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Red Hot Chili Peppers is a world-famous alternative-funk-rock band formed in 1983 in Los Angeles, California. One of the more prominent bands in the '80s funk scene, they exploded in popularity during the '90s and '00s and are considered by some to be a leading force in Alternative Rock. Their music style and content has significantly progressed from the energetic funk-rock and Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll concerns in their earlier days to more melodic musical backing and more varied subject matter. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Notably, Josh is the youngest inductee into the Hall of Fame at the tender age of 32.This band is the Trope Namer to Catholic School Girls Rule, which is an infamous song from their second album Freaky Styley.The band currently consists of:
Considering that between them they've probably done enough illicit substances to kill a herd of buffalo (or at least their ex-guitarist Slovak), it's remarkable that they're all still alive. To give you an idea of how much they've done, John Frusciante overdosed on heroin. Twice.And lived. Many of their songs feature nonsensical lyrics, Epic Riffs and references to California. Especially references to California, considering Anthony Kiedis's lyrical inspirations.The Red Hot Chili Peppers (at the time, the "The" was part of their name) formed in 1983 with AnthonyKiedis on lead vocals, Flea (Michael Balzary) on bass, HillelSlovak on guitar, and JackIrons on drums. Slovak and Irons were forced to leave the band due to prior engagements (their band What Is This? also received a record deal), and were replaced by Jack Sherman and Cliff Martinez respectively.Their eponymous first album was panned by critics, due to production conflicts between Andy Gill, the album's producer, and the band. The Red Hots' second album, Freaky Styley, featured Slovak back on guitar (he had quit What Is This?), with Sherman kicked out after touring for the debut ended. George Clinton's production of the album helped establish the band's identity as a Funk Rock band. After the album's recording, Kiedis and Flea fired Martinez as they felt he was not committed to the band anymore. He was replaced with Irons, and the reunited original four members released their semi-successful third album The Uplift MofoParty Plan. The latter album was their most successful one at the time.Tragedy struck when Slovak was killed by a heroin overdose, prompting Irons's tearful departure from the band. Kiedis, a junkie at the time, cleaned up, and the band worked toward redemption. The band then recruited JohnFrusciante on guitar (their youngest member, then only eighteen) and ChadSmith on drums. The gang released Mother's Milk, their fourth album, in 1989. The album built on Plan's success and spawned two successful singles, the Ode To Sobriety "Knock Me Down" and the Funk Metal'd Stevie Wonder cover "Higher Ground". The band soon jumped from EMI to Warner Bros., and released their breakout album, 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik, on which famous Record ProducerRick Rubin gave them his trademark clear, straightforward production to benefit a concentrated, memorable batch of wacky genre-bending funk rock. This led them to critical acclaim and a wider audience thanks to the Epic Riff-filled hits "Give It Away" and "Under the Bridge".Frusciante, however, left the band mid-tour in 1992 because he hated the band's popularity, and he had alienated himself from the other band members. While Frusciante spent the next 5 years shooting up heroin in the Hollywood Hills and almost killing himself, the Peppers, after much thought, signed former Janes Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro in his place. Their sixth album, after many delays, was released in 1995. One Hot Minute was dark and psychedelic, in response to Kiedis's introspective, lyrical subject matter, where he openly confronted his drug relapse. Navarro's own preference for psychedelia over funk and jams remained dominant on the album, which created tension with Flea. Despite boasting some great music, it was a let-down from their super-hit previous album.The band entered a low point, punctuated after Frusciante, miraculously, checked himself into rehab in 1997. Navarro was let go to let Frusciante back in. The Peppers' 1999 hit seventh album Californication, and their slow, melodic, eighth album, released in 2002, By the Way, propelled them back to stardom. 2006's StadiumArcadium, their ninth album, was a vague Call Back to the band's funky roots while exploring new terrains in psychedelia and alternative. The band has since become world-famous and extremely influential, owing to their strong sense of community and friendship.Frusciante left the band for the second time (this time, on good terms with the rest of the members) in 2009. John was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer, a young guitarist that collaborated with Frusciante on many of the latter's solo albums and toured with the Red Hots during the Stadium Arcadium album promotion. Their tenth studio album, I'm with You, was released in August 2011, showcasing Josh's rich perspective and eclectic dimension to the Chilis' sound. The Chilis have teased some new songs during their live shows, which probably means that they are working on a new album.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)
Freaky Styley (1985)
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987) (the only album to feature their initial Kiedis-Flea-Slovak-Irons lineup)
Mother's Milk (1989)
Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
One Hot Minute (1995) (the only album featuring Navarro on Guitar)
I'm Beside You (2013) (the accompanying album to I'm With You, filled with b-sides. Get it? I'm b-side you?No?)
"Trope Sugar Index Magic":
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Abbey Road Crossing: The Abbey Road EP. The album cover is a hilarious parody, which features the original four members (Kiedis, Flea, Irons, and Slovak) walking across a Los Angeles road with their signature "socks on cocks" gimmick. For added hilarity, the dividing lines on the road in the background are zig-zagged.
Addiction Displacement: Psychoanalysts would agree that Kiedis's addiction to exercise, health and time with his son is a healthy means of channeling his previous drug addiction.
Kiedis said that the line from "Can't Stop", Sweetheart is bleeding in the snow cone/So smart she's leading me to ozone is about his periodic injections of ozone gas and how it helps him fight the hepatitis virus in his body. The entire song, in fact, is about his joy from being clean.
Affectionate Parody: The video for "Dani California" features the band singing the song dressed as humorous, but perfectly accurate parodies of rock acts from the 50s (Elvis) up until just prior to the modern day (Nirvana), ending with themselves dressed in their own typical concert attire, their logo hanging prominently in the background.
Album Title Drop: The Uplift Mofo Party Plan isn't a song on the album but is mentioned in "Fight Like a Brave" & "Organic Anti-Beat-Box Band".
Freaky Styley, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, One Hot Minute, Californication, By The Way and Stadium Arcadium all have their own title tracks as well.
In fact, the band wished to break away from the pattern of sharing their album names with a track, which is why they decided on the latest name, I'm With You.
