Red Hot Chili Peppers (often abbreviated RHCP) is an American alternative rock band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1983. For most of the band's existence, the members have been vocalist Anthony Kiedis, guitarist John Frusciante, bassist Michael "Flea" Balzary, and drummer Chad Smith. The band's varied musical style has fused traditional rock with elements of other genres including funk, punk rock, and psychedelic rock.
In addition to Kiedis and Flea, the group originally featured guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons. Slovak, however, died of a heroin overdose in 1988, resulting in Irons' departure. Irons was replaced briefly by former Dead Kennedys drummer D. H. Peligro before the band found a permanent replacement in Smith, while Slovak was replaced by up-and-coming guitarist Frusciante. This lineup recorded the band's fourth and fifth albums, Mother's Milk (1989) and Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991).
Blood Sugar Sex Magik was a significant record for the band; having sold over thirteen million copies, it provided the group's initial mainstream commercial success. Frusciante grew uncomfortable with this new found success and left abruptly in the middle of the tour for the album in 1992, descending into heroin addiction. Kiedis, Flea, and Smith employed Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction for their subsequent album, One Hot Minute (1995). Although fairly successful, it did not match the critical acclaim of Blood Sugar Sex Magik and sold less than half the copies of its predecessor. Shortly afterwards, Navarro departed the band due to creative differences. Frusciante, fresh out of drug rehabilitation, rejoined the band in 1998, at Flea's request. The reunited quartet returned to the studio to record Californication (1999), which went on to sell fifteen million units worldwide, becoming their most successful album to date. It was followed three years later with By the Way (2002), which continued their success. In 2006, the group released the double album Stadium Arcadium, giving them their first American number one album.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have won seven Grammy Awards. The band has sold over fifty-three million albums worldwide, have eight singles in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 (including three singles in the Top 10), have five number one singles on the Mainstream Rock charts, and hold a record of eleven number one singles on the Modern Rock charts. On September 23, 2009 the band was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2010. They are currently on hiatus, but both Chad Smith and Anthony Kiedis have stated the band will return to the studio to work on new material later in 2009.. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were ranked #30 on VH1's "Greatest Artists of Hard Rock".
Formation and first album (1983?1984)
A promotional flyer featuring the band from 1986.
Red Hot Chili Peppers (originally Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem) were formed by Fairfax High School alumni Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovak, Jack Irons and Michael "Flea" Balzary in 1983. RHCP's first performance was at the Rhythm Lounge, to a crowd of roughly thirty people, opening for Gary and Neighbor's Voices. One song had been created for the occasion, which involved the band improvising music while Kiedis rapped a poem he had written called "Out in L.A.". As Slovak and Irons were already committed to another group, What Is This?, it was intended to be a one time performance. However, the performance was so lively that the band was asked to return the following week. Due to this unexpected success, the band changed its name to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing several more shows at various LA clubs and musical venues. Six songs from these initial shows were recorded onto the band's first demo tape.
Several months after their first performance, the band was signed to the record label they were noticed by EMI. Two weeks earlier, What Is This? had obtained a record deal with MCA, and as Slovak and Irons considered the Red Hot Chili Peppers a side project, they quit to focus on What Is This?. Instead of dissolving the band, Kiedis and Flea decided to recruit new members. Cliff Martinez, a friend of Flea's, was asked to join the Chili Peppers shortly thereafter. Auditions for a new guitarist produced Jack Sherman.
Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill was hired to produce their first album. Despite Kiedis and Flea's misgivings, he pushed the band to play with a cleaner, crisper and more radio-friendly sound. The Red Hot Chili Peppers was released on August 10, 1984. Though the album didn't set sales records, college radio and MTV airplay helped to build a growing fan base. The album ultimately sold 300,000 copies. During the ensuing tour, continuing musical and lifestyle tension between Kiedis and Sherman complicated the transition between concert and daily band life. Sherman was fired soon after, with Slovak returning to the Chili Peppers after growing tired of What is This?.
Freaky Styley and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1985?1988)
George Clinton was selected to produce the next Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Freaky Styley. The album was recorded in Detroit's famed R&B and funky United Sound Systems studios on the edge of Wayne State University's campus. Clinton combined various elements of punk and funk into the band's repertoire, allowing their music to incorporate a variety of distinct styles. However, though the band had a much better relationship with Clinton than with Gill, Freaky Styley, released on August 16, 1985, also achieved little success, failing to make an impression on any chart. The subsequent tour was also considered unproductive by the band.
