2003 Jovem Pan

Thank you to  Giovana (Brandy) for kindly scanning and sharing articles from her magazine collection. And many thanks to Aline Silva for providing the translation :)


Jovem Pan Magazine 2003


Red Peppers on Fire

On the verge of turning 20 years old, the Red
Hot Chili Peppers prove why they are still one of the best bands in activity
and, alongside U2 and R.E.M., the most worthy survivors of the 80’s rock.


The Red
Hot Chili Peppers trajectory would make a nice survival guide. With internships
at the drugs hell and traumatic ruptures followed by lapses of discouragement, the
group was protagonist of surprising twists. Now they’re on the road for 20
years, winning fans that didn’t even dream of being born when they appeared
shirtless, well toned, tattooed and irreverent, making by then an unlikely
fusion between punk and rock, from the end of the 70’s to the beginning of the
80’s. There were also portions of jazz influence and a lot of noise to stifle a
melodic, swinging and original mixture that made history. By The Way, the latest album seems, unwittingly, a taken
stock of their career, accordingly with their entry in the 40’s. It only takes
a quick peek at the past of rock to find several bands with more extensive chemical
dependency records than good music records. Identifying the few ones who, like
the Chili Peppers, keep their credibility for so long gives a certain trouble.


Aging without creating slime and be successful without loss of quality
is the question. The super band status hasn’t taken from the Peppers that
boyish way and that garage band way. Pleasure today accompanied by millionaire
figures, fuels that are in addition to a remarkable capacity for sound renewal
and a partnership in fine tune. “Our friendship is one of the most important
things. I don’t know how the other bands work, but there must be a lot of love,
respect and consideration amongst us”, said one time the lead singer Anthony
Kiedis, who is writing an autobiography. “That’s what makes the Red Hots sound differently
from other bands”, reinforced bassist Flea. “We make all the songs together.”


Indeed, when there was a disagreement in that department, it the music
one fell apart. The best example was the frustrating time when Dave Navarro joined
the band, who only recovered with John Frusciante’s coming back, the only not
40-year-old-yet member of the Peppers. The guitar played dropped out after the
1991 classic album Blood Sugar Sex Magik
exhausting tour and he was rejoined only six years later. He didn’t need much
to get along with his partners again. The recovery was immediate – they only
needed play together, as Frusciante revealed: “The songs we wrote were way more
inspired.” As a result: the 1999 album Californication,
which sold almost 13 million copies and dragged an audience of 250 thousand
people to Rock in Rio III, in 2001, at the peak of their popularity.


The Peppers have not always lived in this almost celestial harmony. In
1888, the worst year for the band members, the guitarist Hillel Slovak died of
overdose. Then it was Frusciante’s turn to wallow in heroin. Kiedis wasn’t far
behind them. Being almost all of them in their 40’s, they reflect upon their
past with the same good humor that made them perform naked and pose for photos
with only socks covering their penises. “Some time ago I thought I knew
everything, but now that I’ve matured I know that I know nothing,” says Flea,
who only regrets his times as a promiscuous man. “I’m a bachelor, a lonely
40-year-old with no girlfriend.” Kiedis is “clean” since 1997. “Sometimes I
feel tempted to blow up, but I hold on tight. Today I worry about myself a bit
more,” he says.


It’s not only overcoming a history of extravagances that makes them the
most worthy survivors of the 80’s pop rock, alongside u@ and R.E.M. For years
the public and the media have been watching with sarcasm the decadence of the
greatest contemporary idols of the Chili Peppers – Prince, Michael Jackson and
Madonna. The first evaporated, a victim of his own ego; the second lives masked
(in several senses); the third tries to stay in the news at all costs, but
repeats herself, loses her authenticity and collects dislikes, disdainful of those who revere her. The Peppers
know how to treat his admirers very well. They reply to fan clubs emails,
demonstrate gratitude in public.


The age and the sober attitudes – among other factors inherent to the
aging – suggest resignation and lack of creativity, but, besides remaining hellish
onstage, the band had gas enough to release another great album, By The Way. Less funky, more eclectic
and serene than the previous ones, the repertoire brings references of the
band’s early years, pinches of psychedelia, reggae, Latinity. Retreat and shoot
everywhere might make too many stray bullets be left, but it wasn’t their time
to retire yet. Some lyrics and melodic songs reveal maturity without, however,
fading the optimism. The sound has been updated with good use of all the
technology that is available to a super band. The risk of overproduction passed
with no alarm. As Kiedis mocked in an interview to the British press, except
for an unexpected meteorite that may come to cross the Peppers’ way, they will
go on doing fine for a long time.



The first four peppers in CD


The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984) – The band’s debut album brought no highlight,
but it already showed what would be the band appeal, their energy funk. Detail,
Cliff Martinez on the drums; Jack Sherman on guitar, replacing, respectively,
Jack Irons and Hillel Slovak, who dropped out and would only go back on the
second album.


Freaky Styley (1985) – Produced by
mythological George Clinton, the Funkadelic leader, the Peppers’ second attempt
sounds less like rock than the other albums to come, but it already brings some
more spicy condiments, like Jungle Man and
The Brothers Cup.


Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987) – This is where the Peppers deposited their
sound. This album would point out the pathways the band would take next. From
the pulsating Fight Like a Brave to Behind The Sun, the beginning of the
guys’ courtship with ballads. It also meant the farewell to the guitarist
Slovak, dead by overdose in 1988, and the returns of the rotation of band


Mother’s Milk (1989) – This album starts
with what would be the “classic formation” of the band, with Chad Smith on the
drums and John Frusciante on guitar. It’s considered for some the band’s best
work. It has hits like Knock Me Down and
Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground cover,
making Flea’s bass work hard.

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