Album Present

 

Formation and first album (1983–1984)

Red Hot Chilli Peppers were formed by Fairfax High School alumni Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovak, Jack Irons,and Michael “Flea” Balzary in 1983. RHCP’s first performance was at the Rhythm Lounge, to a crowd of roughly thirty people, opening for Tim Allen. One song had been created for the occasion, which involved the band, then known as Antoine the Swan and the Mystical Masters of Mayhem, improvising music while Kiedis rapped a poem he had written called “Out in L.A.”. As Slovak and Irons were already committed to another group,What is this? it was intended to be a one time performance. However, the performance was so lively that the band were asked to return the following week. Due to this unexpected success, the band changed its name to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing several more shows at various LA clubs and musical venues. Six songs from these initial shows were recorded onto the band’s first demo tape.

Several months after their first performance, the band was signed to the record label EMI. Two weeks earlier,had obtained a record deal with MCA, and as Slovak and Irons considered the Red Hot Chili Peppers a side project, they quit to focus on What Is This?. Instead of dissolving the band, Kiedis and Flea decided to recruit new members. Cliff Martinez an acquaintance of Flea’s, was asked to join the Chili Peppers shortly thereafter. Auditions for a new guitarist produced Jack Sherman.

Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill was hired to produce their first album. Despite Kiedis and Flea’s misgivings, he pushed the band to play with a cleaner, crisper and more radio-friendly sound. The Red Hot Chili Peppers was released on August 10, 1984, and was a commercial flop. It initially sold approximately 25,000 units, and garnered little marketable recognition. The ensuing tour fared little better, as continuing musical and lifestyle tension between Kiedis and Sherman complicated the transition between concert and daily band life. Sherman was fired soon after, with Slovak returning to the Chili Peppers after growing tired.

Freaky Styley and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1985–1988)

EarlyRHCP.jpg

George Clinton was selected to produce the next Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Freaky Styley. The album was recorded in Detroit’s famed R&B and funky United Sound Systems studios on the edge of Wayne State University’s campus. Clinton combined various elements of punk and funk into the band’s repertoire, allowing their music to incorporate a variety of distinct styles. However, though the band had a much better relationship with Clinton than with Gill, Freaky Styley, released on August 16, 1985, also achieved little success, failing to make an impression on any chart. The subsequent tour was also considered unproductive by the band.

Cliff Martinez was dismissed from the group in the summer of 1986, with Kiedis saying that he sensed that Martinez wished to leave. Jack Irons, out of work and finally separated from other commitments, rejoined the group, to Kiedis, Flea, and Slovak’s great surprise. The Chili Peppers attempted to hire Rick Rubin to produce their third album, but he turned the offer down. The band eventually hired Michael Beihorn who was the band’s last choice. Songs began to form quickly, and the album’s shape came into view, blending the same funk feel and rhythms as Freaky Styley, but also taking a harder, more immediate approach to punk rock and funk metal. Reuniting all four original members renewed their creativity, enlivening the recording process.

On September 29, 1987, The Unplift Mofo Party Plan was released, becoming the first Red Hot Chili Peppers album to appear on any chart. Although it peaked at only #148 on the Billboard Hot 200, this was a significant success compared to the Chili Peppers’ first two albums.

During this period, however, Kiedis and Slovak had both developed serious drug addictions, often abandoning the band, each other, and their significant others for days on end. Slovak’s addiction led to his death on June 25, 1988, not long after the conclusion of the Uplift tour. Kiedis fled the city and did not attend Slovak’s funeral, considering the situation to be surreal and dreamlike. Jack Irons subsequently left the group, saying that he did not want to be part of a group where his friends were dying.

Mother’s Milk (1989–1990)

In an attempt to cope with the death of Slovak and the departure of Irons, Kiedis and Flea temporarily employed Dead Kennedys drummer D.H Peligro and former P-Funk guitarist DeWayne “Blackbird” McKnight. Neither sparked any notable chemistry and they were each replaced rapidly. However, Peligro’s brief tenure did have one vital, long-term consequence for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, his association with the band led to John Frusciante, an acquaintance of Peligro, to audition for the band’s empty guitarist role. Frusciante was fascinated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and, as a result, was particularly interested in auditioning. Following a constructive jam (which would later appear on Mother’s Milk as “Pretty Little Ditty”), there was a unanimous decision to accept Frusciante into the band.

Three weeks prior to the beginning of recording, the band was still without a drummer, despite several auditions. Eventually, a friend of the band told them about a drummer she knew, Chad Smith, who was so proficient on the drums he “ate [them] for breakfast”.Kiedis had qualms about allowing Smith to try out; however, he agreed to give him a chance. At his audition, Smith overwhelmed the band by not only matching Flea’s intricate and complex rhythm, but even beginning to lead him. After this successful jam session, Kiedis, Frusciante and Flea admitted Smith into the band.