Alternative Rock: Since the Chilis are signed to a major record label, their music genre is considered "alternative" instead of "indie", despite their style being very similar to that of indie bands (or vice-versa).
Answer Song: "Funky Crime" on The Uplift Mofo Party Plan was the band's answer to the rising wave of people who were saying that funk is solely a black genre of music.
Anti Police Song: "Police Station" on I'm With You. Granted, the song is much more gentle and metaphorical than others of its genre, but it does describe the abuses of the LAPD.
Auto-Tune: Completely averted by Anthony, despite continual pressure from various music executives, because he isn't exactly the best singer.
Bait and Switch: Before many performances of "Right on Time", the band jokes that they are going to play a Céline Dion song or an extremely soft song. They then break out into the intro of The Clash's "London Calling" before playing "Right on Time", which has a notoriously fast and intense slap-popping bassline.
The Casanova: Anthony Kiedis. Even in his fifties, he attracts young models and actresses. He has since regretted his womanizing tendencies, however; "Breaking the Girl" is a sobering reflection about his and his father's temporary, impersonal attachment to girls.
Cluster F-Bomb: Many of their songs qualify: "Pea", "Sex Rap", the obviously named "F.U."...
Concept Album: Arguably, Stadium Arcadium. The first disc is called Jupiter, the second is called Mars, and the album of B-sides is called Venus, to fit in with the spacey theme of the record. The band originally intended for the cover art to reflect this (a blue Jupiter, Mars, and Venus on each respective disc), but they scrapped this idea.
Concept Video: Quite a few, with "Californication", "Otherside" and "Scar Tissue" being some of the standouts. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a husband-and-wife director duo, and Stéphane Sednaoui, a French director, have directed a number of their videos.
"Californication" involves the band in video game personas going in CGI representations of various parts of California. The ending has Los Angeles falling apart due to a massive earthquake indicating the fall of Hollywood culture; the band falls to the center of the Earth, where they turn into their real life representations. (directed by Dayton and Faris)
"Otherside" is set in a faux German Impressionist world. It involves a young man (not any of the band members) battling increasingly strange monsters while the band plays around him, until the man falls in the same position in which he was found in the beginning. (directed by Dayton and Faris)
"Scar Tissue" has the band going through a desert (very similar to the one in the "Give It Away" video) with the band bruised and injured, representing their revival. This was directed by Sednaoui, who had also directed "Give It Away".
Dark and Troubled Past: The whole band to some degree or another, what with the constant fighting and breaking up, the heavy drug abuse and stints in rehab and one of their key members and best friends dying. They got better though.
Darker and Edgier: To some extent, One Hot Minute, as it featured a heavier sound and darker lyrics compared with their previous albums.
Digital Piracy Is Okay: Flea lampshades this in this performance of "Desecration Smile", where he says "this song is brand-new, so be sure to bootleg it and put it on the Internet". Funnily enough, this performance was done two years before the song was released on Stadium Arcadium, before the band completely changed the chorus and bridge.
They had enough material to make I'm With You a double album as well. However, they opted instead to release a single album with a couple of B-side tracks every month.
John Frusciante's first solo album was called "Niandra Lades & Usually Just A T-shirt", released in 1994. He originally meant to release two separate albums - "Niandra Lades" and "Usually Just a T-shirt" - but decided instead to combine the two albums because he felt that he was going to die due to his heroin addiction. That's why the second half of the album features thirteen "Untitled" songs: he never got around to naming them.
Double X: Quixoticelixer from the iTunes bonus tracks.
The reverse is true for fans who got into the band back in the EMI period - the modern day Peppers are completely weird compared to their familiar original incarnation.
Echoing Acoustics: John Frusciante is a big fan of this. His independent work, especially since he left the band in 2009, involves heavy electronic reverb, which can especially be seen in Enclosure and PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone, and their subsequent EPs.
By the Way was mostly produced by Frusciante. The acoustics overrode the bass on most of the songs, especially on "Minor Thing" and "Warm Tape", which is part of the reason Flea almost left the band at this time.
Epic Rocking: "Sir Psycho Sexy," "Turn it Again," and "Venice Queen". Also "In Love Dying" from the I'm With You B-sides.
Explicit Content: Stadium Arcadium and I'm With You are the only two RHCP albums to not be labeled as such.
Kiedis once said, in response to whether he was okay with the albums being labeled as such, "It doesn't bother me. Our lyrics are very explicit, whether it's about sex or friendship or love for life in general."
BSSM does play with this near the end. "Sir Psycho Sexy" was supposed to be (and considered by most fans to be) the final track in the album. However, the band decided to shoehorn a cover of "They're Red Hot" by Robert Johnson at the very end. Since there was no way to combine the tracks perfectly, the Chilis decided to record the latter outside, near a highway. The former song, then, fades out to the sound of the side of a highway, where the latter song picks up.
This is done on One Hot Minute where "Walkabout" goes into "Tearjerker".
Falling Bass: In "By the Way" and "Stadium Arcadium", Flea's bass disappears in the end during John's chord Fade Out.
Four More Measures: Anthony does this a lot live. There's one instance during this performance of "21st Century" where he begins the bridge before Flea and John have played their four intro measures; he then tries cutting back into the verses, before John shuts him up with a shake of the head.
Funk: Freaky Styley because George Clinton produced it. Blood Sugar Sex Magik with its rhythmic grooves and funk. The band themselves, when not called Alternative Rock, are usually just classified as Funk Metal, though that probably doesn't apply as much after 1999.
Garfunkel: While Chad is considered a great drummer, he's the least influential of the band (Anthony writes the lyrics, Flea and John Frusciante write the music, Chad just plays).
It should be noted, though, that Chad is highly regarded in drummer circles. He's also liked for being down to earth and for revealing new RHCP information early, even when he not's supposed to.
Chad's somewhat more taciturn personality compared to the rest of the band has arguably been important to the band's continued existence. Anthony Kiedis notes in his autobiography Chad being the glue that held them together when things got rough.
Chad himself has said a good drummer compliments the rest of the band, and doesn't blaze new trails for himself.
