Red Hot Chili Peppers From Worst to Best

 

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers has officially turned 30.

Since then, we’ve seen many faces represent the actual Red Hot Chili Peppers. Both in the metaphorical and literal sense of the word. The world watched as RHCP made the transition from cock-sock punks to stadium-packing icons. Theirs is a storied discography, one that connects generations and seemingly antipathetic peers. The longevity and sustained relevance of the Chillis is quite the feat, to say the least.

It’s significant when a band can bridge such a variety of gaps: gaps between parent and child, between the music junkie and the passive fan, between the pierced and tatted and the straightlaced and buttoned-up. Common ground is the ultimate blessing music can bestow upon these diverse groups of people. Where, for a minute, we forget our discordant nature and simply share an appreciation with another human being. The fact that I can still feel something when Anthony Kiedis sings about the “scar tissue that I wish you saw” — despite how many times I’ve heard it — is testament to this notion.

 

 

 

Even as I sit here listening to select fractals of their discography to put me in the mood, I’m immediately taken back to another time: It’s 2006, I’m in 8th grade, and Stadium Arcadium has just come out. To this point, my musical digestion had consisted of the whims of my peers and the occasional guilty pleasure kept to myself. Cliched as it sounds, I fell in love with “Dani California”. Then, casually, the entire album and finally RHCP altogether. And that was it: my first sustained musical boner, one that has yet to go soft. This band was my entry point into the depths of music and my interest in all it can offer. Radiohead, Animal Collective, Black Flag, Fugazi … I’m not sure I would have gotten there if it wasn’t for RHCP. They are the lowest common denominator many of us share, a sentiment that echoes loudly in a world where genres swallow fans whole and put them at odds with each other.

As with all careers spanning three decades, there have been peaks and troughs. Perhaps the last couple releases did not take many risks, a fact that has caused many of my professional contemporaries to sour on the Chili Peppers. This polarization, however, has caused some to lose sight of how we got here. That’s where we come in: to give you a tidy list of where the Peppers went right, where they went less-right, and hopefully to engender the same glowing nostalgia running through my fingertips as they glide across these keys.

It has long been known that the C.I.A. and other government agencies have used rock music as a way to torture prisoners, and a new report from the United States Senate Intelligence Committee confirms the playlist included Red Hot Chili Peppers.  AlJazeera America reports (viaStereogum) that C.I.A. officials played a continuous loop of Chili Peppers music during the torture of suspected terrorist AbuZubaydah in 2002.Though the use of music in torture has been banned by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the practice is still permitted under U.S. law. In response, several bands, including Pearl Jam and R.E.M., have signed a petition demanding the U.S. government end the practice and release a list of the musicians whose work was used in torture. However, Metallica, another band known to have been used in torture, denied charges they asked the C.I.A. to stop using their music. “There has been a lot of talk recently about us asking the military not to use our music to ‘soften people up before interrogation,” the band said in a 2013 statement. “We NEVER commented to the military either way on this matter. Any statements that have been made otherwise are not correct.”

 

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers UPSET that their music was used to torture Guantánamo Bay prisoners

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Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith has vented his anger at US authorities after hearing that his band’s music was allegedly used to torture prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.

US officials speaking anonymously to Al Jazeera confirmed detailed techniques used by the CIA during the George Bush administration following the declassification process for the report on its own “enhanced interrogation” procedures used after September 11.

Among the techniques used to torture those suspected of being terrorists was exposure to the Californian band on repeat.

Speaking to Smith said: “I’ve heard that they use more… like, hard rock, metal… Our music’s positive man, it’s supposed to make people feel good and that’s… it’s very upsetting to me, I don’t like that at all. It’s bullshit.

“Maybe some people think our music’s annoying, I don’t care, but you know… (they) shouldn’t do that. They shouldn’t be doing any of that shit.”

One specific segment of the Senate Intelligence Committee report allegedly states that a suspect, named as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn Abu Zubaydah, was subjected to the technique at a black site prison out of Guantánamo Bay between May and July in 2002.

Red Hot Chili Peppers music used to torture prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers music used to torture prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.

