Remembering the Red Hot Chili Peppers


Jocelyn Lopez

Trinity takes a moment to set her playlist featuring the RHCP.

Trinity Collins, Staff Writer

Resilient. Ambitious. Outlandish. Innovative.  Born out of a joke, The RHCP engaged in the shock value of 70’s rock bands employing the use of only tube socks on stage. The band consists of 4 members: Anthony Kiedis being the lead singer, Flea being the bassist, lead guitarist John Frusciante, and drummer Chad Smith. It’s hard to put a pin on what exactly their music is but it can mostly be described as alternative, pop punk, funk, hard rock, and psychedelic rock. The influence of their music is phenomenal and still going. Recently the band released their twelfth studio album called Unlimited Love which welcomed back John Frusciante for the second time after he first left in 2009 and joined again in 2019. 

The band was originally formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The band members have been changed around a few times for different reasons, but regardless of who was playing Kiedis and Flea always gave them their classic sound. The band actually started as a joke to play a single gig at a club, these two would’ve never guessed what that joke turned into.

Their first taste of fame was when their song Under The Bridge hit the top charts and the band began climbing them regularly, soon being only outsold by Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Again, it was Kiedis and Flea who started the band with childhood friends, Slovak and Irons, whose original band name was Tony Flow and the miraculously majestic masters of mayhem.

 Their gimmick on stage became wearing Tactically placed socks. As they gained more traction they drifted from the name of Tony Flow and became The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Shortly after they reached a good level of success they lost Slovak to a heroin overdose causing Irons to leave, now here comes smith and Frusciante. They soon had their first gold album which won them a grammy for the song Give it Away. After more Grammys and gold albums, the band took a hiatus in 2008 when Frusciante left to make his own music. The band returned for another album and was soon inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

The Chili Peppers have had many ups and downs, they’ve made rock and roll history performing on rooftops and shattering barriers but they’ve also felt heartbreak, loss, disappointment, and frustration with each other. The death of Slovak was one of those heartbreaks, especially considering he was a founding member of the band and a close friend, but in 1988 when Slovak was found dead in his apartment the whole band was in a state of despair. They’ve just lost a close friend plus the Funk style that Slovak brought to the band. Flea, whos been ranked one of the best all-time bassists in rock and roll history, owes his whole career to the inspiring sound of Slovak. But even flea had some major struggles with opioid addictions that were prescribed to him by a medical professional until flea said enough he was tired of being a lifeless shell of who he once was. Kiedis grew up in a very ¨hollywood¨ household due to his dad, John Keidis better known as Blackie Damment, being a struggling actor turned son’s biggest fan. Back to the chili pepper’s first big song Under The Bridge, which was about Keidis´s famous struggle with drug addiction. He began to feel alienated from his other band members once he stopped taking the drugs they still used, he began wandering the city and grew a bond with the city almost as if ¨she¨ looked out for him. The songs are not entirely about the sweet bond with the city though it was also referencing the lowest he’s ever sunk to score drugs. He wandered down to a bridge that was gang territory(rumored to be in MacArthur Park) and pretended to be engaged to a gang member’s sister, which he claims is just about the worst thing he’s done.

Now the Chili Pepper’s wild antics and indifference to rules or norms sets them aside from every other band. It could honestly be said the band paved the way for the ¨Rockstar Lifestyle¨: Drugs, sex, and violence all for the music. The passion is obvious in their songs whether it was chart-topping or not. They’ve always been real to who they are on stage, either with just a sock on, or other times when they’ve performed Dani California imitating some great music names like Elvis, Jimmy Hendrix, and the Beatles. The peppers have gotten into their fair share of trouble with this lifestyle such as the famous incident where two band members were arrested at Daytona beach for lude imitations with a young girl and got the whole band escorted away for disrupting the peace. This is just one of the lows, but one of the highs is an absolutely legendary concert performed on the roof of Venice Paparazzi Headquarters. It will go down in history forever how off the wall this was at the time, dancing and singing Raindance Maggie on the roof. 

Now proudly and forever displayed in the rock and roll hall of fame hangs an 8-pronged asterisk that Anthony randomly drew, and not only will it be displayed there, it’s hard to look anywhere without eventually seeing the symbol tattooed or on merchandise. The Chili Peppers were the first to follow Nirvana to the top while still keeping the music true to their Grungey and funk brand.