Genre-Busting: You'll never see a better illustrated example than the music video for "Dani California"
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The record company made them change the names of two tracks. First was "Blowjob Park", which was renamed to "Battleship" for its inclusion on Freaky Styley. The second, "Party On Your Pussy", was changed to "Special Secret Song Inside". The lyrics remained the same. Humorously, EMI had plans to release "Special Secret Song Inside" as a single until they realized what the lyrics were about. "Party On Your Pussy" had its original title reinstated on the 2004 remaster. "Battleship" didn't, but this might had to do with ex-member Jack Sherman co-writing it.
In the video for "Around The World", Anthony Kiedis is briefly seen playing with a vaguely human-shaped blob of light. At some point, he's quite clearly performing oral sex on it.
Gone Horribly Wrong: At Woodstock 1999, Jimi Hendrix's sister approached the band and asked them to do a cover of one of her brother's songs. The band decided to play the cover after performing "Under the Bridge", during which they handed out lit candles to the audience as a symbol of peace; then, they decided to perform a cover of "Fire". All hell broke loose.
And the version of "Give It Away" that appears in The Simpsons episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled".
The lyric from "Tell Me Baby", "Chitty chitty baby when your nose is in the nitty-gritty/Life could be a little sweet but life could be a little shitty" is rapped so fast that it's difficult to catch the swear word at the end. However, on some radio versions of the song, "shitty" is somehow replaced with "kitty" using an audio mixer.
Greatest Hits Album: Two: What Hits?!, the biggest hits of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' EMI years (which were not noted for being much of a success, hence the title) and Greatest Hits, a proper hits album featuring their Warner years released a decade later. Both include a song of the other phase ("Under the Bridge" and "Higher Ground", respectively).
There are a number of compilations which have 10 tracks that also appear on What Hits!?. EMI licensed these tracks to various budget labels for unknown reasons. They aren't considered canon.
The song "Show Me Your Soul", which never previously appeared on an album, was featured in What Hits!?. It gained mild popularity following its release.
In fact it was recorded for the Pretty Woman soundtrack in 1990. The target audience of that movie generally wasn't into funk so it wasn't that noticed at the time. It was a promo single and B Side to the second version of Taste The Pain and the Australian version of Knock Me Down (both released in 1990). It was included on What Hits?! because it was a single, sort of.
Grief Song: "Knock Me Down" and "My Lovely Man" are inspired by guitarist Hillel Slovak's death.
"This is the Place", "Soul to Squeeze", "Dosed", and other songs also referenced Hillel in the lyrics.
"Death of a Martian" is about the death of Flea's dog, Martian.
"Brendan's Death Song" is about the death of Brendan Mullen.
Gloria Scott, a long-time friend of the band and the woman accredited for aiding Anthony's sobriety, had "Venice Queen" written about her. The title is a reference to the fact that she was planning to buy a flat in Venice Beach before she died.
Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Anthony, especially during his earlier days. Granted, he was able to hit approximate notes and work extensively toward recording melodic songs (especially "Under the Bridge", which took him hundreds of takes to semi-perfect). However, his live performances suffered in quality, even sometimes to the present day. He even stated that he never took singing seriously until Californication, when he hired a vocal coach and rigorously trained.
"Tell Me Baby" also counts; it's about how people get swept under the rug in Hollywood's mad race to choose up-and-coming starlets and musicians.
Hypocritical Humor: In an interview about Josh joining the band, Anthony said auditioning doesn't work for them, to which Chad agrees. Chad joined the band through auditions.
I Am the Band: Arguably, Anthony. Flea plays a side band known as Atoms for Peace, Chad drums for a band named Chickenfoot, Josh has performed with varying artists, and Frusciante has released and continues to release many solo albums. However, Anthony is solely known for his work in RHCP and he and Flea have consistently been in the band since its inception; not counting, however, the few months Anthony was fired early on in the band's history due to his drug addiction. Still, Anthony is the more recognized face of RHCP.
Iconic Song Request: "Give it Away" has been performed live no less than 700 times since 1991. "Under the Bridge" has been performed about 600 times. In fact, during the Stadium Arcadium Tour, when the band sometimes left both songs out of some of their setlists, it created tension with many audiences.
Immune to Drugs: When Kiedis was sent to the hospital for injuring his arm after a car accident, he needed seven doses of morphine before the pain could be somewhat alleviated. Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a normal 150-pound person would be killed from that kind of dose. A lifetime of drug abuse didn't really help him.
Arguably, his lyrics have gotten even more incomprehensible in recent years, primarily because Kiedis intends them to mean something. Older songs were pretty much explicitly about sex, friendship or the funk. His more recent lyrics use a lot of poetic lyrics about the effects of drug use, romance and the environment. The lyric to Look Around, for instance, seems to be a collection of random phrases, but has a meaning.
Inherited Illiteracy Title: Played with in "Fat Dance", a Californication b-side. The song is about getting into a fat dance with a girl... before the bridge reveals that the song is about Anthony's ex-girlfriend, Yohanna Logan, who is anything but fat◊. Frusciante stated in an interview that the song was originally spelled "Phat Dance", which stands for Pretty Hot And Tempting, before the spelling got changed for some reason.
Surprisingly averted on "Californication", which actually has more to do with cultural homogenization.
Nearly every song on Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but their eight-minute "Sir Psycho Sexy" is arguably this taken Up to Eleven. Averted with that album's "Give It Away", which is actually about giving away possessions. Well... semi-averted anyway.
Pretty much averted on every album made after 1991. A Rolling Stone Magazine critic lampshaded the fact that the guy who used to sing "I want to party on your pussy" now sings "All I want is for you to be happy".
Songs such as "C'mon Girl" do deal with sex, but in a more mature form.
Jail Bait: "Let's Make Evil", a One Hot Minute b-side:
Seventeen and thirty-one
I am just my mother's son
Brown eyes and a silver tongue
All the mothers come undone
At the sight of me
Kids Rock: "Aeroplane" has a choir of children at the end (one of whom is Flea's daughter).
"We Believe" has children singing and harmonizing the final chorus. "Open/Close" does the same thing at the very end.