In the song "Yertle The Turtle" on their "Freaky Styley" album a different voice is heard saying: "Look at that turtle go bro." It was mentioned in Kiedis book Scar Tissue that the voice is of Clinton's cocaine dealer, whom he couldn't afford to pay, and offered to put him in a song instead.
During this time the band also appeared in the movie Tough Guys starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, performing on stage at a nightclub in Los Angeles.
Prageeth Liyanage was dismissed from the group in the summer of 1986, with Kiedis saying that he sensed that Liyanage wished to leave. Jack Irons, out of work and finally separated from other commitments, rejoined the group, to Kiedis, Flea, and Slovak's great surprise. The Chili Peppers attempted to hire Rick Rubin to produce their third album, but he turned the offer down. The band eventually hired Michael Beinhorn, who was the band's last choice. Songs began to form quickly, and the album's shape came into view, blending the same funk feel and rhythms as Freaky Styley, but also taking a harder, more immediate approach to punk rock. Reuniting all four original members renewed their creativity, enlivening the recording process.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers' lineup c. 1987. Left to right: Jack Irons, Flea, Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovak.
On September 29, 1987, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan was released, becoming the first Red Hot Chili Peppers album to appear on any chart. Although it peaked at only #148 on the Billboard Hot 200, this was a significant success compared to the Chili Peppers' first two albums.
During this period, however, Kiedis and Slovak had both developed serious drug addictions, often abandoning the band, each other, and their significant others for days on end. Slovak's addiction led to his death on June 25, 1988, not long after the conclusion of the Uplift tour. Kiedis fled the city and did not attend Slovak's funeral, considering the situation to be surreal and dreamlike. Jack Irons subsequently left the group, saying that he did not want to be part of a group where his friends were dying. Irons went on to become a member of Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam, however in 1998 Slovak's death was still playing on him so he quit that band too.
Mother's Milk (1989?1990)
In an attempt to cope with the death of Slovak and the departure of Irons, Kiedis and Flea temporarily employed Dead Kennedys drummer D. H. Peligro and former P-Funk guitarist DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight. Neither sparked any notable chemistry and they were each replaced rapidly. However, Peligro's brief tenure did have one vital, long-term consequence for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, his association with the band led to John Frusciante, an acquaintance of Peligro, to audition for the band's empty guitarist role. Frusciante was fascinated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and, as a result, was particularly interested in auditioning. Following a constructive jam (which would later appear on Mother's Milk as "Pretty Little Ditty"), there was a unanimous decision to accept Frusciante into the band.
Three weeks prior to the beginning of recording, the band was still without a drummer, despite several auditions. Eventually, a friend of the band told them about a drummer she knew, Chad Smith, who was so proficient on the drums he "ate for breakfast". Kiedis had qualms about allowing Smith to try out; however, he agreed to give him a chance. At his audition, Smith overwhelmed the band by not only matching Flea's intricate and complex rhythm, but even beginning to lead him. After this successful jam session, Kiedis, Frusciante and Flea admitted Smith into the band. Smith was told to shave his head to fit into the band's style, but was nonetheless still allowed into the band when he showed up the next day with the same bandana.
The recording of the band's fourth album was hindered by conflict with producer Michael Beinhorn, whose primary agenda was to give Frusciante's guitar playing a loud, overpowering sound, similar to the abrasive tones utilized in heavy metal. This modification caused Frusciante great discomfort, as it did not fit with his preferred style of playing. An example of this can be heard on the song "Stone Cold Bush".
The Chili Peppers' fourth album, Mother's Milk was released in August 1989, and gave them their first top modern rock hits ? a tribute ballad to Slovak, "Knock Me Down", and their cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground". The album reached #52 on the American album charts and became the band's first gold record.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1990?1992)
"Give It Away"
Sample of "Give It Away", the first single from Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
"Under the Bridge"
Sample of "Under the Bridge" from Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991). The second single from the album, the song became a breakthrough hit, reaching number two on the Billboard charts.
