1995 Q Review of the 3 CD Box Set


Eight-Legged Groove Machine
Nothing here was covered by All Saints.
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Freaky Styley/The Uplift Mofo Party Plan/Mother’s Milk: 3CD Box

DESPITE THE ACCLAIM afforded their last album, 1999’s Californication, history seems destined to cast the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a gaggle of oafs, cruising the Hollywood Hills in their jacked-up Dongmobile, caning six-packs while exuding a curious whiff of lavender. Examining the early evidence, this is only partly true. Their second album, ’85’s Freaky Styley, sees George Clinton at the production wheel, with the skate-rockers indiscriminately embracing “The Funk”. Such laconic jams as Jungle Man and Hollywood plough an amiable enough furrow, though the same can’t be said of Sex Rap or Catholic School Girls Rule.

Regrouping for ’87’s The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, the band replaced Clinton with former Herbie Hancock collaborator Michael Beinhorn. Kicking off with the rabble-rousing Fight Like A Brave, he coaxed a workmanlike, if now dated, performance from the band, with only No Chump Love Sucker and Party On Your Pussy reminiscent of four fret-boys all hunched over the same nudie mag.

A year later, guitarist Hilel Slovak died of a drugs overdose and drummer Jack Irons bailed out. Enter replacements John Frusciante and Chad Smith, and with Beinhorn back in the chair, ’89’s Mother’s Milk got underway. Highlights such as Knock Me Down and a slap-driven cover of Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground were ultimately counterpointed by the compulsory onanistic jaunts of Stone Cold Bush and Sexy Mexican Maid. Nevertheless, this was the record that helped to catapult the band into the big leagues. Then singer Anthony Kiedis went and scored heroin under a bridge. Luckily he had a pen handy. The rest, as they say, is history.***

Ben Mitchell

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