Knuckle Tattoos: Flea has "LOVE" etched onto the knuckles of his right hand. This is actually mentioned in the lyrics of "Charlie":
EMI knew this, which is why they licensed the band's then biggest hit "Under The Bridge" from Warner Bros. "Behind The Sun" was released as a single to promote What Hits?! and was a respectable hit at the time, thanks to cashing in on the popularity of the band's Blood Sugar Sex Magik album.
Larynx Dissonance: Here's an experiment: go up to someone who has never heard John sing, have them close their eyes, and play this cover of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer". Guarantee that they will assume that the singer is a girl.
Josh too. His backing vocals on "Hanalei" (the You and I do more than merely survive part) are absolutely feminine-sounding.
Lead Bassist: Despite being a respected, famous bassist, Flea adheres to a minimalist philosophy, focusing more on playing melodic, supporting bass lines that complement the other instruments, rather than playing multiple notes at the same time.
This is actually only dating back to Blood Sugar Sex Magik. On previous albums, Flea was happy to show off and play ultra-fast slap-bass assaults, and he said that it was only on BSSM that he got tired of his busy style and decided that "I have to chill out and play half as many notes".
Of course there are more than a few exceptions, most notably in tracks like "By The Way", "Throw Away Your Television" and "Hump De Bump".
Leave the Camera Running: The video for "Desecration Smile", which features the four band members just singing the song and fooling around.
Lighter and Softer: By The Way (and the subsequent albums, depending on whom you ask) is often seen as this by hardcore fans.
By The Way is intentionally so. Rick Rubin suggested to the band that they play down the punk and funk and focus on their poppier elements. At the time, some of the older fans thought that the band had abandoned funk music, but it was apparent this was not the case for Stadium Arcadium.
"Dani California" lists states that "Dani", the main character, lived in.
Literary Allusion Title: "If You Have to Ask" from BSSM is a reference to a famous quote by Louis Armstrong; when Armstrong was asked what jazz is, he replied, "If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
The song was released at a time when RHCP felt ostracized for being one of the few white bands still performing Funk Rock, which was solely considered a "black" form of music. This sentiment was even reflected in "Funky Crime" on The Uplift Mofo Party Plan.
Live Album: The Live at Slane Castle DVD and Live in Hyde Park CD, both recorded during the By the Way Tour.
What makes the case of this album particularly egregious is that even the vinyl mix was ruined - apparently, it was run through a digital dynamic range processor before being mastered for vinyl, which is usually mixed from analogue sources. The CDs of future RHCP albums were also brickwalled, but the vinyl mix of at least Stadium Arcadium was made from a pristine analogue mix by audiophile favourite Steve Hoffman that basically cancelled out all the CD version's flaws. With Californication, listeners don't have that option with any of the commercially available versions, so the whole thing is basically ruined.
There is, however, an unmastered version making the rounds on the Internets that does not have the clipping problems. This is one of those cases where the album can basically only be truly appreciated through piracy.
It's worth noting that One Hot Minute was pretty loud too, especially for its day. Not Californication levels of awful though.
Love Redeems: The most potent example is probably "Wet Sand". Flea stated in an interview that it's about the dark side of love and its redeeming qualities.
My sunny side has up and died, I'm betting then when we collide
The universe will shift into a low
The travesties that we have seen are treating me like Benzedrine
Automatic laughter from abroad...
You don't form in the Wet Sand, you don't form at all
You don't form in the Wet Sand, I do
Lyric Swap: The first three choruses of "Otherside" have Anthony singing "Slit my throat, it's all I ever-" before cutting himself off. In the final chorus, John finishes the sentence: "Slit my throat, it's all I ever had".
Lyrical Cold Open: "Your Eyes Girl", on I'm Beside You, opens with Flea yelling, "Oh... FUCK! SHIT!" before beginning the song. It's notable for being the only song on the album with a swear word in it, causing it to receive an Explicit Content label for a single transgression.
Lyrical Dissonance: Lots of songs. Especially the ones on I'm Beside You; "In Love Dying", for example, is a very gentle and calming song, with this particularly violent chorus:
Meaningful Funeral: While these songs are upbeat than most of this genre, "Venice Queen" and "Brendan's Death Song" are both about dead friends. The latter's music video even features a funeral march, while the former is more of a To Absent Friends.
Magick: for some reason spelled this way on Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Metal Scream: "Around the World" has one of these in the intro, and another partway through the song.
There are a few in "Give It Away" as well.
"Wet Sand" is a surprising one. The song is soft, until the ending bridge, when Kiedis lets off a pent-up scream with an all-out guitar solo from Frusciante.
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally 4 or 5. They drop to a 3 with Breaking The Girl, while songs like Californication and Under The Bridge would be a 2. Occasionally, they go up to a 6 (Parallel Universe, etc.), or write songs with different sections that make them a bit harder to place accurately (Does the ultra-fast, distortion-laden, Metal Scream intro and bridge of Around the World make it a 5? Does the melodic chorus make it lower?). It should be noted, however, that the album Californication sounds heavier than it is due to Loudness War making it distorted. The Californication outtake "Slowly Deeply" (Released belatedly as the B-Side to Universally Speaking CD 2 in 2003) is one of the heaviest songs the band has ever done.
The band had a notable hardcore punk influence in their earlier days, as heard on "You Always Sing The Same", "Battleship", "Catholic School Girls Rule", "Skinny Sweaty Man", "No Chump Love Sucker", "Love Trilogy", "Stone Cold Bush" and "Punk Rock Classic", "The Greeting Song", "Search And Destroy" and "Sikamikanico" most of which are in the 7 or 8 area.
"One Hot Minute" has some moments which indicate a metal influence, these being "Warped", "Coffee Shop", "One Big Mob", "One Hot Minute", "Shallow Be Thy Game" and the closing part of "Transcending".
They covered 45 Grave's song Black Cross, which proves that they are capable of playing at least an 8 on the scale. The unreleased original "Mini-Epic", from around the same time, has a hardcore punk/thrash metal influenced section at the end which is probably the heaviest they played in years.