In 1990, the group switched labels to Warner Bros. Records, with Rick Rubin hired to produce their then-untitled fifth album. Rubin has produced all of the band's subsequent studio albums. The writing process for this album was far more productive than it had been during the creation of Mother's Milk, with Kiedis saying that " now, there was new music for me to lyricize".
The band embarked on the grueling six-month process of recording a new album the long periods of rehearsal, songwriting, and the incubating of ideas but Rubin was dissatisfied with a regular recording studio, thinking the band would work better in a less orthodox setting. He came across an "amazing, huge, empty historically landmarked Mediterranean haunted mansion a stone's throw from where we all lived." For the next month or so, Frusciante, Kiedis and Flea remained in seclusion, never once leaving the house during the entire recording process. Smith, however, decided not to live in the house, believing it to be haunted.
The band was unable to decide on the title of the album, but to Rubin, one particular song title stuck out: "Blood Sugar Sex Magik". Although it was not a featured song, Rubin believed it to be "clearly the best title" they had at the time.
On September 24, 1991, Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released. "Give It Away" was released as the first single; it won a Grammy award in 1992 for "Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal" and became the band's first number one single on the Modern Rock chart. The ballad "Under the Bridge" was released as the follow up single, and went on to reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the highest the band has reached on that chart, and became one of the band's most recognizable songs. Other singles such as "Breaking the Girl" and "Suck My Kiss" also fared well on the charts. The album itself was an international sensation, selling over 12 million copies and greatly broadening the Chili Peppers' audience. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was listed at number 310 on the Rolling Stone magazine list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and in 1992 it rose to #3 on the U.S. album charts, almost a year after its release.
The band's success and drug addiction were taking their toll on Frusciante, who abruptly quit the band during the Blood Sugar Japanese tour in May 1992. The band headlined the Lollapalooza festival in 1992 with replacement guitarist Arik Marshall (who appeared with them in The Simpsons fourth season finale, "Krusty Gets Kancelled", and the videos for "Breaking the Girl" and "If You Have to Ask"), and briefly with Jesse Tobias of the Los Angeles-based band Mother Tongue. Neither lasted very long, with the rest of the band stating that "The chemistry wasn't right." They eventually settled on former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.
One Hot Minute (1993?1997)
Dave Navarro first appeared with the band at Woodstock '94, where they wore enormous light bulb costumes attached precariously to chrome metallic suits, making it near-impossible for them to play their instruments. While externally, the band appeared to be settled, the relationship between the three established members and Navarro had begun to deteriorate. His differing musical background made performing difficult as they began playing together, and continued to be an issue over the next year as his first and only album with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, One Hot Minute, was recorded and released on September 12, 1995. The band described the album as a darker, sadder record compared to their previous material. Despite mixed reviews, the album was a commercial success. Selling five million copies worldwide, it spawned the band's third #1 single, the ballad "My Friends", and enjoyed chart success with the songs "Warped" and "Aeroplane".
This iteration of the band was also featured on several soundtracks. "I Found Out", a John Lennon cover, was featured on Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon. The Ohio Players cover, "Love Rollercoaster", was featured on the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack, and was released as a single.
By this point Kiedis had resumed his heroin dependence. In April 1998 it was announced that Navarro had left the band due to creative differences; Kiedis stated that the decision was "mutual." Reports at the time, however, indicated Navarro's departure came after he attended a band practice under the influence of drugs, which at one point involved him falling backwards over his own amp. Kiedis has since said that though the event should have been comical, it was instead pitiful and was the impetus for Navarro's departure.
In the years following his departure from the band, it became public that John Frusciante had developed an addiction to heroin, which left him in poverty and near death. He was talked into admitting himself to Las Encinas Drug Rehabilitation Center in January 1998. He concluded the process in February of that year and began renting a small apartment in Silver Lake. He acquired many injuries/problems in the years of his addiction, some requiring surgery, including permanent scarring on his arms, a restructured nose, and new teeth to prevent fatal infection.
The newly reunited band in a Californication promotional shot. Circa 1999.
