Published Aug 30, 2011It's been a long, rough road for California funk rock survivors Red Hot Chili Peppers. They've persevered through tragedy, triumph and more lineup changes than anyone could count, but they still stand as one of the world's most successful rock bands. They're now poised to release their 10th studio album, I'm with You, which drops today (August 30) via Warner Bros. Records.
To mark the occasion, Exclaim! has published an in-depth Timeline detailing the band's storied career. For just a taste of what's up for grabs, here are five highlights.
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About Red Hot Chili Peppers:
1. The band first formed under the name Tony Flow and the Miraculous Masters of Mayhem.
Kiedis, Balzary, Slovak and Irons are asked to perform a one-song opening set for a friend's band. They christen themselves Tony Flow and the Miraculous Masters of Mayhem and write a funky rap song called "Out in L.A." for the occasion. The performance goes so well that they are invited back the next week to play a longer set, and they soon begin gigging all over the city under the name the Red Hot Chili Peppers (they later drop the "The" in official usage).
2. RHCP got a record deal shortly after performing with socks on their penises.
During a show at a stripper bar called Kit Kat Club, the band perform an encore wearing nothing but tube socks over their manhoods. A talent manager named Lindy Goetz is in the audience, and he offers to represent them. He lands the band a seven-album deal with EMI.
3. They passed up $1 million each from Epic to sign with Warner Bros.
Although the group are still under contract with EMI, they are unhappy with the label and seek a new home. They are courted by numerous labels, and David Geffen attempts to sign them. Epic offers them $1 million each and they initially agree, but sign with Warner Bros. after befriending president Mo Ostin.
4. When recording 1995's One Hot Minute, singer Anthony Kiedis faked a stomach ailment to hide his heroin use.
Back in Los Angeles, Kiedis resumes using drugs heavily. The band re-enter the studio, but the singer is mostly absent from the sessions and he continually delays completing his vocals. His relapse is a secret, and he claims to be suffering from a stomach ailment. He eventually goes to Michigan for the holidays and gets clean once more.
5. When John Frusciante rejoined the band in 1998, he hadn't played music in years.
The musicians are reinvigorated by the return of John Frusciante, who returns to the fold after completing drug rehabilitation. His arms are badly scarred from improper needle use and he hasn't played music in years, but he is eager to resume work. Kiedis buys him a vintage Fender Stratocaster, and the guitarist compensates for his rustiness by developing a new, more minimal style based around sparse arpeggios and clean melodic lines.