Many of the gods, goddesses, angels, demons and elementals of the universe have conspired to send messages from beyond through the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the current civilization. After a year and a half of channeling and organization, these messages have taken the materialized form of the double CD Stadium Arcadium. If you let go and let this music take you by the hand it will take you flying through skies of sound. It will zoom you up well above outer space and it will show you around planes of existence that do not share the laws and conditions of this reality. And when it brings you down to earth it will dig deep into that shit. It will also teach you to fall back without landing on your ass and to fall forward without falling on your face. Let go and you can be two places at once, you can be as big as the whole universe and as small as an atom simultaneously. You can unite with a star or a plant. You are everything you see around you and the ideas in this music may get you to start realizing what a great power that can be.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are learning all these things with whoever wants to come along. They are letting the invisible glorious kingdom of music give them shelter. The have crawled inside the body of music and they are inviting you inside.
All is an illusion which gives us the wonderful opportunity to play with everything in existence. In the words of one of the supreme gods of funk, “Nothing is good unless you play with it.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers have twisted up nature into a decidedly psychedelic form. They have made music that can drive you to a place where nothingness is motion and movement and stillness are one. They have played with light, darkness, sound, silence, form, air, and space to make music that plays with the listener.
Born four separate people they have successfully become one. Their music is proof that four minds can become one, which prompts the question, why not a billion minds? They recommend that you shut off your mind and let Stadium Arcadium fly you away to a place where everything and nothingness are one. They recommend that you let the music take you away to a place where everything is OK.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers and their holy guru Rick Rubin have put together music that can take you out of your body, so come inside the great outdoors. Breathe the water. Drink the air. Sleep on a cloud. Run up the beam of light from a star. You are free. Close your eyes, open your mind, and let this music in and you will see that this is true.
This album was recorded primarily in Laurel Canyon in the Blood Sugar mansion. The recording and mixing was a year long project as it involved finishing 38 songs, 28 of which were chosen to become Stadium Arcadium. The album features Chad Smith on drums, Anthony Kiedis on lead vocals, Flea on bass, and John Frusciante on guitar and background vocals. They also all do this that and the other thing. Rick Rubin watched over the big picture and worked his brand of magic on the music, giving it balance whenever it might have fallen off the edge of the earth. The songs were written at the Alley in the Valley which is where BloodSugar was written. They were written over the course of six months. The band and the producer all had mates with whom they were in love through out this whole project. That love, heart, and warmth is in the music. You are also hearing the sound of analog tape, may it live forever. –John Frusciante, March 2006
From the rumbling thunder of their underground daze on a vagabond Hollywood circuit of Charles Bukowski bars and Fairfax District bar mitzvah halls to the jagged peak of the rock ‘n roll heap, from the basement of depravity to the penthouse of notoriety, from Random Notes to the cover of the Rolling Stone, from the bottom of the bill to the top of the charts, from opening the Kit Kat Club to headliners at Lollapalooza, Woodstock and all the world’s major festivals, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have remained a band with a mission. Your music. Unique. Honest. Uncensored. The Uplift Mofo Party Band. The Band with a plan. No corporate bottom line. No media spin. No compromise. No surrender.
Michael Balzary, Hillel Slovak, and Jack Irons were three high school pals. They had musical ambitions and together formed a band they named ‘Anthym’. The pals managed to score themselves a few gigs but many club owners hid the youngsters backstage for fear of getting busted with minors on the premises. Anthym even had regulars at the shows, none more of a regular than a guy called Anthony Kiedis. The four, who all attended Fairfax High school, became mates and Anthony even began opening the bands shows by reading some lines from his poetry. Flea however left Anthym to join the LA punk band ‘Fear’. Hillel and Irons stayed on, renaming the band, ‘What is This?’.
Anthony, Flea, Hillel and Jack were reunited when they were asked to play for a friend at the ‘Rhythm Lounge Club’. A week before the show all they had was a few funky bass lines of Flea’s and one of Anthony’s poems. Unperturbed, the guys dropped some acid and headed on-stage under the name of, ‘Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.’ Within days, news of the bands performance had spread due to their rendition of ‘Out in LA’. Word reached as far as E.M.I. and within 6 months they had an 8 album record deal.