In April 1998, Flea visited his friend, and former band-mate and openly invited Frusciante to re-join the band, an invitation an emotional Frusciante readily accepted. Within the week and, for the first time in six years, the reunited foursome gathered to play, and jump-started the newly reunited Red Hot Chili Peppers. Anthony Kiedis said of the situation:
For me, that was the defining moment of what would become the next six years of our lives together. That was when I knew that this was the real deal, that the magic was about to happen again. Suddenly we could all hear, we could all listen, and instead of being caught up in our finite little balls of bullshit, we could all become players in that great universal orchestra again.
Despite the band's elation by Frusciante's return, he was both mentally and physically torn. Frusciante had not played with the band since his departure and having previously lost every guitar he owned in a house fire from which he barely escaped, he experienced a difficult time resuming the life he had prior to his drug usage. His talent did, however, resurface and new songs began to roll out. On June 8, 1999, after over a year of production and meticulous practice, Californication was released as the band's seventh studio album. An almost instant achievement, the album ultimately sold over 15 million copies worldwide and became the band's most successful recording to date. Californication contained fewer rap-driven songs than its predecessors, instead integrating textured, consistent, and melodic guitar riffs, vocals and bass-lines.
"Around the World"
Sample of "Around the World", the second single from Californication(1999), which combined hard, abrasive guitar progressions with a deeply melodic chorus.
Sample of "Scar Tissue", the first single from Californication (1999), here are the final chorus and part of the guitar solo
Californication peaked at #3 in the US and produced three more number one modern rock hits: "Scar Tissue", "Otherside" and "Californication". "Scar Tissue" won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. It was also performed at the ceremony and included a brief jam with rapper Snoop Dogg at its culmination. Other singles included "Around the World", "Road Trippin'", and "Parallel Universe", which broke the Top 40 modern rock charts despite not having been commercially released as a single.
In July 1999, as part of the band's two-year long international world tour in support of their new album, the Red Hot Chili Peppers played at Woodstock 1999. Some 10 minutes before the show, they were asked by Jimi Hendrix's sister to play a cover of her brother's songs. After some hesitation, the band decided to play his classic "Fire", which they had covered in Mother's Milk. Coincidentally, about two thirds of the way into the band's set, the closing set of the three day concert, a small fire escalated into full-fledged vandalism and resulted in the intervention of riot control squads.
In 2001, the Chili Peppers released their first concert DVD, Off the Map. The DVD was directed by longtime friend Dick Rude, who had also produced the music videos for "Catholic School Girls Rule" and "Universally Speaking". The footage was taken from two different concerts, but was amalgamated with transition and indistinguishable song conversions.
By the Way (2002?2004)
Ticket stub from the June 19, 2004 Live in Hyde Park concert
The band began writing their next album in early 2001, and released By the Way over a year later, on July 9, 2002. The album, at the time, was their most noteworthy chart debut, selling over a million copies in first week and emerging at #2 on the Billboard 200. It produced five hit singles; "By the Way", "The Zephyr Song", "Can't Stop", "Dosed", and "Universally Speaking", and was the most subdued album they had generated to date, focusing primarily on melodic ballads as opposed to the Chili Peppers' classic style of rap-driven funk. Frusciante also concentrated on a more layered texture on many of the songs, often adding keyboard parts (albeit, they featured very low in the mix) and also writing string arrangements for songs (such as 'Midnight' and 'Minor Thing') The album was followed by an eighteen month-long world tour.
The Chili Peppers recorded two new songs, "Fortune Faded" and "Save the Population" for their Greatest Hits album released in November 2003, peaking at #18 on the Billboard 200. However, "Universally Speaking" and "By the Way" were the only two songs from By the Way included in the compilation causing criticism as to why songs such as "Can't Stop" and "The Zephyr Song", which were extremely successful, were not present.
The European leg of the By the Way tour produced the band's second full-length concert DVD, Live at Slane Castle, which was recorded during a show at Slane Castle in Ireland on August 23, 2003. The band also went on to release their first full-length live album, Live in Hyde Park; recorded during their performances in Hyde Park, London. More than 258,000 fans paid over $17,100,000 in ticket sales to attend the band's three night stand at the park, a 2004 record; the event ranked #1 on Billboard's Top Concert Boxscores of 2004.
It featured two previously unheard songs, "Rolling Sly Stone" and "Leverage of Space", which are believed to have been unreleased tracks from the Greatest Hits sessions.
