Chili Peppers Let It All
Looking at him, you couldn’t tell that he was the band’s toughest dude. “Yeah,” lead rapper Anthony Keidis said. “Some people do push-ups with their knuckles — Cliff (Martinez) does push-ups with his nipples… and he’ll snap a log o’timber between his butt cheeks. Watch out, because he’s a karate expert too and he’d love to hit you in the face.” The laughter subsided and they casually asked me if I’d heard any rumors about the band that might need clearing up.
Meet the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the band that’ll do anything to generate money, fame and favorable reviews. The gig at Casa De La Etna last Friday night is a case in point, not to mention the interview.
With a set opening with a Hank Williams cover tune and closing with Jimi Hendrix’ “Fire,” they played everything in between provided it was a cover of a Chili Peppers tune. (“We cover our ears too,” guitarist Jack Sherman likes to quip.) Keidis stomped on stage wearing a CHP cap, a leather mask, ski glasses and coffee mugs fastened to his jacket. To see this thing singing “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do?” is to witness a genius some people would be happy to see locked up. “Grrrrr….and dissolve the key in carbolic acid!”
Keidis has a lot of fun with dumb questions. I had forgotten my prepared questions and winced as this one tumbled out: “So, how did the band form?” Geez…
“Oh, well we came out of Muhammad Ali’s ass right after Joe Frazier knocked him a good one.” Keidis started. “Yep, we landed in a big heap at ringside — a big pile of psychedelic diarrhea farts and we got up and told everybody we were the Red Hot Chili Peppers…” Sherman said, “It’s true.”
Be content to know that everyone in the band except for Keidis had had experience with bands as far and wide as the Weirdos, Captain Beefheart, Fear, Graham Parker and John Hiatt. Their manager was in on the Peanut Butter Conspiracy too.
Their attitude… could they get rich and famous with such an attitude? “You mean happy-go-lucky, kind of nonchalance disgusting?” asked Flea (my favorite bass player). Right. You wouldn’t believe the stuff this band will tell an audience.
Puffing out his chest like a frog puffs out its neck Flea responded, “We’re smarter than everybody so naturally we’re gonna’ get big and famous.” You can really tell how smart Flea is by watching him play the funky bass. His brains are actually located in his callouses on his fingers which have to keep moving in order to keep his cosmic knowledge from spilling out his mouth. I bet he knows all the dead baby jokes as well as all the techno-trash bands which should have -fuck” in their name; i.e. “fuck Wham!, fuck Duran Duran, fuck Kajagoogoo, fuck the Jacksons….” On and on he went.
They also reported that Andy Gill from the Gang of Four had so much fun producing their brilliant debut record of punk-funk that he was begging to do their next record. But Cliff the karate-drummer said, “No.”
Their set was great — all 45 minutes of it. The audience danced around those who watched with a bad case of jaw-drop. They played all the hits from their record, just like I told you before. “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes,” “Baby Appeal” and “Get Up And Jump,” all said that this was going to be the next big thing… way bigger than that, silly. Flea’s bass broke down halfway through and we all got to see what the Chili Peppers do in a potentially frantic situation. They got more frantic.
To close, here’s what Sherman (the one who’s married) had to say about the upcoming election. “I predict Walter Mondale will get elected, he’ll die the first day in office and we’ll have a woman president.” She really likes you, Jack. Keep it up.
— Hugh Haggerty
Many thanks to Hamish at RHCP Sessions for the scan.