10/1995 Kerrang! (566)

Thank you to Rita Bussetta for the transcript.


They’re filthy! They’re Funky! And with new guitarist DAVE NAVARRO on board, the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS are back with the sexiest album of the year! PAUL ELLIOTT spends one hot minute with the naughtiest boys in Rock!

“Through the years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have roosted in the hen house and wallowed in the pig sty.” – sleeve note on the new Chili Peppers album ‘One Hot Minute’

It ain’t no lie. Of all the strutting, snorting sassy, smutty, shag-happy rock ‘n’ roll bands, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are the dirtiest, damnedest mothers of ‘em all. The slap and tickle of their rubber-burning’ Punk Funk Rock. The tacky titilation of those cocks-in-socks pictures. The erotic whiff of album titles like ‘Mother’s Milk’ and ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’. Ooh, the cheek of it all!

But the Chili Peppers aren’t all sauce. Not in 1995. ‘One Hot Minute’ isn’t just a wave-it-in-your-face hump-a-thon. It’s slinkily sexy, yes, but there’s a new, stranger, darker side to the Red Hot Chili Peppers these days. And it’s no mere coincidence that this extra dimension has developed since the arrival of guitarist Dave Navarro.

Navarro was one the dreadlocked sidekick of Lollapalooza’s freaky founding father Perry Farrell. The two were together in Jane’s Addiction, one of the most celebrated and influential Rock groups of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Farrell, understandably, was the dominant figure in the band, but Navarro’s head-spinning guitar playing was crucial in making Jane’s Addiction the hottest cult Rock act of their time (see panel!).

Post-Grunge, and with the second wave of Punk currently cresting in America, it’s easy to forget just how huge Jane’s Addiction were. Post-Porno For Pyros, Farrell’s naff arthouse wank Rock project, it’s easy to forget just how great Jane’s Addiction were.

But it all comes rushing back when Navarro takes the first song on the new Chilis record and drags it off into stratosphere. The song is called ‘Warped’. You’ve probably heard it as a single. And it’s just one of many great things the Chilis have cooked up on their sweetest and most soulful work to date.

Drummer Chad Smith puts it this way: “I think it sounds like the first record by a new line-up cos it sounds so different, but if you were to say that we’re getting together, I’d take that as a compliment. Thank you, you have excellent taste, you’re smart, witty, powerful and handsome! We’re on tour for two years, and I think after that we’ll be like a hardened bowl of jelly!”

Singer Anthony Kiedis, sitting in late afternoon sunshine in the garden of a West London Hotel, is reluctant to over-analyse the Chilis’ music.

“Analysis is something I despise,” he says, puffing on a Marlboro and stirring a black coffee. “I find it disenchanting and a touch demystifying.”

“But yeah, Dave came in as Dave and really forced us to do the changing on this record.

Obviously, the chemistry is vastly altered when one quarter of the band changes, but it ended up as four members having to metamorphose into one brand new thing.”

Ironically, Navarro’s own take on the record is somewhat analytical. Dave’s drier than the other Chilis. Without being an anorak about it, he’s a more studious musician.

“It’s a great experience to play with guys like Chad and Flea,” Dave purrs. “They’re the complete opposite to the guys I used to play with. Stephen and Eric (Perkins and Avery, Jane’s Addiction drummer and bassist) were really repetitive and tribal; tempos kinda fluctuated. But these guys are tight and percussive.”

“I never looked at the Chili Peppers as a Funk band, although I knew that they have a lot of that in them. When I joined the band I felt I identified with them on a human level a lot easier than I identified with them on a musical level. At times we had some awkward moments where we didn’t know if it was gonna work.”

But it has worked. Beautifully. Even if doubts still lurk in Navarro’s mind,

“I feel like I could have done this album better,” he shrugs, “but I can’t change life experiences.”

“So,” he says, rolling up his sleeve to reveal fresh tattoo “the experience of doing it is immortalised right here with this little fairy from the album cover.”

Featuring fairies, kiddies and little furry animals, ‘One Hot Minute’’s cover art is endearingly cheese. The band had the CD booklet modelled on a children’s book which Anthony found, aptly enough, at a flea market.

“We thought it would be nice,” Anthony smiles, “because kids have always related to our music. And if kids can relate to it, we’re definitely on the right track.”

“A children’s book is such an honest thing,” adds bas bumper Flea, whose daughter is seven this week.

“She’s coming over to have her birthday in London,” he beams. “I’ve never missed her birthday and I’m not gonna miss it now. She’s a great kid, the most important thing in the world to me. She occupies a lot of my time and energy. She’s very inspirational.”