Stadium Arcadium (2005?2007)
Red Hot Chili Peppers performing at the 2007 Grammy Awards. From left to right, Flea, Kiedis, Smith and Frusciante.
In 2006 the band released the Grammy Award-winning Stadium Arcadium produced by Rick Rubin. Although 38 songs were created with the intention of being released as three separate albums spaced six months apart, the band instead chose to release a 28-track double album, with the remaining ten tracks to be released later as B-sides, although only nine B-sides ended up released. It was their first album to debut at #1 on the US charts, where it stayed for two weeks, and debuted at number one in the UK and 25 other countries. In the album's first week, it sold 442,000 units in the United States alone, and over 1,100,000 worldwide, setting a personal record for one week sales. By the end of 2006, Stadium Arcadium was named the best-selling album of the year, with over seven million units sold, and also recorded the highest one week in total sales of the year.
The record's first single "Dani California", was the band's fastest-selling single, debuting on top of the Modern Rock chart in the US, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching #2 in the UK. This song was also included in the movie Death Note as the title theme song. "Tell Me Baby", released next, also topped the charts in 2006. "Snow ((Hey Oh))" was released in late 2006, breaking multiple records by 2007.The song is played during the credits of the second Death Note movie, Death Note: The Last Name. The song became their eleventh number one single, giving the band a cumulative total of 81 weeks at number one (all singles combined). It was also the first time three consecutive singles by the band made it to number one. "Desecration Smile" was released internationally in February 2007 and has reached number 27 on the UK charts. "Hump de Bump" was planned to be the next single for the US, Canada, and Australia only, but due to positive feedback from the music video, it was released as a worldwide single in May 2007.
The band began another international world tour in support of Stadium Arcadium in 2006, beginning with promotional concerts in Europe and culminating in a two-month long European tour from late May to mid-July. The group then toured North America from early August to early November, returning to Europe later in November for a second leg that ran until mid-December. The Chili Peppers began the year of 2007 with a second North American leg, this time including Mexico in addition to the United States, from mid-January to mid-March. This was followed by shows in various cities in Australia and New Zealand, from early-to-mid April and concerts in Japan in early June. The Chili Peppers recently finished touring Europe for another leg from late June to late August. They appeared at the Live Earth concert at London's Wembley Stadium on July 7, 2007. Throughout the course of their tour, the band appeared at several festivals, including Ireland's Oxegen in July 2006, Lollapalooza in August 2006 in Grant Park, Chicago, a subsequent set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California in late April 2007 and in August 2007 they appeared as one of three headliners at the Reading and Leeds festivals. The other two being Razorlight and Smashing Pumpkins.
In February 2007, Stadium Arcadium won 5 Grammys: Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song ("Dani California"), Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal ("Dani California"), Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package, and Best Producer (Rick Rubin) . The ceremony included a live performance of "Snow ((Hey Oh))", their single at the time, complete with confetti snow.
Following the last leg of the tour promoting Stadium Arcadium, the band members took an extended break. Kiedis attributes this to the band being worn out from their years of nonstop work since Californication. Kiedis explained that he is currently preoccupied with taking care of his new son and possibly creating a short television series called "Spider and Son" which is set to be a recap of his autobiography, while Flea is experimenting with new musical ideas, Frusciante is continuing his solo career, and Chad Smith is currently working with Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, and Michael Anthony in the supergroup Chickenfoot, as well as on his solo project, Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats. The band planned to remain on hiatus for "a minimum of one year." The band's newest recording was in 2008 with George Clinton (who also produced 1985's Freaky Styley) on his latest album "George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love". Accompanied by Kim Manning, the band recorded a new version of Shirley and Lee's classic "Let the Good Times Roll".
Three members of the band (Kiedis, Flea, and Smith) performed at the fifth annual MusiCares event honoring Kiedis on May 8, 2009. He was honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund and for his commitment to helping other addicts with the addiction and recovery process. John Frusciante was unable to attend due to commitments in Europe at the time. In mid-July 2009, Frusciante denied rumors that he left the band.
