Friday, May 12, 2006

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is my no disclaimer all out expression of love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Their new album is great. Stadium Arcadium- cool name, great sound. I have loved the Chili Peppers for a long time, in fact one of the revolutionary moments of my life was the first time I saw the video for "Give It Away". And I don't think "revolutionary" is too strong a term. The dancing, the hair, the tattoos, the music... it all spoke to me. Out of all the musicians and genres of music out there, I definitely feel the most attached to the Peppers.

Their early stuff was deeply influenced by the fun aspects of rock n' roll- Hendrix and punk-based, jump around the room, go crazy. Heck, one of their most popular early songs was called "Get Up And Jump". And when you hear the song, you actually want to do just that. One of the more underestimated forces in rock is the funk sound. With George Clinton producing and having a bass player who was a trumpet prodigy, their early sound lacked the dark, menacing aspects of heavy metal or grunge without losing any integrity due to lack of intensity.

They have never taken themselves seriously unless they had to. They are a party band first, playing shows only wearing sock. (Emphasize the singular "sock") It's unfortunate that they ever discovered heroin. They are the beauty and the debauchery of California at the same time. California is an idea that both drives and dictates the sound and concept of the Chili Peppers. Between the Beach Boys and The Chili Peps, California has a soundtrack that defines a very unique place.

Musically... my goodness. John Frusciante is an inferno. He joined the Chilis when he was only 18. Flea is probably one of the top 5 rock bassists of all-time and his sound helps define what makes the Peppers unique. And just ask Mike about Chad Smith's snare drum. I think he could write a blog just about the recorded sound of that drum. Anthony Kiedis' lyrics are a mix of fun-rap-seussical non-sense on the fun songs, deep and introspective on the heavier songs. They define rap-rock. They define alternative rock along with the Smashing Pumpkins, Jane's Addiction, Sonic Youth, the Pixies, and others.

Above all, the Chili Peppers are committed to their craft. It is their lives. They create iconic images and sounds which will influence generations. They are party anthems ("Aeroplane") and cold hungover mornings ("Road Trippin'"). They are sweaty, freaky, rollicking insanity ("Higher Ground") and honesty ("I Could Have Lied") at the same time. Stadium Arcadium is perhaps the ultimate statement for the Peppers, and one that should cement their place as one of the best bands of the last 20 years.


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