Red Hot Chili Peppers

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As you may well know, Red Hot Chili Peppers are preparing for their first ever concerts in sunny South Africa on 2 February 2013. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the group here are a few of their career highlights as well as a short, two-part, synopsis of the band’s albums and history.


The Beginnings: 1983 - 1990

Red Hot Chili Peppers were formed in 1983 in the Californian city of Los Angeles. The band’s current members differ to the founding quartet. 

The band was originally founded by Anthony Keidis (vocals) along with Michael Balzary also known as “Flea” (Bass). The pair was joined by drummer-Jack Irons and the guitarist Hillel Slovak. The four met at the Fairfax High School in their hometown Los Angeles.

The band, originally named, “The Flow”, had humble beginnings playing to small crowds of less than 30 people. However, the resonating applause they received at the end of their first show ensured that they would be booked again in the near future.

A few months after this performance, in 1984, the band announced that they had changed their name to 'Red Hot Chili Peppers' as we know today. At this stage, Irons and Slovak left the group, as they viewed it as a side project of their own band, What Is This. Keidis & Flea were left with the choice of either disbanding the group, or finding two suitable replacements. Determined to live the dream of becoming famous musicians, Keidis & Flea set up auditions, and shortly afterwards the band had two new members, Cliff Martinez on drums and Jack Sherman on guitar. 

The four went on to record their first album,The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was released in August 1984. The album sold around 300,000 copies. However the relationship between Keidis & Sherman soured. Sherman was fired and the original guitarist Hillel Slovak returned.

The group’s next offering, Freakey Styley, saw the birth of the bands signature funk sound, however, the offering had very little commercial success, failing to make it onto any of the charts of the time.

In 1986 the band began to gain momentum. They appeared in a variety of films and started work on their third album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. Cliff Martinez left the group and original drummer, Jack Irons returned, thus reuniting the original band of 1983. The Uplift Mofo Party Plan enjoyed commercial success but shortly after the album tour Hillel Slovak passed away. Depressed, Jack Irons left the group, eventually joining the grunge band Pearl Jam.

With the original quartet diminished to a duet (once again), Keidis and Flea debated whether or not to continue making music. The year that followed was a tumultuous time for the group, with members changing regularly before Keidis and Flea finally settled on the guitarist John Frusciante and the drummer Chad Smith.

The new quartet ‘started off on the right note’ with their first of many albums together,


Mother’s Milk, which brought the band their first true success by reaching number 52 on the U.S charts.


The Age of Maturity: 1990 to Present.

Spurred on by the success of Mother’s Milk the band immediately began to work on their next album Blood Sugar Sex Magik which released in 1991.This album was the group’s ticket to super-stardom, selling 12 million copies and peaking at number 2 on the U.S. charts. The success of the album came with a very heavy price. Guitarist John Frusciante became disillusioned by the group's fame, abruptly left the band in 1992, and was temporarily replaced by Arik Marshall, before Marshall himself was replaced by Dave Navarro.

Navarro spent a short time with the band and only contributed to the album One Hot Minute, which was released in September of 1995 and was followed by a tour containing 16 shows. In April of 1998 Navarro had left the band. Later that same month, Flea visited the band’s previous guitarist John Frusciante and invited him to re-join the group. 

The reunited quartet started work immediately on the album Californication which was released in 1999. Californication brought the group phenomenal success and announced to the musical world that Red Hot Chili Peppers were a force to be reckoned with, selling 15 million copies, and an unbeaten personal record for the band.

The success of Californication was not, by any means, short-lived. It was followed by another highly successful album By The Way, released in 1999, and an 18 month long world tour.

The band’s next offering was the album Stadium Arcadium, a 28-track double album- which was released in 2006. This album brought another massive wave of fame to the group, with a sales total of more than 7 million copies world-wide. In 2007 Stadium Arcadium was awarded 5 Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. 

Following the enormous success of Stadium Arcadium, the band took an extended break. During this time, in 2008, Frusciante quit the group deciding to work on his own solo music instead.

In 2009 the band resumed work, with Frusciante being by Josh Klinghoffer, who was already a back-up touring guitarist for the group. The band announced their comeback to the world in January 2010 and in February of the same year Klinghoffer was officially inducted into the group.

The latest offering of the group is their tenth album - I'm With You released in August of 2011. The band is currently on the I'm With You tour, which began in 2011. In February the rock legends came to South Africa holding concerts in Johannesburg, and in Cape Town. 



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