They renamed the band the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band did their 1st out of town gig in Aspen at the Cathay Grand Club. Their most notorious performance however was at the Kit Kat Klub. During the show the guys performed surrounded by a bevy of beauties in various stages of undress. Not wanting to be outdone, the guys performed their encore of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire’, with socks on their cocks. Word of the on-stage romp spread like wildfire, the guys were trying to get their music noticed, not their physical attributes.
Due to Hillel and Jack having prior commitments with their band ‘What Is This?’, they had to choose which musical project they would follow through. Having already spent 6 years on ‘What Is This?’, the two friends decided to leave the RHCP’s. Replacements came with Jack Sherman on guitar and Cliff Martinez, (former bands included Lydias Lunch 13. 13 and Captain Beefheart and The Weirdos.)
Andy Gill, from The Gang Of Four, was asked to produce the debut album. The Chili’s wanted a sound similar to the Gang of Four but Gill had other ideas. The relationship between Gill and the band was at best-tepid. At one stage it is rumored that Flea and Anthony sent Gill a pizza box with a fresh turd inside. The album was released but the Chili’s weren’t happy with the result. They wanted no more to do with Gill.
Lindy Goetz became the band’s manager and, as a result, they played more live shows than ever. Time on the road was tough in the band’s little van, and they often stayed in seedy hotels between gigs. ‘What Is This?’ wasn’t fairing as well in the stormy musical seas. It therefore was no surprise, that in January 1984, Sherman was dumped for Hillel-they’re old pal.
It was during the coming months that the band’s experimentation with drugs took a new turn. Flea tired of it, but Anthony and Hillel decided to up the pace. Hillel denied he had a problem, Anthony didn’t.
The Master of Funk, George Clinton, (Funkadelic, Parliament and other derivatives of the two), had been a big influence on the band and was asked to produce their 2nd album ‘Freaky Styley’. Clinton moved the guys to his studios outside Detroit. Here the band wrote and recorded 13 songs. This album, due to the cohersion of both parties was able to capture the Chili’s lusty punk/funk musical style. The album bought the band more recognition. Still overseas only ‘Hollywood Africa’ received meager airplay even though the band did a stopover show at a festival in Germany and a one-off show in England.
The Chili’s returned to home to LA and suddenly, but not surprisingly, Martinez was dumped for Jack Irons. The original lineup was once more. The tour which followed was an explosion of Pepper energy and it scored the band the recognition they deserved as an intense live band. Hillel however was falling deeper in his drug crazed world and was becoming alienated from the rest of the band. He also began to mess up while playing, often forgetting the notes.
‘Uplift Mofo Party Plan’ outsold the previous two albums put together. Michael Beinhorn, the producer, had previously worked with the likes of Nona Hendryx, and Herbie Hancock. Beinhorn knew exactly how he wanted the album to turn out. He also liked the music of Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone-bands the Chili’s also aspired to. The tour which followed had the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing in much larger venues with bands such as The Beastie Boys and Faith No More playing support. This was also the time the band faced criticism from various parent groups for their often ‘colorful’ lyrics. Flea likened the situation to kids hearing their parents say ‘fuck’. The Chili’s had no desire to tone down their antics. Irons (the supposed more sedate member of the band), walked through Heathrow Airport with a ‘tit’ hat on. The fact of the matter was, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made great music and stuff the critics. ‘Uplift Mofo Party Plan’ peaked at no. 143 on ‘Billboards Top 150 Albums’.
The guys decided to release a new album by June 1988 but before then they needed to do something about Hillel. His drug addiction was steadily worsening and the Chili family was suffering along with him. A decision was made to let Hillel go after the show in Washington. Angelo Moore, of the support band ‘Fishbone’, heard what was planned and talked Anthony out of it. Moore reasoned with Anthony that Hillel needed his friends, now more than ever. Hillel stayed with the band whilst they traveled to England to shoot the now infamous, socks on cocks photo of the Red Hot Chili Peppers walking across that same pedestrian crossing that the Beatles had made famous. The Abbey Road cd included the cover of ‘Fire’ by Jimi Hendrix which had been cut from Freaky Styley.
