Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Number 310 On The Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time
By 1991, Anthony Kiedis and Michael Balzary (more commonly known as Flea) had realised they had finally found replacements for Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons, their two founding members who had both been struck by tragedy. Slovak had died from a heroin overdose and Irons had become a recluse due to his grief.
Kiedis and Flea wanted to stay with the band they’d been a part of since high school. Consequently, they auditioned many guitarists and drummers, searching for replacements. They went through various new band members but no one ever quite worked.
Then, a teenager by the name of John Frusciante walked in. Not classic sex appeal or stage charisma, but Frusciante had been a fan of the band since they first started playing in clubs in L.A. and could play every guitar and bass part. He walked into Kiedis and Flea’s auditioning room, played guitar like the ghost of Slovak himself and changed the course of the band’s success forever.
With Frusciante and their other new recruit, Chad Smith, the band set about producing the album Mother’s Milk
. However, Slovak’s spirit suffused the record and whilst there are some truly outstanding tracks, that album also has the sound of a band still trying to gel properly.
However, it was their most successful record to date and the world was beginning to take notice. It was then that Red Hot Chili Peppers began to work on what is seen by many as their finest work. Recorded in their producer’s mansion, using scrap metal as instruments, the band were constantly reinventing their sound and trying to change the history of rock music.
They may just have succeeded.
Anthony Kiedis – Vocals
John Frusciante – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Flea – Bass Guitar
Chad Smith – Drums
Blood Sugar Sex Magik
is a deeply appropriate name for this album – each potent ingredient in the title is contained throughout.
– This is the sound of four red-blooded males at their prime. Their youthful energy is everywhere, in the spirited vocals, leaping guitar riffs, funky bass lines and pounding percussion. Their passion shines through on tracks like The Power Of Equality
and Funky Monks
– There is an unexpected sweetness to some of the tracks here. Breaking The Girl
and My Lovely Man
deal with some of Kiedis’ personal demons (Breaking The Girl
is about his mother and father’s separation and divorce; My Lovely Man
is about Hillel Slovak). There is also the gorgeous song I Could Have Lied
, which features some beautiful guitar from Frusciante. Then of course there is the band’s signature song – Under The Bridge
. A harrowing song dealing with heroin addiction, Kiedis finally lets himself sing and the result is a master class in rock balladry.
– The Peppers live up to their reputation and fill this record with lewd sexuality. The title track practically writhes through its 4 minutes 31 seconds and songs such as Sir Psycho Sexy
and Suck My Kiss
are storming funk anthems paying homage to this most ancient of activities.
So, what do you get when you add blood, sugar and sex? Magik
This is a truly outstanding slice of the particular type of funk rock this band produce. It’s high energy with high skill musicianship from all band members, especially Flea and Frusciante.
You’ll most probably already have an opinion on this band, all I can say is that if you do not despise songs like Give It Away
, Can’t Stop
and Around The World
then this album is an essential part of your collection. It’s zany, eclectic, bursting with spirit and originality and it doesn’t take itself all that seriously, whilst being genuinely touching in some parts.