Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, California not only gave singer Anthony Kledis and bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary an adequate public school education, it became their springboard to a life of fame and fortune. Joined by guitarist Hiliel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons, the two played their first gig at the Rhythm Lounge in 1983. Although it was only one song, “Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem,” were invited back and soon started getting other gigs around LA. Trading in their tongue twister of a name for the much simpler Red Hot Chili Peppers, they were singed to record label EMI. Due to prior commitments of Hiliel Slovak and Jack Irons, guitarist Jack Sherman and drummer Cliff Martinez replaced them. Later, Sherman was then replaced by Andy Gill, and the group released their first self titled album, “The Red Hot Chili Peppers,” on August 10th, 1984.
Not discouraged by the lack of success they had with their first album; with Hiliel Slovak back on guitar, the band released “Freaky Styley” on August 16th, 1985. The next year, following Slovak’s lead, Jack Irons returned to the Chili Peppers rhythm section replacing Cliff Martinez. In 1987 the group released “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan” on Septemer 29th, 1987. Compared to their first two albums it was a huge success, although it still barely scraped into the Billboard Hot 200. They were at least moving in the right direction. The rock and roll life style was creeping its way into the band members’ lives, and on June 25th 1988, a heroin overdose claimed the life of guitarist Hiliel Slovak. Saddened by the loss of his friend, Jack Irons soon exited the band. The two were temporarily replaced by drummer D.H. Peligro and guitarist DeWayne McKnight but were ultimately replaced by guitarist John Frusicante and drummer Chad Smith.
With a more stable line up the Chili Peppers released “Mothers Milk,” in August of 1989. The album included “Knock me Down,” which was to be a tribute to fallen band mate Hiliel Slovak, and a cover of the legendary Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” “Mothers Milk” became their first album to earn a Gold Record and in 1990 the band changed record labels signing with Warner Bros. The next year they released what would prove to be their first big album, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik.” The single “Give it Away” earned a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal. It also became their first #1 single. The hits “Under the Bridge,” “Breaking the Girl,” and “Suck My Kiss,” would help the album sell more than 12 million copies worldwide. Success had finally come, but not without it’s consequences. John Frusicante had developed a drug problem and abruptly left the band in the middle of a tour.
Scrambling to fill the vacancy the band recruited guitarist Arik Marshall and then Jesse Tobias. After neither one worked out, they hired Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. With Navarro onboard the band released “One Hot Minute” in 1995. The album included the songs “Wraped,” “Aeroplane,” “Love Rollercoaster,” and the #1 hit “My Friends.” Although proving a successful addition to the band, Navarro left, leaving an opening that rehabilitated John Frusicante could now reclaim in 1998. The next year “Californication” was released on June 8th. It would go on to sell 15 million units and it’s not hard to see why with songs like “Otherside,” “Californication,” “Around the World,” and the Grammy winning “Scar Tissue.”
With the release of 2002’s “By the Way,” the band continued it’s successful run. The album reached the #2 spot on the charts and guaranteed the band continuous radio airplay with the songs “Can’t Stop,” “The Zephry Song,” and the title track “By the Way.” After releasing a greatest hits album in 2003, which included two new songs, “Save the Population” and “Fortune Faded,” the band left fans hungry for more. In 2006 the double album “Stadium Arcadium” hit the shelves with force. The album debuted at #1 and continued their radio dominance with “Hump de Bump,” “Tell Me Baby,” “Snow (Hey Oh),” and “Dani California.” The album would end up taking home a whopping 6 Grammys including Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Album for the song “Dani California.” They toured extensively headlining the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio California and performing at the Live Earth concert in London, England. Currently the band has taken a break from both performing and recording, and is enjoying the fruits of their labors. Although they have no immediate plans for another album, one would think that another chart toping record is somewhere on the distant horizon.
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