They returned to the US and decided to release a new album. 4 weeks after a joyous homecoming though, Hillel was gone. The months of drug abuse finally captured his life and he overdosed. Hillel’s death shook the band to it’s roots. Anthony hid out in a small mexican village-ridding himself of any lingering, narcotic cravings. Jack Irons left the band also, shutting himself from the rest of the world. He blamed the Red Hot Chili Peppers for his friends demise, therefore he wanted nothing more to do with any of it. Flea too immersed himself in other musical side projects-it seemed the end of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Anthony returned home, and Flea’s wife Loesha gave birth to a little girl they named Clara. Anthony and Flea decided to set about rebuilding the band, in memory of their friend Hillel at least. It was during this time that the two pals tried to help out John Frusciante (who was one of their biggest fans), by going along with him to an audition for the band ‘Thelonius Monster’. (John was to shy to go on his own). Flea and Anthony sat in a corner while John did his set. Everyone was surprised how well he could play as he sounded so much like his idol Hillel-he’d copied his style to a tee. It seemed only natural that John walked out of the audition as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Finding a replacement drummer would prove to be much more tedious. Ads were placed in the newspaper and scores of drummers lined up for a chance to display their skills on the skins. Nearing the end of another long day, all hope had almost been lost when in walked Chad Smith. He perched himself atop the drum kit and belted out a swirling, frenzied tune backed up by his own ‘obscene’ lyrics. Chad was in and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were a foursome once more. It was March 1989 and they hit the road to tour.
It was during the tour of ’89 that Anthony was charged with sexual battery. The incident occurred backstage after a gig at George Mason University. He dropped his pants in front of a female concert goers seemingly innocent prank, and the serious charges that were served on him came as quite a surprise. It was a case of bad timing though when Anthony’s charges became public knowledge, as Flea found himself in hot water too. An incident at the MTV Spring Break Party, involving a bikini clad fan, Chad spanking her bum, and Flea simulating sex with her on the stage, was eventually dismissed as just fun and games. Anthony started dating actress Ione Skye and his lifestyle changed dramatically.
Mother’s Milk was released in 1989, again Beinhorn was the producer. The album contained eleven original tracks and covers of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’ and Hendrix’s ‘Fire’ on which Hillel featured. The first single ‘Knock Me Down’ was released in memory of Hillel. Flea also displayed his trumpeting prowess on the tracks ‘Subway To Venus’, ‘Taste The Pain’ and ‘Pretty Little Ditty’. The tour that followed was immense. A stricter routine was kept with no drugs being allowed whilst touring. The guys did a huge show in Dam Square in Amsterdam. World media was finally taking notice. Anthony’s frenzied on-stage displays often left him battered and bruised, but he transformed before every show into a pumped up powerhouse. The smash hit movie ‘Pretty Woman’, featured ‘Show Me Your Soul’ on its soundtrack and the song became a UK top 30 hit. It wasn’t long before the Red Hot Chili Peppers sought out a new record company and after having their photos taken with the bosses of Sony at the last minute switched to Warner Bros.
The band chose ‘Def Jam’ mainman, Rick Rubin to produce the next album. Rubin hired a house out of town and trucked in all the necessary gear. The house, seemingly was haunted, and a physic was called in who confirmed the house was indeed being visited but it was ok as the entities seemed friendly. All tracks for this album were recorded live, one even being recorded outside with the traffic roaring past.’ BloodSugarSexMagik’ was a colossal smash. It earned the Red Hot Chili Peppers a platinum album and stayed in the US Billboard Chart for a year. The band appeared on every major magazine cover including Rolling Stone. The world tour was a total sellout. ‘Give It Away’ was released and received massive acclamations, earning for the band best breakthrough video in September 1992 at the MTV awards. ‘Under The Bridge’, where Anthony recalls his days of drug addiction, soared up every major music chart worldwide.
Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins were some of the bands who now supported the Peppers on tour. It was during the Asian leg of their tour that John announced he was quitting the band after the next show. It was 27 days before the Chili’s were due to headline at Lollapolooza. Arik Marshall (of LA band Marshall Law), was asked to fill in for the rest of the tour. Marshall practiced for 5 hours a day for the next 3 weeks. His initiation into the lineup was in front of 60,000 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in San Francisco. Marshall however didn’t fit in well. An advert was placed in the local newspaper to help track down a new guitarist. 5,000 turned up on the first day! Jesse Tobias was hired for a short while but he was found to be unsuitable also.
