Way back in 1983 high school friends Michael Balzary, Anthony Kiedis, Jack Irons and Hillel Slovak decided to start a band. Initially going by Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem as a joke, they soon realized it was going to get more serious. They came upon the name Red Hot Chili Peppers and started touring around California. Anthony and Flea wanted were anxious to make an album, but Hillel and Jack left when their other band, What Is This, got signed to a deal. So then Flea and Anthony hired Cliff Martinez on drums and Jack Sherman to play guitar on their first album. The original band then returned to create two more albums before Hillel (as we all know) died in 1988, prompting Jack to leave. They were replaced by two guys who didn’t gel with everybody else immediately, so they were asked to leave. They were replace with the immortal John Frusciante on guitar and Chad Smith on drums. The band then recording Mother’s Milk, their first gold record and first taste of success. This is a package that sums up the best work from a legendary band’s beginnings.
The first song is way different than the rest of the cd. Behind The Sun is a psychedelic track, chock full of awesome sounding sitar and great bass fills. It does showcase Flea’s trademark bass work, but what song doesn’t? Seriously, almost every song has a memorable bass line, most of them have a bass intro. Me And My Friends is a Chili Peppers classic. Great chanty vocals and lyrics about members of the band make this a highlight.
In my opinion, the later songs are the best. The band got better with each release, and songs like Knock Me Down prove it. This is a song with two meanings. One is Anthony telling everyone not to let drugs take control of him or he’ll end up like his best friend. The other is that people shouldn’t think that no one can stop them, and that overconfidence can easily be your downfall. Johnny Kick A Hole In The Sky is another great song. Great intro and great lyrics dealing with descrimination of Native Americans. The bass is slick as always. Like many of the band’s songs from this decade, this includes weird guest singers.
Each song by this band seems to have a chorus that you always feel the need to sing along to. True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes is just another example. Sure, you have no clue what Anthony is singing about during the verses, but one you feel the chorus coming on you have to shout it out. Another one would be Fight Like A Brave. Hillel plays a great guitar part here, while Anthony chants, “Fight Like A Brave!” Songs like these make this band easy to love. The guitar solos and slappy bass really make this music stand out.
If you don’t like the band’s older stuff, then don’t buy this. But if you love the band and are interested in the 80’s days, buy this or What Hits!?! If you’re cheap, then get this because it will be a few dollars less. People who buy this might be disappointed, but I’m going to give it a decent rating because it really sums up the early days well.