The recording of the band’s fourth album was hindered by conflict with producer Michael Beinhorn, whose primary agenda was to give Frusciante’s guitar playing a loud, overpowering sound, similar to the abrasive tones utilized in heavy metal. This modification caused Frusciante great discomfort, as it did not fit with his preferred style of playing. An example of this can be heard on the song “Stone Cold Bush”.

The Chili Peppers’ fourth album, Mother’s Milk was released in August 1989, and gave them their first top modern rock hits – a tribute ballad to Slovak, “Knock Me Down”,and their cover of Stevie Wonder “Higher Ground”. The album reached #52 on the American album charts and became the band’s first gold record.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1990–1992)

In 1990, the group switched labels to Warner Bros. Record, with Rick Rubin hired to produce their then-untitled fifth album. Rubin has produced all of the band’s subsequent studio albums. The writing process for this album was far more productive than it had been during the creation of Mother’s Milk, with Kiedis saying that “[every day] now, there was new music for me to lyricize”.

The band embarked on the grueling six-month process of recording a new album the long periods of rehearsal, songwriting, and the incubating of ideas but Rubin was dissatisfied with a regular recording studio, thinking the band would work better in a less orthodox setting. He came across an “amazing, huge, empty historically landmarked Mediterranean haunted mansion a stone’s throw from where we all lived.” For the next month or so, Frusciante, Kiedis and Flea remained in seclusion, never once leaving the house during the entire recording process. Smith, however, decided not to live in the house, believing it to be haunted.

The band was unable to decide on the title of the album, but to Rubin, one particular song title stuck out: “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”. Although it was not a featured song, Rick believed it to be “clearly the best title” they had at the time.

On September 24, 1991, Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released. “Give It Away” was released as the first single; it won a Grammy award in 1992 for “Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal”and became the band’s first number one single on the Modern Rock chart. The ballad “Under The Bridge” was released as the follow up single, and went on to reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the highest the band has reached on that chart, and became one of the band’s most recognizable songs. Other singles such as “Breaking The Girl” and “Suck My Kiss” also fared well on the charts. The album itself was an international sensation, selling over 12 million copies and greatly broadening the Chili Peppers’ audience. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was listed at number 310 on the Rolling Stone Megazine list of The 500 Greatest Album of All Time, and in 1992 it rose to #3 on the U.S. album charts, almost a year after its release.

The band’s success and drug addiction were taking their toll on Frusciante, who abruptly quit the band during the Blood Sugar Japanese tour in May 1992. The band headlined the Lollapalooza festival in 1992 with replacement guitarist Arik Marshall (who appeared with them in The Simpsons fourth season finale, “Krusty Gets Kancelled”, and the videos for “Breaking The Girl” and “If You Have To Ask”), and briefly with Jesse Tobias of the Los Angeles-based band Mother Tongue. Neither lasted very long, with the rest of the band stating that “The chemistry wasn’t right.” They eventually settled on former Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.

One Hot Minute (1993–1998)


Dave Navarro first appeared with the band at Woodstock ’94, where they wore enormous light bulb costumes attached precariously to chrome metallic suits, making it near-impossible for them to play their instruments. While externally, the band appeared to be settled, the relationship between the three established members and Navarro had begun to deteriorate. His differing musical background made performing difficult as they began playing together, and continued to be an issue over the next year as his first and only album with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, One Hot Minute, was recorded and released on September 12, 1995. The band described the album as a darker, sadder record compared to their previous material. Despite mixed reviews, the album was a commercial success. Selling five million copies worldwide, it spawned the band’s third #1 single, the ballad “My Friends”, and enjoyed chart success with the songs “Warped” and “Aeroplane”.

This iteration of the band was also featured on several soundtracks. “I Found Out”, a John Lennon cover, was featured on Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon. The Ohio Players cover, “Love Rollercoaster”, was featured on the Beavis and Butthead Do America Soundtrack, and was released as a single.

By this point Kiedis had resumed his heroin dependence. In April 1998 it was announced that Navarro had left the band due to creative differences; Kiedis stated that the decision was “mutual.” Reports at the time, however, indicated Navarro’s departure came after he attended a band practice under the influence of drugs, which at one point involved him falling backwards over his own amp. Kiedis has since said that though the event should have been comical, it was instead pitiful and was the impetus for Navarro’s departure.