“I always wanted a kid, even when I was an out-of-control teenager. I enjoy being with children very much. Kids have always liked our music. Kids of five years old. I guess they don’t pick it apart, they just like it.”

“Children Rock like maniacs! They just wanna Rock out and party and liked that!”


What gets the Chili Peppers hot and horny?

CHAD SMITH The drummer.

Starsign: “Scorpion, man. Means I’m oversexed. Rock You Like A Hurricane”!

What’s Funky?

“Many things are Funky. Life is Funky. People, situations, language, culture, movies, arts, my motorcycle, scuba diving. Funk is everywhere. Funk to me is like party music. I hear a Tower Of Power record and it makes me wanna jump around and go, ‘Whoo-ooh!’.”

What’s not Funky?

“About 99.5 per cent of the music that’s out there. It’s all very predictable, generic, lame shit. Our music is honest and raw and from the heart, and I think that’s a rarity these days. Japanese people aren’t extremely Funky either. But I don’t wanna diss the Japanese. It’s inherent of their culture.”

What’s hot?

“There is a Jacuzzi in my pants!”

What’s not hot?

“Bands like Take That. Like Duke Ellington said, there’s only two kinds of music, good and bad. And there’s not a lot of ‘hot’ out there.”

What’s sexy?

“I think it’s very important to play music with people who you love. One of the most important aspects of our band is friendship. That’s why it was important that we get to know Dave, cos it definitely comes through in the music. Uh, sorry, I don’t think that answers your question!”

What’s not sexy?

“Really stupid, insensitive, non-caring, abusive people. Bad music, bad art, bad movies.”

Pick five words to describe ‘One Hot Minute’.

“How about seven? Have a good time, all the time. That’s my philosophy!”

Favourite track on the album?

“Right now I’m enjoying ‘Deep Kick’. It has a lot of the elements of our new sound. It’s a melding of Dave’s influence and ours. And it’s a cool story about Flea and Anthony.”

FLEA The bassist.

Starsign: Libra

What’s Funky?

“A lot of things are Funky. Anything that is raw and honest.”

What’s not Funky?

“Things that are contrived and stiff. A lot of contemporary music revolts me, but whenever I talk about it I always feel the repercussions later. I still get Christmas cards from Ugly Kid Joe after I said something about ‘em.”

What’s hot?

“Black and white photography from the early 1900s. American and French. But as for music, there’s nothing new that’s driving me crazy. The last time music got me really excited was the first coupla Public Enemy records. I also like Nine Inch Nail and Fugazi.”

What’s not hot?

“Lots of Rock bands are completely, disgustingly appalling.”

What’s sexy?

“Sexiness for me comes from a female thing. But it can come from a male thing too. Like, a Marvin Gaye record is a really sexy thing. I find my girlfriend incredibly sexy.”

What’s not sexy?

“Strictly physical lust. As much as I can appreciate the form of a woman or the beauty of a woman, it’s usually something else that grabs me. A vibe or whatever. A smile, a phrase as opposed to just tits ‘n’ ass. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely appreciate tits ‘n’ ass. I’m a lustful, heterosexual man!”

Pick five words to describe ‘One Hot Minute’.

“Oh God… Miserable. Ecstatic. Miserable. Ecstatic. Miserable. Is that five?”

Favourite track on the album?

“I like ‘Transcending’ a lot. The music is really new and exciting and innovative. I’ve never heard anything else like it. And the song is really close to my heart. It’s about my friend River (Phoenix), who died. It just means a lot to me and it gives me a special feeling when I hear it.”


Starsign: “Scorpio. Flea, Chad and myself were born in a 15 day period in 1962. Flea was October 16, Chad was October 24 and I’m November 1. Chad and I were born in Michigan a week apart, and Flea was born in Melbourne, Australia. There’s a lot of beautiful fate floating around!”

What’s Funky?

“I was just travelling with my girlfriend up the coast of Northern California and I forgot to bring any music, so I went into a truckstop and the best tape they had was a James Brown tape. It was just immaculate Funk. And I also just bought a new pair of glowing red patent leather Gucci loafers, which just can’t help but be Funky.”

What’s not Funky?

“Candlebox are not Funky. Pete Wilson is not Funky. He’s the governor of California and the guy does not feel the Funk.”

What’s hot?

“PJ Harvey is sizzling. I love PJ Harvey. And I get very hot sensation when I listen to her records. I met her and I felt like an eight year old kid.”

What’s not hot?