They've started really dropping down the scale after Californication, which has fueled fan arguments about Lighter and Softer and They Changed It, Now It Sucks. It doesn't help that a lot of newer fans either don't know about or ignore their pre-Mother's Milk albums and One Hot Minute, despite how awesome they are.
The B-Side "Eskimo" has one of the heaviest choruses they've ever done, despite having subdued (if eerie) verses. The unreleased track "Fall Water" recorded around the same time follows a similar pattern.
"Body Of Water" is feedback drenched and grungy, although is rather melodic. "Victorian Machinery" was seen by fans as being quite similar to One Hot Minute era material.
Mood Whiplash: Some of their albums are sequenced in a way that causes this. An example would be how "Under the Bridge" is immediately followed by "Naked In The Rain".
"Grand Pappy Du Plenty", a melancholic instrumental that appears at the end of their first album is definitely this, ESPECIALLY as it comes after 9 tracks of funk rap and hardcore punk. The song was a rare example of Flea's sensitive side, and an obvious indication that he did get on with Jack Sherman and Andy Gill at some point.
"One Big Mob" on One Hot Minute has hardcore rap verses surrounding a soft three-minute bridge, which incorporates a recording of Dave Navarro's young brother crying in his crib.
It's not about religion and the God, sitting in a chair in the sky,
With a punishing hand, no...
It's about, heaven in your hearts!
Now, when can we start...?
Motor Mouth: Anthony used to be able to rap quite fast up until Magik. Afterwards he started to de-emphasize rapping in favour of singing. (Or as a joke goes, he used to mostly rap and sometimes sing, but now he mostly sings and sometimes raps.)
Anthony doesn't like playing rap-heavy songs like "Storm In A Teacup" live, but he still raps "Give It Away" due to its popularity.
Anthony actually does this on "By The Way" and "Tell Me Baby", but people don't always notice because there is such a pop sheen to them.
Music of Note: Both "Pretty Little Ditty" from Mother's Milk and "Brendan's Death Song" on I'm With You came straight from the first jams the band did with their new guitarists: John and Josh, respectively. The latter is more significant, because it occurred on the same day the band's good friend, Brendan Mullen, passed away.
New Sound Album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik perfected their funk-rock fusion. Californication unveiled RHCP v2.0, which became more and more of a melodic rock band than a pure funk-rock band.
In fact, Flea has been known to get upset if his bass-playing is not the center of attention - he almost left the band in the By The Way period because John Frusciante's layers of guitar, backing vocals and electronics were pushing Flea's bass into the background (hence the reason for songs like "By The Way", "Can't Stop" and "Throw Away Your Television").
Ode To Sobriety: "Knock Me Down", "Under The Bridge", "Otherside" and "Snow" are type 3.
Older Than They Think: For some reason, the younger fans of the Chili Peppers seem to constantly forget that the band formed in 1983, and are thus always amazed that "old folks" in their late 40s and early 50s know who the band is and are fans themselves.
Once a Season: Or (nearly) once an album: an ode to deceased guitar player Hillel Slovak ("Knock Me Down" from Mother's Milk; "My Lovely Man" from Blood Sugar Sex Magik; "Bob" from One Hot Minute B-sides; "Savior" from Californication; "This is the Place" from By the Way; "Joe" from Stadium Arcadium B-sides; "Open/Close" from I'm Beside You).
Chris Rock even said that the first time he heard the Peppers live was when he went to a concert, expecting to listen to Flash. He went to the wrong venue, however, but he noted that the Red Hots were just as good as Flash. Since then, he has been both a longtime friend and fan of the band.
Rearrange the Song: Since around the By the Way Tour, "Give it Away" has been performed with a part of Public Enemy's "You're Gonna Get Yours" in the intro.
"Dosed" and "Behind the Sun" are two album songs the Chilis have never completely performed live, despite having released them as singles.
The former is admittedly difficult to perform, due to the fact that it utilizes four guitars; Josh has gotten around that live, playing each guitar part individually and looping them for a minute, but never playing the entire song.
A part of the latter has been performed in a few "Give it Away" outro jams, but without the sitar effect.
"Breaking the Girl" has been performed less than twenty times over the past 23 years. During the bridge, Chad uses a cowbell to incompletely mimic the percussion noises on the recording.
In fact, Blood Sugar Sex Magik,Stadium Arcadium, and a variety of songs were even recorded in Rubin's house, "The Mansion". John Frusciante claims that during the Magik sessions, the band felt that the house was haunted, and they are not the only band to have recorded at "The Mansion" and said that afterwards. John didn't mind, but Chad was so unnerved that he refused to live in the mansion with the band, going back home whenever a day's session was finished.
However, there are reports that Rick is not going to produce the band's next album: this is the first time in 25 years that he isn't going to be a producer.
Recurring Character: "Dani", a character referred to in the lyrics of three of the band's post-1999 songs (coincidentally, all of them were hits for the band): "Californication", "By the Way" (where she is first mentioned by name) and the aptly titled "Dani California", which focuses on her.
Anthony co-wrote "What It Is" with Nina Hagen, and a lot of the lyrics from the song are featured in his earliest songs.
The lines Love all your brothers and love all your sisters and With the power of it we are about to astound are featured in "The Brother's Cup."
The line The smile of a dolphin is a built in feature is used in the song "Green Heaven."
The band performed a song called "Set It Straight" in a movie called Tough Guys in 1985. Although an original song, it never appeared on record, and there was not even a soundtrack album for the movie. Thus the only place it can be heard is that movie. However, they did recycle the chorus line "Set It Straight forever, better late than never" into "Fight Like A Brave", as "It's better late then never to set, ah set it straight".
When "Higher Ground" was released as a single in 1989, remixes were made. Anthony gave the remixers some extra raps to use to make the remixes more interesting. One of them didn't get used in the song, but did appear as a short 11 second B side called "Politician (Mini Rap)". It solely consists of Anthony rapping the line "Not another motherfuckin politician doin' nothing but something for his own ambition", which they reused in "The Power Of Equality" two years later.
Parts of the melody of "Rivers Of Avalon" was used in "This Is The Place", which is the main reason that "Rivers Of Avalon" was a B-Side. The same goes for "Time", parts of which were recycled for "By The Way".