Californication (1998–2001)

In the years following his departure from the band, it became public that John Frusciante had developed an addiction to heroin, which left him in poverty and near death. He was talked into admitting himself to Las Encinas Drug Rehabilitation Center in January 1998. He concluded the process in February of that year and began renting a small apartment in Silver Lake. He acquired many injuries/problems in the years of his addiction, some requiring surgery, including permanent scarring on his arms, a restructured nose, and new teeth to prevent fatal infection.

In April 1998, Flea visited his former band-mate and openly invited Frusciante to re-join the band, an invitation an emotional Frusciante readily accepted. Within the week and, for the first time in six years, the reunited foursome gathered to play, and jump-started the newly reunited Red Hot Chili Peppers. Anthony Kiedis said of the situation:

For me, that was the defining moment of what would become the next six years of our lives together. That was when I knew that this was the real deal, that the magic was about to happen again. Suddenly we could all hear, we could all listen, and instead of being caught up in our finite little balls of bullshit, we could all become players in that great universal orchestra again.

Despite the band’s elation by Frusciante’s return, he was both mentally and physically torn. Frusciante had not played with the band since his departure and having previously lost every guitar he owned in a house fire from which he barely escaped, he experienced a difficult time resuming the life prior to his drug usage. His talent did, however, resurface and new songs began to roll out. On June 8, 1999, after over a year of production and meticulous practice, Californication was released as the band’s seventh studio album. An almost instant achievement, the album ultimately sold over 15 million copies worldwide and became the band’s most successful recording to date. Californication contained fewer rap-driven songs than its predecessors, instead integrating textured, consistent, and melodic guitar riffs, vocals and bass-lines.

Californication peaked at #3in the US and produced three more number one modern rock hits: “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside” and “Californication. “Scar Tissue” won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. It was also performed at the ceremony and included a brief jam with rapper Snoop Dogg at its culmination. Other singles included “Around The World”, “Road Trippin”, and “Parallel Universe”, which broke the Top 40 modern rock charts despite not having been commercially released as a single.

In July 1999, as part of the band’s two-year long international world tour in support of their new album, the Red Hot Chili Peppers played at Woodstock 1999. Some 10 minutes before the show, they were asked by Jimi Hendrix’s sister to play a cover of her brother’s songs. After some hesitation, the band decided to play his classic “Fire”, which they had covered inMother’s Milk. Coincidentally, about two thirds of the way into the band’s set, the closing set of the three day concert, a small fire escalated into full-fledged vandalism and resulted in the intervention of riot control squads.

In 2001, the Chili Peppers released their first concert DVD, Off the Map. The DVD was directed by longtime friend Dick Rude, who had also produced the music videos for “Catholic School Girls Rule” and “Universally Speaking”. The footage was taken from two different concerts, but was amalgamated with transition and indistinguishable song conversions.

By the Way (2002–2005)

The band began writing their next album in early 2001, and released Bay The Way over a year later, on July 9, 2002. The album, at the time, was their most noteworthy chart debut, selling over a million copies in first week and emerging at #2 on the Billboard 200. It produced five hit singles; “Bay The Way”, “The Zephyr Song”, “Can’t Stop”, “Dosed”, and “Universally Speaking”, and was the most subdued album they had generated to date, focusing primarily on melodic ballads as opposed to the Chili Peppers’ classic style of rap-driven funk. Frusciante also concentrated on a more layered texture on many of the songs, often adding keyboard parts (albeit, they featured very low in the mix) and also writing string arrangements for songs (such as ‘Midnight’ and ‘Minor Thing’) The album was followed by an eighteen month-long world tour.

The Chili Peppers recorded two new songs, “Fortune Faded” and “Save The Population” for their Greatest Hits album released in November 2003, peaking at #18 on the Billboard 200. However, “Universally Speaking” and “By the Way” were the only two songs from By the Way included in the compilation causing criticism as to why songs such as “Can’t Stop” and “The Zephr Song”, which were extremely successful, were not present.

The European leg of the By the Way tour produced the band’s second full-length concert DVD, Live at Slane Castle, which was recorded during a show at Slane Castle in Ireland on August 23, 2003. The band also went on to release their first full-length live album, Live in Hyde Park; recorded during their performances in Hyde Park, London. More than 258,000 fans paid over $17,100,000 in ticket sales to attend the band’s three night stand at the park; the event ranked #1 on Billboard’s Top Concert Boxscores of 2004.

It featured two previously unheard songs, “Rolling Sly Stone” and “Leverage of Space”, which are believed to have been unreleased tracks from the Greatest Hits sessions.

