nurses,” says Flea. He adamantly declares on record: “Let it be known right now that I jacked-off in several different porno theatres in Hollywood throughout my years — the Pussycat on Santa Monica, and the one on Western. I used to go there, watch the movie, jack-off on my stomach, and wipe it off on my T-shirt.” One special sperm cell went sacred, helping create his beautiful little “rock star” daughter, Clara. Embossed just for her, he sports a tattoo of pastel-coloured elephants playing follow the leader around his bicep, and when she speaks in sentences she’s sure to say something like, “I’m proud to call Flea my dad”.
Chad Smith looks Clint Eastwoodly, pale blue eyes piercing beneath a Panama hat. This big, bad boy is practically fearless —except on the road where he becomes a “pale rider” as “Flea slips into my bed.” Masturbatory fodder for him is the thought of his old cheerleader girlfriend who used to “don her cheerleader outfit without any underwear and jump around on the bed”.
Another nice thought for Chad is the sweet deal- three albums with three to option — his band signed with Warner Brothers Records. Prior Chili Peppers notions of signing elsewhere were quelled by the generosity of the Warner people — especially record exec, Mo Ostin. Chad says, “The guy who introduced Jimi Hendrix to Duke Ellington and started Reprise with Frank Sinatra can’t be bad.” Not bad at all.
And, yes, “raunch” will always play a part on Chili records with Blood Sugar Sex Magik’s “Sir Psycho Sexy” answering to 1987’s anthem “Party On Your Pussy”, but the call is that the cut, “Give It Away”, will be an anthem for the Nineties because, “you’ve got give it away to keep it’ — a credo nicely fitting the “good time boys” who will forever tip their funky hats to fellow rockers. ■
(c) Syndicated International Network / Mark Ebner.
Flea Top 10 on Artists’ Poll
FLEA OF RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
- Steady Diet of Nothing, Fugazi (Dischord): My favorite rock band in the whole world. Innovative, intense, dynamic songs and the freshest grooves, you motherfuckers. These guys boldly step into their own expression and blow the yoke out of all eggheads. This record in-spires my life.
- The History of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (Blue Note): Every note on this three-CD set makes life meaningful for me. Violent burning and liquid loving. The most stunning creative musicians of my lifetime.
- Check Your Head, Beastie Boys (Capitol): Yes, yes, y’all. Rock, rock, y’all. These guys defy lame categories and labels by rocking the fuck out of hardcore, getting truly funky and basically running shit in a supersonic way.
- All the Way, Jimmy Scott (Blue Horizon/Sire): My man’s voice is a haunting angel that floats down from outer space and takes me to where it came from.
- Death Certificate, Ice Cube (Priority): No better schooling to be had on the subject of pissed-off young black people in South Central L.A. Ice Cube’s phrasing is amazing as he lays out wicked rhymes over groundbreaking funky grooves. The funk of the Nineties. Understand anger to have peace.
- The End of Silence, Rollins Band (Imago): Music so hard you can strike a match on it. Henry, Andrew, Sim, Chris and Theo stand up next to a mountain and pummel it into dust. Cosmic jams. “Live long, live strong” — Henry Rollins.
- The Complete Prestige Recordings, Sonny Rollins (Prestige): Deep, heavy swinging that teaches me something new every time I hear it. The truest human expression. Best sex music on earth.
- Dirty, Sonic Youth (DGC/Geffen): Pure, beautiful rock jams that flow freely and naturally. Supercool, mean, vicious and full of love and romance. Guitars are fresh for ’92. Best album cover of the year, too.
- The Voice of Jazz: The Complete Recordings 1955-1940, Billie Holiday (Charly): Billie Holiday is so fucking sexy it drives me wild. The most beautiful voice of all time pours out of the speakers for hours and hours. Feel the pain, take all of her. Blow sweetly, Lester.
- The Guys From Nelson and Def Leppard Sing the Top Hits of Throbbing Gristle (Yo Mama): This classic disc is a real crowd pleaser, guaranteed to go mega-platinum. Watch out, Michael Jackson.