Assorted Clippings (no date)

Funky Monkeys

From socks on cocks to biggest band in the world.

WHEN DAVE NAVARRO accepted an invitation to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993, he laid down one condition: the “socks on cocks. malarkey had to go. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea reassured that daft gimmicks were out. At the guitarist’s second ever performance with the band, headlining the Woodstock II festival in front of over 100,000 people, all three men took the stage in one-piece silver space suits, a giant glowing light bulb atop each head. Like others before him, Navarro was learning  that becoming a Chili Pepper,— one of the .perpetrators of hardcore, bone-crunching mayhem sex things from heaven”, as Kiedis liked to view  the band— can do strange things l to a man.

Whatever fantastical were being  projected inside Kiedis’ head as  he dropped LSD before he and Flea first shared a stage as Tony Flow And The Miraculously Majestic Masters Of Mayhem in 1983, they were surely nothing compared with the unfolding reality of the duo’s lives over the ensuing 20 years. Their band’s story, a warped morality tale revolving around drugs, carnality, friendship and the relentless pursuit of what Kiedis calls “that mean motherfucker The Funk”, is the most colourful in modem rock and, relating it (without any official band input) in a comprehensively revised update of his 1993 band biography, Thompson delivers an authoritative page-turner. Though the writing is scholarly, rather than passionate, the book is not short on drama—any familiar with what lies ahead will wince at ICiedis’ early boast that he and his friends ”weren’t slaves to the drugs” and it’s hard to imagine that anyone reading it will argue with Flea’s assertion that his band are the slidenest, glidenest, movinest, groovinest, hippinest, hoppinest, rockinest, jamminest, slamminest” group on the block.

Published: 5 August

Best Bit: Thompson’s digressions on the band’s formative influences- LA punk, British post-punk and hip hop- in Chapter 3 are particularly authoritative.

Worst Bit: The story of John Frusciante’s descent into drug addiction after leaving the band is glossed over in just two paragraphs. (Chapter 16, page 237).

Strange But True: The 25-year friendship between Anthony Kiedis and Flea has its origins in a scrap between the two at LA’s Fairfax High School. “He looked like a lunatic,” recalled Flea. “I figured I better get on his good side.”

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS guitarist John Frusciante paid a touching tribute to Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone, who is battling cancer in a Los Angeles hospital. During the bands’ set at Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium on June 13, Frusciante called Ramone on his mobile phone and got the crowd to shout, We love you, Johnny!’ Our thoughts are with you, Johnny.

The RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS will soundtrack Disneyland’s Space Mountain and California Screamin’ roller coasters. Punters can now bring their lunch up to Chilis tracks Higher Ground and Around The World. Expect to hear Kaiser Chiefs over the “teacups” at Blackpool Pleasure Beach this summer.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS’ former guitarist Jack Sherman had his lawsuit against the band thrown out of a Los Angeles court because he had waited too long to bring the action. Sherman claimed that he was unfairly kicked out of the band in 1988 and was not paid his full share of the profits. The judge also dismissed Sherman’s claim that the reason he had not brought the suit within the three-year statutory limit was because childhood abuse had made him “passive”.
I recently bought a funk compilation which contains a Dr John track, Shut D. Fonk Up. On first listen I thought to myself I was hearing Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on vocals. On second listen I was convinced. Any info? Are there any more obscure Red Hot Chili Peppers tracks out there?

Anthony Kiedis did indeed co-write and sing on Shut D. Fonk Up, a track from Dr John’s 1994 album, Television, one of a bewildering number of Red Hot Chili
Peppers solo appearances and guest appearances over the years. John Frusciante recorded two solo albums, 1997’s Smile From The Streets You Hold and 1994’s Niandra Ladies And Usually Just A T-Shirt, which contains the charmingly titled Your Pussy, Glued To A Building On Fire. Chad Smith and Dave Navarro had a sideline career as remixers, working on former prim star Tracey Lords’ Fallen Angel in 1995 and Jamiroquai’s 1997 single, Alright. The duo have also backed New York shock-jock Howard Stern on the track I Make My Own Rules from the Private Parts soundtrack. Bassist Flea recorded a solo track, I’ve Been Down, on the soundtrack to the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Basketball Diaries, backed Mick Jagger on his 1993 album, Wandering Spirit and former Clash leader Joe Strummer on his South Park contribution, It’s A Rockin’ Wodd. He and Dave Navarro also play on Alanis Morrisette’s You Oughta Know.





RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS have been at the centre of a series of rumours linking them to the death of actor River Phoenix. One leading British tabloid’s report of Phoenix’s passing suggested that the Peppers had been playing in the Viper Room club in Hollywood on October 31, the night Phoenix died outside the club. It claimed that Phoenix’s friend Johnny Depp had been singing with the band at the time of Phoenix’s collapse. In fact, a band spokeswoman insisted last week, they hadn’t played anywhere on the night in question.

Last week, another strong rumour falsely suggested that the Los Angeles Police Department had issued a warrant for the arrest of Jesse Tobias, the guitarist sacked by the Peppers lost month, in connection with Phoenix’s death.

A spokeswoman for the band said last week: “Flea [Peppers’ bassist] was a friend of River Phoenix, and that’s the only reason I con think of for all these rumours. But then there was a time not very long ago when lots of people were ringing if it was true that Anthony had committed suicide.  Because the Chili Peppers have had a fairly chequered past, with lots of deaths and sackings, there have always been a lot of stories going around about them.”


Phoenix was never an official Pepper, actually, but he came close. Before he died of a cocaine and heroin overdose in 1993, the star of such films as My Own Private Idaho and Stand By Me spent a lot of time with the band. He played in a group with Flea (his co-star in Idaho), appeared an a solo album by guitarist John Frusciante and was close friends with Anthony Kiedis. The band even alluded to their buddy and his generous spirit in their 1991 hit “Give It Away,” with the lines: “There’s a river, born to be a giver/Keep you warm, won’t let you shiver/His heart is never gonna wither.”

After Phoenix’s death, the Peppers penned another tribute to him, “Transcending,” from 1995’s One Hot Minute. And the cult icon has inspired plenty of other musicians, too. Rufus Wainwright, Belinda Carlisle and Natalie Merchant each wrote songs about him, R.E.M. dedicated 1594’s Monster to his memory and Houston pop-punkers Fenix•TX used to be called Riverfenix before changing their name at the family’s request.



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