Stadium Arcadium (2006–2007)

In 2006 the band released the Grammy Award-winning Stadium Arcadium, produced by Rick Rubin. Although 38 songs were created with the intention of being released as three separate albums spaced six months apart the band instead chose to release a 28-track double album, with the remaining ten tracks released later as B-sides. It was their first album to debut at #1 on the US charts, where it stayed for two weeks, and debuted at number one in the UK and 25 other countries. In the album’s first week, it sold 442,000 units in the United States alone, and over 1,100,000 worldwide, setting a personal record for one week sales. By the end of 2006, Stadium Arcadium was named the best-selling album of the year, with over seven million units sold, and also recorded the highest one week in total sales of the year.

The record’s first single “Dani California, was the band’s fastest-selling single, debuting on top of the Modern Rock chart in the US, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching #2 in the UK. This song was also included in the movie Death Noteas the title theme song. “Tell Me Baby”, released next, also topped the charts in 2006. “Snow (Hey Oh)” was released in late 2006, breaking multiple records by 2007. The song became their eleventh number one single, giving the band a cumulative total of 81 weeks at number one (all singles combined). It was also the first time three consecutive singles by the band made it to number one. “Desecration” was released internationally in February 2007 and has reached number 27 on the UK charts. “Hump de Bump” was planned to be the next single for the US, Canada, and Australia only, but due to positive feedback from the music video, it was released as a worldwide single in May 2007.

The band began another international world tour in support of Stadium Arcadium in 2006, beginning with promotional concerts in Europe and culminating in a two-month long European tour from late May to mid-July. The group then toured North America from early August to early November, returning to Europe later in November for a second leg that ran until mid-December. The Chili Peppers began the year of 2007 with a second North American leg, this time including Mexico in addition to the United States, from mid-January to mid-March. This was followed by shows in various cities in Australia and New Zealand, from early-to-mid April and concerts in Japan in early June. The Chili Peppers recently finished touring Europe for another leg from late June to late August. They appeared at the Live Earth concert at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 7, 2007. Throughout the course of their tour, the band appeared at several festivals, including Ireland’s Oxegen in July 2006, Lolapalloza in August 2006 in Grant Park, Chicago, a subsequent set at the Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival in Indo California, in late April 2007 and in August 2007 they appeared as one of three headliners at the Reading and Leeds festivals. The other two being Razorlight and Smashing Pumpkins.

In February 2007, Stadium Arcadium won 6 Grammys: Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song (“Dani California”), Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (“Dani California”), Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package, Best Producer (Rick Rubin), and Best Short Form Music Video (“Dani California”). The ceremony included a live performance of “Snow (Hey Oh)”, their single at the time, complete with confetti snow.

Hiatus (2007–Present)

Anthony Kiedis told Rolling Stones in an interview published May 20, 2008 that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are “disbanded for the moment.” Following the last leg of the tour promoting Stadium Arcadium, the band members have been on a break. Kiedis attributes this to the band being worn out from their years of nonstop work since Californication. Kiedis explained that he is currently preoccupied with taking care of his new son, while Flea is experimenting with new musical ideas, Frusciante is continuing his solo career, and Chad Smith is in Japan working with a jazz band. Smith is also currently working with Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, and Michael Anthony in the supergroup Chickenfoot. The band plans to remain on hiatus for “a minimum of one year.” However, Kiedis has stated that he is eager to start thinking about new material.

Nevertheless, band members appear divided as to what they want for the future of the band. According to Smith, the group was to get together to discuss their next album tentatively in September 2008. Smith went on to say that “some of our best stuff is yet to come. For some reason we have a special thing, the four of us. We’ve changed the chemistry of the band a couple of times. When John [Frusciante] rejoined for the second time, we were like: ‘This is a special chemistry we have.'”However, Flea enrolled at USC fall 2008 and stated that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are on a “major hiatus”, the duration of which will be “two years”. According to Flea, “We just needed two years. We had our noses to the grindstones so hard for so long. We needed to get away from it and get a fresh perspective on things.” He also stated that they have no tenth album planned, yet he has also stated that he is very anxious to release more music. In early 2009, Frusciante stated that: “the official news is just that there’s no plans to do anything and we’re on a hiatus of an indefinite length. […] There’s just absolutely no plans to do anything and, that’s it. Yeah, we worked really hard for ten years and, you know, there’s other things in life.”

The band’s newest recording was in 2008 with George Clinton (who also produced 1985’s “Freaky Styley”) on his latest album “George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love”. Accompained by Kim Manning, the band recorded a new version of Shirley and Lee’s classic “Let The Good Times Roll”.(www.wikipedia.org)

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Album Present”

  1. Interesting blog, has some pretty useful information.

  2. same blog information with mine…keep posting…:)

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