Formation and first album (1983–1984

A promotional flyer featuring the band from 1986. Red Hot Chili Peppers (originally Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem)[2] were formed by alumni , , , and following what was supposed to be a one time performance in 1983.[3] As Slovak was already committed to another group, , the foursome never intended to become part of the . Their first performance was at the Rhythm Lounge, to a crowd of roughly 30 people.[4] 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.".[5] The performance was so lively the band were asked to return the following week.[4] Due to this unexpected success, the members changed the band's 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 .[6] Several months after their first performance, the band was signed to the record label . Two weeks earlier, had obtained a record deal with , and as Slovak and Irons considered the Red Hot Chili Peppers a side project, they quit to pursue their first project. Instead of dissolving the band, Kiedis and Flea decided to recruit new members.[7] , an acquaintance of Flea's, was asked to join the Chili Peppers shortly thereafter. Auditions for a new guitarist produced . [8][9][10][11][12]

[] Freaky Styley and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1985–1988)
[13][14][15] Cliff Martinez was dismissed from the group in the summer of 1986, with Kiedis saying that he sensed that Martinez wished to leave. The band temporarily hired before Jack Irons, out of work and finally separated from other commitments, rejoined the group, to Anthony, Flea, and Hillel's great surprise. The Chili Peppers attempted to hire to produce their third album, but he turned the offer down. The band eventually hired , who was the band's last choice.[16] 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 and .[17] Reuniting all four original members renewed their creativity, enlivening the recording process.[18] The Red Hot Chili Peppers' original lineup c. 1988. Left to right: Jack Irons, Flea, Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovak. On , , was released, becoming the first Red Hot Chili Peppers album to appear on any chart. Although it peaked at only #148 on the ,[19] this was a significant

Blood Sugar Sex Magik samples:

success compared to the Chili Peppers' first two albums.

Sample of "", the first single from (1991)

Problems listening to the file? See .

During this period, however, Kiedis and Slovak had both developed serious drug addictions,[20] often abandoning the band, each other, and their significant others for days on end. Slovak's addiction led to his death on , , not long after the conclusion of the Uplift tour.[21] Kiedis fled the city and did not attend Slovak's funeral, considering the situation to be surreal and dreamlike.[22] Jack Irons subsequently left the group, saying that he did not want to be part of a group where his friends were dying.[23]

[] 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 drummer and former guitarist . 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 an acquaintance of his, , 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 as ""), there was a unanimous decision to accept Frusciante into the band.[24] Three weeks prior to the beginning of recording, the band was still without a drummer, despite several auditions. Eventually, a close friend of the band told them about a drummer she knew, , who was so proficient on the drums he "ate [them] for breakfast".[25] 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. 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 .[26] This modification caused Frusciante great discomfort, as it did not fit with his preferred style of guitar playing.[27] The Chili Peppers' fourth album, was released in August 1989, and gave them their first top modern rock hits – a tribute ballad to Slovak, "",[3] and their cover of 's "". The album reached #52 on the album charts and became the band's first gold record.[28]

[] Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1990–1992)
In 1990, the group switched labels to , with 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 "[every day] now, there was new music for me to lyricize".[29] 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 wasn't satisfied 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."[30] 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.[31] The band was unable to decide on the title of the album, but to Rubin, one particular song title stuck out: "". Although it was not a featured song, Rick believed it to be "clearly the best title" they had at the time.[32] On , , was released. "" was released as the first single; it won a award in 1992 for "Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal"and became the band's first number one single on the chart.[33][34] The ballad "" was released as the follow up single, and went on to reach #2 on the chart,[34] the highest the band has reached on that chart,[34] and became one of the band's most recognizable songs. Other singles such as "" and "" 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.[35] was listed at number 310 on the list of , and in 1992 it rose to #3 on the U.S. album charts, almost a year after its release.[9] After producing the album, the members of the band wished to release the song "Sir Psycho Sexy" as their newest single. However, Warner Bros. Records believed that the song was too graphic to be played on the radio. As a result, the song was not released as a single.[] 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.[3] The band headlined the festival in 1992 with replacement guitarist (who appeared with them in fourth season finale, "", and the videos for "" and ""), and briefly with 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."[36] They eventually settled on former guitarist .

[] One Hot Minute (1993–1998)
[37][38][38][39] This iteration of the band was also featured on several soundtracks. "", a cover, was featured Music sample: on . The cover, "", was featured on the , 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."[40] Reports at the time, however, indicated Navarro's firing came after he attended a band practice under the influence of drugs, which at one point involved him falling backwards over his own amp.[41] Kiedis has since said that though the event should have been comical, it was instead pitiful and was the impetus for Navarro's departure.[42]

[] Californication (1998–2001)
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.[43] He was talked into admitting himself to Las Encinas Drug Rehabilitation Center in January of 1998.[44][45] He concluded the process in February of that year and began renting a small apartment in Silver Lake.[46] 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.[47] The newly reunited band in a promotional shot. Circa 1999. In April 1998, Flea visited his former band-mate and openly invited Frusciante to re-join the band, an invitation an emotional Frusciante readily accepted.[46] 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.[48] Anthony Kiedis said of the situation:[49] 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.[48] ” Despite the band's elation by Frusciante's return, he was both mentally and physically torn. Frusciante had not played in several years, having previously sold every guitar he owned for drug money,[43] and experienced a difficult time resuming life prior to his drug usage. His former talent did, however, resurface and new songs began to roll out. On , , after over a year of production and meticulous practice, was released as the band's seventh studio album. An almost instant achievement,[9] the album ultimately sold over 15 million copies worldwide and became the band's most successful recording to date.[50] contained fewer rap-driven songs than its predecessors, instead integrating textured, consistent, and melodic guitar riffs, vocals and bass-lines.[51] Californication peaked at #3[9] in the US and produced three more number one modern rock
Sample of "Around the World", the second single from Californication(1999), which combined hard, abrasive guitar progressions with a deeply melodic chorus.