In 1993 Flea was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ordered to rest for 12 months. The hectic lifestyle had finally caught up with him. It was about this time too that Flea witnessed the death of his mate River Phoenix whilst playing in Johnny Depp’s club, the Viper Room.
Dave Navarro, who was with ‘Deconstruction’ at the time, was again asked to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Dave had previously knocked back the bands offer due to their heavy workload but this time decided to give it a go. Dave possesses a very individual style which is exactly what the Peppers wanted, (and needed), to lift their musical spirits once more. The band headed off to Hawaii to do a bit of male bonding – dive off cliffs into the deep blue sea and generally partake of the islands offerings. They took their Harley’s with them and rode around under the pseudo of ‘La Sensatives’ MC Gang.
They again asked Rick Rubin to produce ‘One Hot Minute’. It was released in 1995 and soon catapulted the Chili’s back into the spotlight. Some major songs from the album include, ‘Aeroplane’, ‘Walkabout’, ‘Friends’, ‘Warped’ , and Flea’s great tune ‘Pea’. October 1995 saw the Peppers gracing the cover of Rolling Stone. The Chili’s also appeared on the 11th Anniversary issue of Spin magazine. Dave Navarro seemed to fit very nicely in with the pack of pals. The world tour which followed started and ended in the US and included such places as Finland, Denmark, Belgium, France, UK, New Zealand and Australia-a total of 64 shows in 21 countries.
The beginning of 1996 saw the guys still doing the tour circuit. silverchair, a new band from Australia went along for the ride. At one point of the tour the Chili’s decided to surprise lead singer Daniel Johns for his birthday. The Peppers hired a couple of strippers to ‘do their thing’ whilst silverchair did their set. Much to Daniel’s surprise the strippers appeared, but undaunted, the band played on. Everyone involved thought it was a great joke and all commented on the redness of Daniel John’s face when he realized that it was a setup!
Flea was named the 1996, ‘Bass Player Magazine’, guitarist of the year. Then in October 1996, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were asked to record the song, “I Found Out” for a John Lennon tribute album. Dave and Flea also contributed their talents to an upcoming Howard Stern movie. The guys teamed up with Perry Farrel to record the movie’s title track, “Hard Charger”. Chad meanwhile continued with his drum clinics as well as performing at the Buddy Rich Tribute in New York.
The guys then learn that Lindy Goetz, their manager since 1984, decides it’s time to retire.
The Chili’s were asked to do the title song for the, “Beavis and Butthead Do America” movie. The song, “Love Rollercoaster” hits the airwaves and the music video clip is done in cartoon format. Flea continues dabbling in the movie business, including an appearance in the Coen Bros movie “The Big Lebowski”. Flea even does some voice over work on a kids cartoon for Nickelodeon. Anthony meanwhile travels across the lands of India and is permitted an audience with the Dalai Lama.
During March 1997 John Frusciante appears at the Whiskey in LA with Thelonius Monster. Whilst John is playing Flea makes an impromptu visit to the stage to jam along as well. This is to be a significant sign as to which road the Red Hot Chili Peppers would travel in the following months. Chad becomes a dad on the 3rd of March 1997. His wife Maria gives birth to a little girl they name Manon St John. She weighs in at a healthy 8lb 3oz. Chad also continues working with Dave on a joint side project. They hope to put together a few tracks and release a cd under the name of ‘Spread’. News of a break up start to circulate but then the Red Hot Chili Pepper management announce the 1997 ‘Wild Tour’ itinerary. The band plans on visiting Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok, Honolulu and Anchorage as well as the Mt Fuji Festival. Disaster strikes though when Anthony is involved in a road accident whilst out riding his Harley. The result is 11 broken bones in his wrist as well as multiple cuts and bruises. It takes some 5 hours of surgery to repair the damage. The Alaska and Hawaii shows are canceled as a result. Mt Fuji is performed with Anthony seated on a stool for the show until Typhoon Rosie decides to cause havoc and stop the show.
Once Anthony returns to the US he pays John Frusciante a visit. He’s recuperating in hospital after suffering from, ‘mental and physical strain’. After John is released from hospital, he, Flea and Anthony started to hang out at Flea’s abode a little. Then calamity strikes again when Chad is involved in a motorcycle mishap. Whilst out riding along Sunset Boulevard, Chad is thrown from his Harley and dislocates a shoulder. Luckily though no surgery is needed, just a little extra tlc. Dave continues work with his side project ‘Spread’ which is due to be released through Warner Bros.
