03/2003 Metro Life


Heat of the moment


Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rock loves a survivor. Although not, ironically I980s soft-metal dorks Survivor. But if you’ve paid your dues, been through the mill, flirted with death but come up smiling, then you will be eternally revered as a (just about) living triumph of the human spirit (hello Ozzy).

Even if the music you make post fall-out is rubbish, you will be judged less for your art than for your bravery, a position Red Hot Chili Peppers find themselves, today.

Perhaps more popular now than ever before, the Hollywood funk-punks are certainly a triumph of sorts. That they are still together and selling records, despite suffering one fatality and so much substance abuse their guitarist’s teeth fled for their lives, is nothing less than amazing. And yet their music still leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Funk and rock should never be brought into the same room — trying to fit the percolating looseness of funk into the basically linear structures of heavy rock is bound to be ugly, with Chili Peppers’ hulking lumps of turgid grind being the ugliest case in point.

Again, you have to applaud them for building a career based around just two songs — the funky one and the slow one, each as unpleasant as the other. It’s telling that their best songs — Higher Ground and Love -Rollercoaster — are both covers, while the drug ballad Under The Bridge, despite its classic status, is still one of the worst songs ever committed to tape — so bad that even All Saints couldn’t worsen it.

Still, they remain hugely popular: these shows are sell-outs and their forthcoming Glasgow Green shebang with Foo Fighters will doubtless be another. Survival is overrated, it has to be said.

Paul Whitelaw

Tonight and tomorrow, SEQQ, Finnieston Quay, Glasgow, 7.30pm

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