1988/04 The Daily Nexus (UC Santa Barbara student newspaper)

Red Hot Chili Peppers Beat it to Death

The Red Hot Chili Peppers dragged lethargically into their dressing room before their Tuesday night show at The Pub. One by one, they withdrew into their own little worlds, keeping distance from each other while they individually psyched themselves up for the next hour and a half. Separated and self-absorbed in their various instruments, it was hard to believe they would all soon be performing together.

Merging together on stage before the intense energy of their vast audience. they rapidly transformed into a solid fusion of talent. With the fast-paced encouragement of the crowd, the four musicians quickly become one band.

As time played on, the feeling they squeezed out of their songs became almost too mutual. The monotony escaped and the freshness was gone. The music is grounding down after years of wear, newer songs sounding too much like old ones. Once they found their groove and stuck to it, the vicious intensity became diluted with monotony and age. However, the strong, steady beat and continuous motion of the act created a feeling of involvement that kept the audience wilfully attentive and hungry for more. In spite of becoming such a predictably well-rehearsed blend of sounds, they had the sardined crowd shaking in unison and unsolicited participation.

As the Pepper’s fans could not resist involving themselves in the hot-fast excitement of the scene, neither could the security guards. According to lead singer Anthony,”The guards were obnoxious and out of line to the point of being violent. I hate violence. All of our songs are about love and peace.” He believed that the guards overstepped their boundaries in exercising what little power they had. They did, however, manage to keep those dangerous kids off of the stage, no matter how much force or police assistance it took to handle many of the larger and more inebriated individuals.

The enforced control measures were kept in part with the changing image of the band itself, which is now aiming towards a wider audience and more toned-down image. As The Chili Peppers continue to get bigger they hope to get broader, and each of the band-members expressed an interest in more tours, new music and a lot more publicity. This concert showed how they may have succeeded in promoting themselves and packing ’em in, but that there’s not much in the music to substantiate claims of change. The folks didn’t seem to want anything new, throbbing with mindless enjoyment to one song after another, but after the show many wondered if such an original rhythm was being beaten to death. The cover of “Crosstown Traffic” got one of biggest responses of the night, and illustrated depth the band hopes too, but hasn’t yet, approached.

When asked to describe their sound in a brief statement, guitarist Hillel responded without hesitation,”We’re bone crunching mayhem soulfull groove-oriented.” Added Anthony,”No matter how energetic or well known we get, fame is only a state of mind. The (Chili) Peppers stand for equality of all men and women.” Standing tall,. loud, and proud (always lewd and never prude) is still more fun than old, and these boys can crank out a good time so easily that we can’t help but hope they move forward with all that potential.


Many thanks to Hamish at RHCP Sessions for the scan.