Perry Farrel, Dave and Flea join up for a Janes Addiction tour. The two Peppers even lend their talents to the new Janes cd ‘Kettle Whistle’. In November 1997, Dave and Flea graced the cover of America’s ‘Guitar World’ magazine. MTV also votes ‘Under The Bridge’ #5 in the top 500 videos of all time.
Then on the 3rd of April 1998, the announcement was made regarding Dave’s departure. Dave said he wanted to concentrate more on Spread. The space of guitarist #7 is reassigned to John Frusciante. There no doubtedly could’ve been a more apt replacement. News of John’s reinstatement was made ‘official’ on the 29th of April.
The ‘Awesome Foursome’ were once more. Their first gig together was held at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC, a warm up for the Tibetan Freedom concert the next day. Reports from the show gave raving revues. The Tibetan Freedom concert though proved a little more of a challenge when lightning strikes injure several concert goers. The Peppers managed to perform a couple of songs after Eddie Vedder prompted them to the stage – much to the delight of those who attended. Then on the 17th of June the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at the Bowery Ballroom. It was the bands first gig in the New York area since February 1996 during the One Hot Minute tour. John and the rest of the band were very well received.
In July the Peppers appeared at the “Waiting For Iggy” benefit at Moguls in Hollywood. The night was organized to raise money for writer Susie McConnell’s project titled, “Waiting For Iggy”. John performed an acoustic set of Iggy’s tunes including “China Girl”, (David Bowie covered this song on his “Let’s Dance’ album), before the rest of the Peppers joined him on-stage.
John comments that the sound that has emerged so far is much closer to the hard funk groove that he perfected with the group than the slightly heavier, less funk-derived vibe on it’s last album. “It’s definitely going to sound a lot more like what I did in the band than what Dave did”, John said. “As far as the funk, it should have a really heavy aspect of that. I don’t really play that kind of heavy-metal stuff”.
Rick Rubin is again employed as producer for the follow up album for ‘One Hot Minute’. After only two weeks the album is ready for it’s final editing. The Peppers’ had not felt such a cohersion for quite some time. John left the band at a time when they were becoming popular all over the world – he returned at a time when it was rumored the band would disintegrate.
Californication is released with a total of fifteen tracks. Scar Tissue is the first single from the album and amazingly enters the Top Ten before it’s official release date. Californication quickly turns Platinum for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and they turn their sights on follow-up performances.
Flea, Anthony, Chad and John soon start to appear on the covers of various magazines across the world and Chad is again voted ‘Best Funk Drummer’ and Guitar mags seem to very interested in what John has to say about his return to the ‘Funky Fold’.
Tour schedules are tight but seemingly well anticipated by Red Hot Chili Peppers fans. The band brings the 1999 Woodstock festival to a fiery end with probably one of their favorite covers – Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire’. During the closing set of the Peppers, Woodstock fans began to set the place alight after being given candles by concert organizers. When the Peppers returned for their encore Anthony commented, “Holy Shit, it looks like Apocalypse Now out there.”
They head to England to take part in the 1999 Reading and Leeds Festivals. Fans are treated to a re-energised Peppers. John had definitely bought back what once was with the band.
Californication continues to stay in the Top 10 albums and radio stations continue to play Scar Tissue and Around the World on a record breaking rotation.
In September 1999 the Red Hot Chili Peppers official web site was also receiving recognition. The web site run by Blackie, (Anthony’s Pop), Terry, Jon and Starla is nominated and wins the first ever ‘Best Artist Website’ award at the MTV video Music Awards ’99. More design recognition continued to impress Macromedia, the software giants, by awarding 2 Site of the Day awards and a credit from VH1. MTV also contacted Terry for permission to use his intro Flash animations as part of their ‘A-Z Guide to Summer’ show in the summer of 2001.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers continue touring at a cracking pace. Another visit to Europe is announced after completing the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The Peppers definitely seem to be enjoying the opportunity to play for their fans again and the fans are positively enjoying the Red Hot Chili Peppers – Around The World.