The bridge melody for the unreleased By The Way sessions song "Goldmine" was used for "I Could Die For You", which is part of the reason why "Goldmine" has never been released (the other reason being that it was unfinished).
Refrain from Assuming: Some of the songs aren't named after the chorus, e.g. "Dani California". One would assume the song is titled "California Rest In Peace".
It's a running joke among fans that newbies will call Under The Bridge "Take me to the place I love" or "City Of Angels". When "Love Rollercoaster" was a single, people would often call it "Rollercoaster Of Love".
Your hell is something scary, I prefer a loving god
We are not the center of this funny universe
And what is worse I do not serve in fear of such a curse
Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Dawn Alane, the woman on the cover of Mother's Milk. The band at this time was very overtly sexual (Chad once practically assaulted a female interviewer on live TV), so she was extremely uncomfortable with baring her chest for the camera. This was especially so after she discovered that the record label used her picture without informing her, and Flea and Chad had written extremely inappropriate things on promotional posters of her with her breasts exposed. She sued the band and settled for fifty thousand dollars. Anthony even said, "I couldn't understand why we couldn't have found a model who was happy to have her tits on a cover."
Remaster: There's a completely different version of "Purple Stain" recorded in 1998. It bears many similarities to the album version; however the demo version had its chorus overhauled, it has a minute-long jam in the middle that was later cut, and the lyric Android loves got John Frusciante is repeated much more often.
Repurposed Pop Song: "The Greeting Song" was nearly picked up by Chevrolet because of its lyrics; Anthony decided not to give the company the rights to the song, by way of Creator Backlash.
Rockers Smash Guitars: Hillel and Flea. John and Josh don't get that into their music, but they have broken their fair share of strings.
Both have had temper tantrums with their equipment on stage, however. Josh, in fact, recently broke his foot in Oakland, California after getting angry with the tone of his guitar solo during the song "Otherside". He later apologized on stage for it, though.
Sampling: "Punk Rock Classic" interpolates an extremely twisted version of "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N Roses at the end of it as a parody of the implication that hair metal bands paid MTV off to play them. These days, Guns N Roses are so well respected, many might not even realise the point behind that.
"Give it Away" interpolates Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" at the end of it. An intentional Shout-Out on Frusciante's behalf.
Subverted when it seems as though "Dani California" samples Tom Petty's "Last Dance with Mary Jane" at the end. "Dani California" is tuned a half step higher than the latter, and Tom Petty didn't really care whether or not the song was intentionally copied or not.
Crazy Town's megahit "Butterfly", released in 2000, samples a part of RHCP's "Pretty Little Ditty" from Mother's Milk throughout the entire song. It became much more popular; it was certified Gold in the US and Platinum in at least three other countries, while "Pretty Little Ditty" was never released as a single.
Scatting: On a few occasions. Notably the final chorus of "Around the World":
I know, I know, for sure
Ding dang dong dong ding dang dong dong ding dang
I know, I know, it's true
Ding dang dong dong ding dang dong dong ding dang
Anthony also does this when he forgets the lyrics of his own songs live (which happens a lot).
Sequel Song: As mentioned above, "By the Way" and "Dani California" are spiritual sequels to "Calfornication", all describing the same girl, Dani.
Sex God: Anthony portrayed himself as such in his earlier songs. Notably in "Sir Psycho Sexy", and "Out in L.A.", where he inserted himself under the pseudonym Antwaan the Swan. From "Out in L.A."
Antwaan the Swan, from the pretty fish pond
Was a bad mother jumper, you could tell he was strong
He wore a cold paisley jacket and a hellified hat
And between his legs was a cocksucking lass
He threw a hundred women up against the wall
And he swore to fear that he'd fuck 'em all
By the time he got to ninety nine, he had to stop
Because that's when he thought that he heard a fault
Short Title: "If" on Stadium Arcadium. It's also the shortest song on the album.
Shout-Out: The video for "Dani California" features the band dressing in the style of several other bands, and in some cases even doing an homage to one of the band's videos. Most blatant during the line "Gone too fast," when Kiedis is dressed like Kurt Cobain.
Siamese Twin Songs: Subverted with "One Big Mob" and "Stretch", which were originally one song that the band split into two and intended to follow each other on One Hot Minute. However, they removed "Stretch", and faded the former to cover the link. The band eventually released a version of the latter on iTunes which includes some of the original link between the former and it at the start. However it still doesn't quite join up.
"Love Trilogy" is the very first one, even noted in the title. The first part of the song is a minimalistic bass-heavy reggae song that is slightly eerie. The second part transitions into a funk rock song. The song gets faster and faster until it reaches the third part which is a hardcore punk song, one of the fastest songs the band ever played. The song then proceeds to slow down before ending in a similar tone to how it started.
"By The Way" is a notable example. The band intended for the song to be a ballad describing a Los Angeles evening: a girl singing songs to her boyfriend and a night of partying. The hardcore rap verse and the song's popularity in the UK led fans to give it a different connotation. Even the music video, toward which the band had ambivalent feelings due to the epic car chase, gave the song a shift in meaning.
"Around the World". The funky verses, the melodic choruses, and the distortion-heavy bridges do not have effective transitions between them.
"Can't Stop" has a funky verse and a kind of twee psychedelic chorus which takes a while to get used to if you are expecting it to be all funk.
On the reverse side of the coin, "Eskimo" has subdued verses and a very heavy chorus, as does the unreleased track "Fall Water". "This Velvet Glove" also applies. "Emit Remmus" also has relatively soft verses (although huge amounts of feedback going through them) and a heavy chorus.
"Transcending" on One Hot Minute begins as a soft song for the first 3 1/2 minutes- the song progresses into a screamed metal song for the last 2 minutes.
In fact, a lot of songs from One Hot Minute fit this trope. "Warped", "Deep Kick", "One Big Mob", and "One Hot Minute" all have ostentatious verses, followed by a melodic shift at some point in the song. On a symbolic level, this somewhat represents the conflict between the Red Hots' chill, funky music with Navarro's dark, psychedelic guitar-playing.
