Buyer's Guide: How to buy the best of Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of the great bands to come out of LA, the Chilis mixed funk and much more with rock, taking it to places it had never been before
Few bands have had as many second acts as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or third, fourth or fifth acts, for that matter. The group put together in Los Angeles in 1983 by high-school friends Anthony Kiedis and Michael ‘Flea’ Balzary have followed a wayward path that has taken them from Hollywood funk-rock brats to unlikely rock elder statesmen.
It’s been far from plain sailing. Even ignoring the turnover of band members (eight guitarists and four drummers to date), they’ve nearly been derailed more than once by drug addiction. Kiedis was fired briefly from his own band in 1987 due to a severe heroin problem, while guitarist John Frusciante’s original four-year stint saw him transformed from wide-eyed musical prodigy into crack-addled recluse holed up in the Chateau Marmont Hotel, painting pictures in his own blood. Both, though, fared better than founding guitarist Hillel Slovak, who died of an overdose in June 1988, just as the band were about to make their international breakthrough.