Problems listening to the file? See .

hits: "", "" and "". "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 at its culmination. Other singles included "", "", and "", 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 . Some 10 minutes before the show, they were asked by 's sister to play a cover of her brother's songs. After some hesitation, the band decided to play his classic "", 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.[52] In 2001, the Chili Peppers released their first concert DVD, . The DVD was directed by longtime friend , who had also produced the music videos for "" and "". The footage was taken from numerous different concerts, but was amalgamated with transition and indistinguishable song conversions.

[] By the Way (2002–2005)
Ticket stub from the June 19 Live in Hyde Park concert in 2004. The band began writing their next album in early 2001 and released over a year later, on , . The album, at the time, was their most noteworthy chart debut (with over 700,000 copies sold in first week), emerging at #2,[9] and producing hit singles "", "" , "", "", and "". It was the most subdued album they had generated to date, focusing primarily on melodic ballads as opposed to their classic style of rap-driven funk.[53] The album was followed by an eighteen month-long world tour.[54] The Chili Peppers recorded two new songs, "" and "" for their album released in November 2003,[55] peaking at #18 on the .[9] However, "Universally Speaking" and "By the Way" were the only two songs from By the Way included in the compilation. The European leg of the By the Way tour produced the band's second full-length concert DVD, , which was recorded during a show at in Ireland on , . The band also went on to release their first full-length live album, from the 2004 European Tour, ; recorded during their performances in , , due to the concerts' high attendances. It featured two previously unheard songs, "Rolling Sly Stone" and "Leverage of Space", which are believed to have been unreleased tracks from the By the Way sessions. In the three evenings the band performed in Hyde Park, they generated an estimated $17 million, making it the highest grossing concert at a single venue in history (moving to 2).[56]

[] Stadium Arcadium (2006–present)
Red Hot Chili Peppers performing at the 2007 . From left to right, Flea, Kiedis, Smith and Frusciante. In 2006 the band released the -winning , produced by . Although 38 songs were created with the intention of being released as three separate albums spaced six months apart,[57] the band instead chose to release a 28-track , with the remaining ten tracks released later as B-sides. 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 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.[9] 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.[58] The record's first single "", was the band's fastest-selling single, debuting on top of the Modern Rock chart in the US, peaking at #6 on the , and reaching #2 in the UK.[34] "", released next, also topped the charts in 2006. "" was released in late 2006, breaking multiple records by 2007. 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.[34] "" was released internationally in February 2007 and has reached number 27 on the UK charts. "" was planned to be the next single for the US, Canada, and Australia only, but thanks 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 twomonth 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 the band's first shows in Oceania in seven years, including various cities in Australia and New Zealand, from early-to-mid April and two months later, 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 concert at 's on , . Throughout the course of their tour, the band appeared at several festivals, including the , Ireland in July 2006, in August 2006 in , , and a subsequent set at the in in late April 2007. In February, 2007, the Chili Peppers won 6 : (Stadium Arcadium), ("Dani California"), ("Dani California"), Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package (Stadium Arcadium), (Rick Rubin)[59], and ("Dani California"). The ceremony included a live performance of "", their single at the time, complete with confetti snow.

[] Musical style
[] Techniques
Kiedis provides a range of vocal styles while singing. His approach of spoken verse and "rapping" (the primary characteristic of his vocals up to ) complemented with more traditional vocals have helped the band maintain a relatively consistent style.[60] Nevertheless, as the group has matured, the vocal sequences present in albums ensuing have drastically reduced the number of rapidly sung verses. By the Way only contained one song which remained true to the rap-driven-verses and subsequent melodic choruses.[61] Kiedis' more recent style has been obtained through coaching throughout all nine of Red Hot Chili Peppers' albums.[62] [63][64][65] Flea's style is an amalgamation of , , , and .[66] The groove-heavy, low-tuned melodies, played through either normal finger style or aggressive (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")[66] have more melodic bass lines. He has also used on "", "" "" and "". 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 "" demonstrates his in-the-pocket drumming that places focuses on the groove over flashiness. However, Smith is known to play "flashy" fills during the band's live performances, although he has downplayed the importance of this, stating "Playing well with others is important - not being too flashy."[67] 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", "", "Breaking The Girl" and "The Righteous and the Wicked". His is used frequently, particularly on and , though it was also used on Blood Sugar Sex Magik on the songs "" and "". Frusciante shared lead vocal duties with Kiedis on "" from , and has solo spots on songs such as "" and "". It has become a tradition that at some point during a Chili Peppers concert John performs an unaccompanied , usually a hit from the 1960s or 1970s, or one of his own solo songs. Such songs include "" by , "" by , "" by ,"" by , "For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her" by , "" by , "" by , "See Emily Play" by , "" by , "" by , "" by , and various songs from his solo albums.

[] Improvisation
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 "", "", "", "", "", "", "", "" and "". The group has always ended the show with a longer improvisation, usually stemming from the improvisation to "". The idea of the band improvising at their shows stems from a request that Frusciante asked of Kiedis upon returning to the band for "".

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