Tenth Album (2009?Present)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are back in the studio October 12 2009. . Their next album should be released sometime in 2010, according to Chad Smith. During September of 2009 the band has been nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Kiedis provides a range of vocal styles while singing. His approach of spoken verse and "rapping" (the primary characteristic of his vocals up to Blood Sugar Sex Magik) complemented with more traditional vocals have helped the band maintain a relatively consistent style. Nevertheless, as the group has matured, the vocal sequences present in albums starting from Californication have drastically reduced the number of rapidly sung verses. By the Way only contained two songs which remained true to the rap-driven-verses and subsequent melodic choruses. Kiedis' more recent style has been developed through coaching throughout all nine of Red Hot Chili Peppers' albums.
Hillel Slovak's style was strongly based on blues and funk. Early replacements, including current guitarist John Frusciante, based their style significantly on Slovak's. However, Frusciante has brought a more melodic and textured sound to more recent albums such as By the Way, Californication and Stadium Arcadium. This contrasts with his previous abrasive approach in Mother's Milk, as well as his dry, funky and more docile arrangements on Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Dave Navarro brought an entirely different sound to the band during his tenure, with his style based on heavy metal, progressive rock and psychedelia.
Flea's bass style is an amalgamation of funk, psychedelic, punk, and hard rock. The groove-heavy, low-tuned melodies, played through either normal finger style or aggressive slapping (popping and slapping), have contributed to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' signature style. While Flea's slap bass style was prominent in earlier albums, later albums (post "Blood Sugar Sex Magik") have more melodic bass lines. He has also used double stops on "Don't Forget Me", "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" "Hump de Bump" and "Snow ((Hey Oh))".
Chad Smith's in-the-pocket style of drumming adds space and allows Frusciante and Flea to add melodies to the beats and grooves more effectively. He actively employs rapid successions of the bass drum often following Flea's fast bass lines with only one bass drum pedal. This is evident in the song "The Greeting Song", where in the main riff Smith's bass drum mimics Flea's bass accents. In addition, a song like "Give It Away" demonstrates his in-the-pocket drumming that places focus on the groove over flashiness.
While Kiedis is the lead vocalist for the band, Frusciante often contributes backing vocals and two part harmonies to various songs. He sang lead on the chorus of such Blood Sugar Sex Magik songs as "The Power of Equality", "Funky Monks", "Breaking The Girl" and "The Righteous and the Wicked". His falsetto is used frequently, particularly on By the Way and Stadium Arcadium, though it was also used on Blood Sugar Sex Magik on the songs "If You Have to Ask" and "Under the Bridge". Frusciante shared lead vocal duties with Kiedis on "Knock Me Down" from Mother's Milk, and has solo spots on songs such as "Dosed" and "Desecration Smile".
Anthony Kiedis: "I don't think our sexuality is belligerent, it's more a freeflowing music display. And that's one small part of who we are. If you made a list of every song that we've ever written, maybe ten percent would be sexually dominated. But I think that's the way the public is. If something's racy, they crave that, and they long to associate celebrities with those characteristics. People lust after provocative incidents. They love to talk about them over breakfast and mull over them while they're driving home from work."
Improvisation has always been a major part of the band's signature style, with early shows composed almost entirely of improvisations. In addition, many guitar solos recorded on the current albums and played live by Frusciante are improvised, as are several of Flea's bass solos. The band has, for most of the last decade, opened the show with a short improvisation, always in the same key as the initial song. Sometimes the beginnings, middle sections and/or endings of the songs are extended by long improvisations, such as "My Lovely Man", "If You Have to Ask", "Californication", "Parallel Universe", "Can't Stop", "Throw Away Your Television", "By the Way" and "Dani California". The group has always ended the show with a longer improvisation, usually stemming from the improvisation to "Give It Away."
Lyrics and songwriting
Through the years, Kiedis' lyrics have dealt with a variety of topics, which have shifted as time has progressed. Themes within his repertoire include love and friendship, teenage angst and good-time aggression, various sexual topics and the link between sex and music, political and social commentary (Native American issues in particular), romance, loneliness, globalization and the cons of fame and Hollywood, poverty, drugs, alcohol, dealing with death, and California.
Main article: List of Red Hot Chili Peppers band members
Anthony Kiedis ? lead vocals (1983?present)
John Frusciante ? guitar, backing vocals, keyboards (1988?1992, 1998?present)
Michael "Flea" Balzary ? bass, trumpet, keyboards (1983?present)
Chad Smith ? drums, percussion (1988?present)