“What is not hot is blatant copycat-ism. To just copy somebody else’s song is so pointless. When Punk Rock happened it happened for a reason. The second wave of Punk is so empty to me.”

What’s sexy?

“Dave Navarro is a very sexy boy. He’s definitely a positive perpetrator of delightful sexual energy. And I have to say the same thing about my girlfriend, Jamie.”

What’s not sexy?

“The French government is not in any way sexy. And they’re not hot. And they’re not Funky. I’m really f**king brutally pissed off at the French Government right now. What the French did in Tahiti, it disgusts me.”

Pick five words to describe ‘One Hot Minute’.

“Therapeutic sunshine post-tragic sadness.”

Favourite track on the album?

“It changes all the time, but for the last two or three days, ‘Tearjerker’ is the song that’s been running through my head. It had a powerful impact on the family of my girlfriend. It’s a specific love song, but it can be interpreted by everybody to apply to their own circumstances. My girlfriend’s father died just two months ago, and coincidentally, he fits the description of that song. At a time of great loss, the family all kept listening to that song. They played it at his funeral. So it ended up having a profound meaning for me.”

DAVE NAVARRO The guitarist.

Starsign: Gemini

What’s Funky?

“Kool & The Gang. James Brown. But the truth is that I’m not much of a Funk fan. I’m more into dark music, whether it’s Rock or Classical.”

What’s not Funky?

“That can’t be interesting to your readers – who I think isn’t Funky!”

Okay, What’s hot?

“I’m very excited and interested in films. I review movies for a small magazine. My column doesn’t so much review films as take the piss out of them. I rarely select a film that I enjoyed for my column. I have a cynical sense of humour. But honestly, the thing that I’ve been into the most lately is a new relationship. I’ve always found that when I get into a new relationship, I’m kind of a romantic and it rules my world. And the distance makes it so much more romantic. She’s in Los Angeles right now.”

What’s not hot?

“The American Government cover-up of other life forms, the Roswell UFO thing. I saw the alien autopsy tape and I dunno, man, it looked kinda calculated. I wanted more than anything to believe that. I felt like a child at Christmas, but it kinda seemed staged.

What’s sexy?

“Dark rooms are sexy to me. Certain fragrances are incredibly sexy. Hair. Or the lack of it, depending on who you’re talking to! Music can be incredibly sexy too. And I think somebody’s household pet can be a sexy thing; the way they cradle it in their arms or care for it. I find things sexy which don’t necessarily stimulate a sexual response within me but an emotional response.”

What’s not sexy?

“Personally I don’t trust human beings. The guys in this band I trust more than most people on the planet. But what I hate most in people is their lack of trustworthiness.”

Pick five words to describe ‘One Hot Minute’.

“Dark. Uplifting. Psychedelic. Wonderful. Terrible.”

Favourite track on the album?

“Right now it’s ‘One Big Mob’. There’s a long psychedelic breakdown on that track. In the middle of it I recorded a tape of my baby brother crying. And my baby brother at this moment is in intensive care in Los Angeles. He had a seizure. I listened to that song today because I’m so far away, I feel so helpless. I just needed to hear it, even if he was crying. It really affected me.”


ONE HOT 75 minute set!


Kerrang! Exclusive!

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS storm the capitol for treat-of-a-lifetime fans-only show! Eye-witness: PAUL BRANNINGAN!

The Red Hot Chili Peppers returned to live action this week with a super-secret gig in London.

The show – at the tiny Subterania club in Ladbroke Grove – was jam-packed with die-hard Chilis fans, who had queued from early afternoon for the opportunity to witness the LA quartet play their first show on British soil since 1994’s triumphant Reading headline performance.

Outside the venue tickets were changing hands for £50 each and the touts were reporting a brisk trade. Inside, there was a huge buzz of anticipation as excited fans milled around impatiently.

“I can’t believe the Chilis are playing somewhere this small,” gushed 20-year-old Italian exchange student Christa. “This is going to be soooo great!”

Pre-show, the sounds of Flea’s favourite bands, the Gang Of Four and Funkadelic, rocked the expectant crowd. Then, at precisely 10pm, four-near naked bodies strolled onto the shoebox stage, steamed into ‘give It Away’ and the whole place went buck mental!

Playing old classics such as ‘Suck My Kiss’, ‘Backwoods’ and ‘Higher Ground’, plus tracks from their new ‘One Hot Minute’ album the Chilis were loose and relaxed.

After 75 Funk-filled minutes, the lights went up and the Chilis departed to thunderous applause. As the crowd spilled back out into the cool night air the verdict of the lucky few was unanimous: “F**kin’ incredible!”


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