"Venice Queen". The song literally fades out and goes quiet for a second before the second part of the song begins.
"Tell Me Baby" seems to have been written to appeal to both the band's ballad and funk fanbases, and although it was a big hit, many fans regard it as a mess, due to the way it sounds like Anthony is going from being a tough macho man to being a twee lover between the bridge and the chorus.
"Victorian Machinery" from I'm Beside You is definitely this. The verses sound like something out of One Hot Minute; the choruses sound like those from By the Way or Stadium Arcadium. In effect, the song has the Chilis straddling two musical personas that have defined their style to this day.
The Something Song: "The Zephyr Song", "The Greeting Song", "Bicycle Song", "Brendan's Death Song", "Song That Made Us What We Are Today", "Special Secret Song Inside" (renamed to its original Party On Your Pussy on Uplift Mofo remaster),
John Frusciante has a few of these in his solo career "Nigger Song", "Prostitution Song", "Dying Song", "Wednesday's Song" "Song To Sing When I'm Lonely", "Song To The Siren" (though this is a Tim Buckley cover), and a variation in "The Last Hymn".
Songs of Solace: "Under the Bridge". The bridge named in the title is described as a highway underpass, where Kiedis would shoot speedballs. It has become so personal to him that he refuses to admit its location, stating that he doesn't "want people looking for it".
"Stadium Arcadium" is analogous to one.
Alone inside my forest room and it's storming
I never thought I'd be in bloom, but this is where I start...
The Stadium Arcadium, a mirror to the moon
I'm forming and I'm warming, state of the art until the clouds come crashing
Soprano and Gravel: Flea and Anthony (in early songs such as "Mommy Where's Daddy"), John and Anthony, and Josh and Anthony, respectively.
Southern Belle: "...with a scarlet drawl," as mentioned in "Scar Tissue."
Spelling Song: "Venice Queen" has the band singing "G-L-O-R-I-A is love... my friend." Gloria Scott was a drug counselor for Anthony, and the song is a tribute to her.
The horn section featured on Freaky Styley included George Clinton and James Brown alumni Maceo Parker on sax and Fred Wesley on trombone. Freaky Styley itself was produced by George Clinton.
Funnily enough, Clinton was going through problems with his drug dealer during that time: in order to repay him, he let the dealer sing "Look at that turtle go, bro!" on the song "Yertle the Turtle". The band loved this.
Flea even played the trumpet on tracks such as "Torture Me" and "Hump de Bump", and he has played the trumpet live on many occasions. In fact, he initially learned the trumpet.
On Magik, the band's friend Pete Weiss played jaw harp on "Give It Away", and mixing engineer Brendan O'Brien played the mellotron on "Sir Psycho Sexy", nearly inaudible piano on "Mellowship Slinky in B Major" and nearly inaudible toy celeste on "Apache Rose Peacock". John's mother Gail Frusciante and some of her friends were brought in to perform the female choir part in "Under the Bridge".
The Mars Volta guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López, a friend of Frusciante's who collaborated with him on a few of Frusciante's solo albums, played the solo in the song "Especially in Michigan" on Stadium Arcadium.
From the same album, "Warlocks" features clavinet by Billy Preston, in what would be one of his final recorded performances before his death later that year.
Ironically, Frusciante himself. He wrote the guitar riff for the song "Did I Let You Know" on I'm With You.
John was in fact on heroin during the performance. This was about the time (early 1992) when John hated everything the band stood for - its direction, its popularity, Anthony's ego, etc. - and decided to play an "experimental" version of the song after Anthony kicked him during a previous performance of "Stone Cold Bush". Anthony, who already struggled at singing that song, couldn't sing at the same tone as John's guitar, and nearly panicked on air in front of millions of people. John's backing vocals during the final bridge are particularly horrendous as well.
Starving Artist: John Frusciante, during the time he spent away from the band from 1992-1997. This interview recorded in 1994 is particularly difficult to watch; he has dark circles, yellow teeth, and is emaciated. He also seems absolutely pathetic. Thankfully, to this day, he lives healthily.
Step Up to the Microphone: "Knock Me Down" is sung by both Anthony Kiedis and John Frusciante but the latter's vocals are the most audible ones of the two. John's distinctively high-pitched vocals played an important role in the band after he joined, and are very obvious in many of their songs. In fact, Executive Meddling meant that "Knock Me Down" was subjected to additional mixing to make John's vocals louder than Anthony's. The Original Long Version of the song features Anthony's voice louder than John's.
"Pea" on One Hot Minute is sung entirely by Flea.
The album versions of "She's Only 18" and "I'll Be Your Domino" (a B-side) have Chad singing a few verses. However, he doesn't do this live.
Strawman Fallacy: "Millionaires Against Hunger", a Freaky Styley b-side, pulls one of these. Hillel plays a greedy millionaire who raps about not caring for the poor, while Anthony plays a nice millionaire who gives his money away, and even sings this chorus:
Hey, hey, Mr. Millionaire!
You're twice as nice when you share!
Hey, hey, Mr. Millionaire!
Spiritual price, do you care?
Sudden Downer Ending: The video for "Behind The Sun", made without the band's input to promote the What Hits?!Greatest Hits Album, features an animated dolphin frolicking happily in the water... until the final 30 seconds of the song, when the dolphin is killed by hunters. And all for a song that's serenely joyful in nature.
Most of that video is taken from the Higher Ground video (thus John and Chad appear) and the dolphins and everything were digitally added in. However, this fits the meaning of the song somewhat - if you see Behind The Sun as a sequel to their older song Green Heaven (and What It Is from which the dolphin lyrics in Heaven come) - as about how dolphins are intelligent creatures who run their society without hurting one another, which is contrasted with being an American citizen and suffering various injustices caused by corrupt politics - not even the peaceful dolphins can escape those.
Surprisingly Gentle Song: RHCP has quite a few of these, for example: "If", "Porcelain", "Someone", "Teenager In Love", "This Velvet Glove" (to an extent), "Dosed", "This Is The Place", "I Could Have Lied", "Breaking the Girl", "Under the Bridge", and "Soul to Squeeze".
