Review Summary: Young, reckless, and unable to make a good start.8 of 8 thought this review was well written
Tough the departure of long-time and essential guitarist John Frusciante in December 2009 has left a dent in what would seem to be the finally stable classic formation of the Los Angeles group, the Red Hot Chili Peppers
have since long established their position as one of the most famous bands of their generation, their breakthrough album Blood Sugar Sex Magik
and comeback Californication
having catapulted the quartet into worldwide recognition. And like many a group, they started out as young rascals passionate for music. The band’s roots lay in their high school, where the ensemble of vocalist Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak, bassist Michael Balzary (aka Flea) and drummer Jack Irons formed Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem
as a one-time occasion. Their single performance was so well-received, however, that they were asked to return and play again. Upon this success, the band changed their name to Red Hot Chili Peppers and continued playing together. That was only the start of a fruitful career that last already more than 25 years today.
It was only months after that first performance EMI decided to pick them up, and though Slovak and Irons left, pre-occupied with the band they were already in, replacements were quickly found in Jack Sherman and Cliff Martinez. In ’84, RHCP released their eponymous debut, and fully launched the start of their career.
Unsurprisingly, the sound of the band’s first album is exactly that of a raw, young and especially undeveloped group. The Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t have much going for them creatively yet, but makes up for it with the raw energy that has long remained a defining factor for the band, and a catalyst for their popularity. From the beginning, Flea shows he is the most talented member of the group, his typically aggressive, slapping bass sound forming the backbone of the early, simplistic funk rock. In fact, he remains much more dominant than both drums and guitar, Sherman and Martinez not being the most talented members the RHCP-formation has ever seen. At this point in their career, Kiedis has not developed his voice very well yet. Though not known as the best of singers, the man has in later years shown to have a clearly recognizable tone and definite ability in both clean singing and rapping. For the Peppers’ earlier years, he turns at almost all times to the latter.
The band's first work is not very well-produced, and quality-wise, it is is exactly what you would expect, knowing how much the band has grown since. Though the early brand of raw funk rock can be infectious at times, most clearly shown by the energetic Get Up and Jump
, Out in L.A.
, as well as the more laid-back opener True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes
, not everything quite makes the mark. As shown with Baby Appeal
and Green Heaven
, Kiedis’ vocals are, being undeveloped and samey-sounding, not enough to carry to tracks. Half-joke tracks, a recurring feature in the band’s earlier years, here in the form of Mommy Where’s Daddy
, Police Helicopter
, or the 17-second filler You Always Sing the Same
don’t exactly help either. The record doesn’t even succeed in closing off on a high note, the purely atmospheric Grand Pappy du Plenty
seeming yet another filler instead of an actual serious approach.
For the first Red Hot Chili Peppers album, the judgement is very clear. Only half the musicians carry real talent, or potential, in Kiedis’ case. It’s badly produced, and though there are some rewarding moments showing what early RHCP was all about, it is also ridden with filler and unserious attempts at creating a song. Seeing they were young and reckless, and considering the material they released later, they can be forgiven for it, but that doesn’t chance the fact that The Red Hot Chili Peppers
is a poor affair, even for a debut.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Red Hot Chili Peppers were:
- Anthony Kiedis ~ Lead Vocals
- Michael Peter ‘Flea’ Balzary ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Jack Sherman ~ Lead Guitar
- Cliff Martinez ~ Drums
True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes
Get Up and Jump
Out in L.A.
TO BE CONTINUED…