Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (2004). If you only ever read one book on RHCP, this should be the one! Obviously, it’s Anthony’s autobiography so it focuses on him but there is a lot of information from his personal point of view on the band and its history. More information on the book, including different covers from worldwide editions, on AnthonyKiedis.net
Lords of the Sunset Strip by Blackie Dammett (2013)- an honorary band member in this case! Well worth a read if you are a RHCP fan. It is a biography of Blackie’s life so obviously the focus is on him, but there is a lot of info on RHCP and obviously Anthony too. (And if you look at the acknowledgements, you might realise why this book has a very special place in my heart!).
Acid For The Children: A Memoir by Flea (2019). Flea’s autobiography detailing his early life, school years and major relationships. And lots of drugs. The book stops with the formation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but there are enough details to interest die-hard RHCP fans and the writing of his earlier life does provide a very colourful snapshot into a very specific period. Info page HERE
Behind the Sun: Diary of Hillel Slovak by James Slovak (1999) A nicely arranged collection of Hillel’s art work and diary extracts with photos of Hillel and the rest of the band put together by Hillel’s brother, James.
Don’t Try this at Home by Dave Navarro & Neil Strauss (2004). Mostly an account of his life but there are some snippets of info about RHCP e.g. what happened when he left the band and some photos. Warning: it is a very dark book and there are lots of references to drug use.
Red Hot Chili Peppers Fandemonium by David Mushegain (2014). An extensive collection of photographs of fans taken worldwide throughout the I’m With You Tour. There are smaller & larger features on major fans, crowd shots, photos of memorabilia, etc. together with a lengthy 32 page in-depth foreword by Anthony Kiedis.
Me and My Friends: Red Hot Chili Peppers by Tony Woolliscroft (2008). Amazing book! This is a collection of photos taken by Tony Woolliscroft over the years with added anecdotes and stories related to the background of the photos.Tony had access to the band in a way few photographers did during their earlier career so his photos really capture the band and there are lots of backstage and candid shots. There are so many iconic Chili Peppers photos in this book.
Around the World: Red Hot Chili Peppers in Pictures (2012) by Tony Woolliscroft. This is a mini-version in effect of Woolliscroft’s Me and My Friends: Red Hot Chili Peppers to accompany the photography exhibition he had of the same name which was held at several venues in England.
Body Parts on the road with RHCP by Grier Gorvoko. As the title suggests, the book is mostly about being on the road with RHCP. An arty book with sections on festivals in general and some specific concert dates e.g. the Free Tibet Concert. Many candid & original shots of the band backstage and during down time while travelling. Also, body parts feature too- possibly not a book to leave on the coffee table when grandma is visiting (Flea and a particular body part shoved in a wine glass is honestly not something I ever wanted to see!!!).
Books About the Band
Out in LA by Hamish Duncan (2023). You can read my full review of the book here but it is the most informative and well written book on the band. It does only cover the first year of the band’s existence but it gives such a detailed and enjoyable account of that first year; the concerts, the history and the band within the LA sub-culture of the time.
An Aural and Visual History by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Brendan Mullen* (2010) An official book with lots of information, photos, etc.The forward is by Flea. It does contain some mistakes but it is still very informative.
*Brendan’s Death Song is about his death.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers: By the Way. The Biography by Dave Thompson (2004) A really detailed history of the band with a few photos.
True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes by Dave Thompson (1992). I don’t own this book but I’ve been reliably informed that it’s essentially the same as Thompson’s ‘By The Way‘ book minus 10 years.
Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Making of Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Joel McIver (2005). Obviously this book looks at the making of BSSM and does so in detail; it examines the context to the album, the people involved, the actual songs and the impact of the album.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Inside the Veins of the Velvet Glove by Martin Roach (2004) An unofficial history of the band but a very detailed account.
Fornication: The Red Hot Chili Peppers Story by Jeff Apter (2004) A very in-depth history of the band. It says it’s illustrated but there are just a few photo pages inserted into the book. Annoying subtitles for each chapter.
Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs (Hephaestus Books; no author listed) A collection of facts & anecdotes about RHCP songs up to Stadium Arcadium taken from Wikipedia and collected song by song e.g. charting positions for singles, video details, background facts and meanings (various info for each song dependent on what is available). Also has sections on RHCP band member collaborations on other songs.etc.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: In the Studio by Jake Brown (2008). A very detailed & researched book looking at the history of the band up to 2008. Quotes articles and books and goes into depth.
Red Hot Chili Peppers by Spike Harvey (1995) Essentially a history of the band but with lots of (full page) photographs.
Give It Away Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Stories Behind Every Song by Rob Fitzpatrick (2004). Obviosuly, contains information about RHCP songs arranged album by album but there is also a band/recording history woven into this and lots of photographs.
Red Hot Chili Pepper: Sugar and Spice by Chris Watts (1994) Another band history with quotes. Lots of (full page) colour photos.
Kerrang! Legends RHCP (2003). One of a series of focus books produced by British rock magazine, Kerrang! It features reprints of features & articles on the band that were previously published in their magazine plus loads of photos.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Greatest Hits Recorded Versions Guitar: authentic transcriptions with notes and tablature (2003) by Hal Leonard.
Red Hot Chili Peppers by Gillian G. Gaar A book looking at the history of the band, band’s albums and band members. it also includes facsimiles of numerous pieces of band memorabilia e.g. tour passes and posters. Available in both English and Spanish editions.
Running with Monsters by Bob Forrest (2013). This is Bob’s autobiography but given his very close connection to the band, there are lots of mentions, stories and anecdotes about the band and band members. (Well worth a read in its own right but the RHCP mentions are an added bonus)
De Grote Borneo Expeditie (1996) by Henk Schiffmacher. Dutch. The account of Schiffmacher’s infamous trek with Anthony Kiedis through the jungle of Borneo; includes extracts from Anthony’s diary. (Schiffmacher., better known as Hanky Panky, is a famous Amsterdam tattoo artist and responsible for a lot of AK’s own ink).
Books Which Include RHCP
Band Together by Mirit Eliraz. Looking at the internal dymanics of several bands including RHCP
Appetite For Destruction by Mick Wall – A collection of various interviews he wrote for mostly Kerrang! magazine collected together as a book and one chapter is a re-run of an interview with Anthony Kiedis.
Whores: An aural history of Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction ( includes many mentions of RHCP) by Brendan Mullen
Humo’s Rock ‘n Roll Gids by Humo. (1996) Dutch book with a naked Flea on the cover
If you know of any other books, please could you comment/message with the details (photos would be brilliant if possible too!) and I’ll update this list.
Many thanks to the following people for additional info, titles and photos of books:
Stephen Mahon, Angra Chavez (Body Parts) cover and for buying me a copy of the book, Kristin Jakes (cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers by Gillian G. Gaar), Eric Rolstad (Running With Monsters), Cesar Conocidos (True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes and Spanish edition of Red hot Chili Peppers by Gillian G. Gaar) and Laura Loens (Band Together & details of the Dutch language books)
(The other books are my own).