However, the lyrics of the songs are often dissonant.
"This Is The Place", "Soul to Squeeze", and "Under the Bridge" describe Kiedis's drug addiction and a retrospective analysis of his past misdoings. Although "Under the Bridge" has a generally happier tone to it than the other two. (Frusciante admitted that this was intentional - when Kiedis showed him the lyrics, Frusciante claimed he mentally interpreted them as "sad", and wrote a "happy" riff for contrast.)
"Breaking The Girl" and "I Could Have Lied" are about breaking up with girls, the latter being about Sinéad O'Connor, and the former being about Kiedis's father's womanizing tendencies.
"Porcelain" is about a girl Kiedis met at a shelter with a young child, whom he feels sympathy for.
"Dosed", "This Is The Place" and "Soul to Squeeze" reference Hillel's death.
Their very first one would probably be "Lovin' and Touchin'" on Freaky Styley. Many fans thought it was a parody (from the sophomoric snickers at the end), but time has shown that it wasn't - it was Anthony showing his sensitive side which he kept hidden until "Under The Bridge". "Grand Pappy Du Plenty", "Lovin And Touchin", "Behind the Sun", "Knock Me Down", a cover of Sly And The Family Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay", and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand" helped shift their musical style.
Although One Hot Minute is commonly regarded as a heavy album, it has "Aeroplane", "My Friends", "Walkabout", "Tearjerker", "Falling Into Grace" and the first part of "Transcending" to balance it out.
Surreal Music Video: "The Zephyr Song" takes the cake. It throws together a bunch of garishly colorful and looping shots of the band members performing, flowers blooming, whorls, hip-hop dancers, kaleidoscopic shots, birds, smoke, and sexy girls, in an attempt to mimic psychedelia. Granted, it's not true psychedelia - the video effects are too computerized - but it's still weird and beautiful.
Take That Me: The video for "Dani California" features the band singing the song dressed as humorous, but perfectly accurate parodies of rock acts from the 50s (Elvis up until just prior to the modern day (Nirvana), ending with themselves dressed in their own typical concert attire, their logo hanging prominently in the background.
That Syncing Feeling: The Chilis have, on just three occasions in thirty years, played along with a pre-recorded track. During their Superbowl 2014 performance, NFL regulations stated that the band (with the exception of Anthony) had to pre-record their tracks. Since this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the band grudgingly went along with it. Flea and Josh decided to play with their guitars unplugged, because they felt that they owed it to the fans to know the truth. That, and Josh's frenetic convulsions during the guitar solo are a bit unrealistic. You can read Flea's statement about the performance here.
Title Only Chorus: "Me and My Friends", and arguably "Behind the Sun". "Look Around" is very close to it, the first half of the chorus has the title repeated, the second half has the similar "All Around".
Riding down the path on the back of a giraffe me and the giraffe laughed cause I passed some gas
Trash Can Band: For the bridge of "Breaking the Girl", the band went into the nearest garbage dump and rounded up a bunch of garbage for Chad to use as percussion, giving off this effect.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: Invoked at the end of "Can't Stop", with a board reading: "Inspired by the 'One-Minute Sculptures' of Erwin Wurm". Wurm is an Austrian modernist artist/photographer whose works revolve around unusual situations, like the ones the band protagonizes in said video.
Also "Otherside"; it's supposedly modeled after German art films, but whether it's a straight use or a parody is debatable.
Listening to them rant about their songs and their inspirations is sometimes confusing. In the early days they would describe everything in relation to sex, funk, punk, and their friendship, and in recent years they compare everything to beauty and their friendship.
Unplugged Version: A few, notably during their Bridgefoot School Benefit concerts in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Also a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, where they played "Under the Bridge".
Frusciante's become more modest since his return; he has nasty scars from his heroin days and usually covers up as a result. This was lampshaded in this interview, where the female interviewer laments that the band put their shirts back on (actually, Flea was the only one with his shirt off), and John can be seen rolling his eyes.
Flea on the other hand still plays shirtless, although not as often as he used to. At Woodstock 1999, he performed naked. His bass covered his junk for the entire show... until the very end, when he lifted his guitar up to give the whole world a peek.
Whilst Anthony doesn't do so as often, he did do it on his Superbowl 2014 appearance. Funnily enough, on Jimmy Fallon Live, Fallon recounted one hilarious incident where he was in a bar and went to compliment Anthony on his tee-shirt. Anthony promptly took it off and gave it to the slightly more heavyset Fallon, who awkwardly squeezed into it while the shirtless lead singer went to the bathroom.
The Walrus Was Paul: Frusciante stated in an interview that "Stadium Arcadium" was just a beautiful juxtaposition of words, nothing more. He even referenced "I Am The Walrus", stating that much like he doesn't really need to know what the walrus is, he doesn't really need to explain the symbolism of the song.
Wanderlust Song: "Walkabout" from One Hot Minute and "Road Trippin'" from Californication. "Ethiopia" from I'm With You can sort of be read this way.
"Road Trippin'" is an interesting example in that it recounts an actual road trip Anthony, Flea, and John took a few months after the latter rejoined the band. Thus, in the song, Chad doesn't play the drums, and he hilariously makes a cameo in the music video for the song which primarily focuses on the other three members.
Where Did We Go Wrong?: From "Righteous and the Wicked": Marvin Gaye my love/Where did we go wrong?. The line references Gaye, a famous but depressed artist who gave his abusive father a gun, knowing full well that he would shoot him: and did. The song is about the lack of humanity epitomized by greed and war, and Anthony laments this act of filicide.
There are some literally examples in the leaked By The Way Rough Mixes where Anthony sung gibberish to the vocal melody to get a feel for the tune before adding proper lyrics. There's a released example of this happening in the Californication sessions too, with the digital bonus track "Over Funk".
Word Salad Title: "Mellowship Slinky in B Major" from BSSM. Especially since the song is in D minor, the song doesn't mention a Slinky, and Mellowship isn't even a word.
Yarling: Anthony does his share of nasal singing. Notably in "Scar Tissue" and "This Velvet Glove".