US officials speaking anonymously to Al Jazeera confirmed details techniques used by the CIA during the George Bush administration following the declassification process for the report on its own “enhanced interrogation” procedures used after September 11. Among the techniques used to torture those suspected of being terrorists was exposure to the Californian band on repeat.

One specific segment of the Senate Intelligence Committee report states that a suspect, named as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn Abu Zubaydah, was subjected to the technique at a black site prison out of Guantánamo Bay between May and July in 2002.

The report also reveals the fact that Abu Zubaydah was stuffed into a pet crate and was shackled by his wrists to the ceiling of his cell as well as being subjected to an endless loop of loud music.

Earlier this year, industrial band Skinny Puppy revealed that they invoiced the US government after finding out that their music had allegedly been used as a ‘torture device’ at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Controversy over Red Hot Chili Peppers heats up

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Just as a cultural boycott was enforced on apartheid South Africa, so must one be enforced on Israel.

I was 10 years old when I stole my older brother’s cassette tape of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. In my small town in Massachusetts that fall, I traded in my air guitar for a much cooler air bass, rocking out to Flea’s rhythm on the hit single “Give It Away”. Twenty years later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still cranking out great music to a huge fan base and were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On September 10, the Chili Peppers are scheduled to play a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. The decision has caused quite a stir. More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on the band to cancel its performance in Israel. More than a dozen groups around the world have written letters calling on the band to cancel the show. I work with one of those groups.

Why would I call on a band I loved so much as a child, a band I still listen to today, to cancel a concert?

In 1948, my pregnant grandmother, countless relatives, and 750,000 other Palestinians were displaced from their homeland, making way for the creation of the state of Israel. My grandmother never saw her birthplace again, never picked another piece of fruit from her orchard, but spoke and dreamed of a dignified return until her final breath in 2009. Palestinians continue to languish in refugee camps; four million live under a system of increasingly brutal Israeli occupation, and 1.5 million Palestinians are relegated to second-class status inside of a state that is falsely presented as a democracy.

Boycott, divest and sanction

In 2005, Palestinian civil society, consisting of more than 170 unions, women’s organisations, cultural groups, academic institutions and nearly every other facet of society, called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the state of Israel until it complied with three basic demands based on international law: an end to occupation, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinians living inside of the state of Israel. Following the ethical, effective, and rights-based approach of cultural boycott against apartheid in South Africa, tens of thousands of voices in support of Palestinian rights have stated clearly: it is time to take action for freedom, justice, and equality.

Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band scheduled to open for the Chili Peppers in Lebanon, cancelled its lucrative slot after band members were asked to pull out of the concert in protest to the Chili Peppers’ decision to play in Israel. A growing list of artists, including Bono, Santana, the late Gil Scott-Heron, Elvis Costello, Cat Power, the Klaxons, the Gorillaz, and the Pixies, have refused to cross the international picket line and have pulled out of scheduled shows. Roger Waters, frontman for Pink Floyd and human rights advocate, said the boycott call is “a perfectly legitimate, nonviolent… political tool” and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated in support of cultural boycott, “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa… it would be wrong… to perform in Israel.”

What I have learned in my years as a spoken word performer is that art is not above politics. Reading my work in the Jim Crow South to an all-white audience would not have upended racism, nor would it have sparked a journey of introspection among the masses. The power of art lies with the oppressed, it wrote the freedom songs in South Africa, tuned the humming of prisoners in the H Blocks in Northern Ireland, and laced the chants against despotism in Tahrir Square.

Artists were targeted and shamed when they played Sun City in South Africa and lent aid to the image of the apartheid regime. This is why Boycott From Within, a group of Israelis, has called on the Chili Peppers to cancel their show. When art is used to bolster support for an oppressive state, when it is used to “present Israel’s prettier face” as an official for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs proclaimed in the New York Times, and when it used as a form of propaganda as stated by a former Israeli Foreign Ministry official – “I do not differentiate between hasbara [propaganda] and culture” – it is time for artists to end complicity.

Art alone cannot break down a wall that appropriates Palestinian land and resources, it cannot uproot illegal settlements, it cannot tear down checkpoints that restrict freedom of movement, it cannot release prisoners from administrative detention, and it cannot rebuild water wells. But artists and their art can inspire millions to take conscientious action against occupation and discrimination.

Towards justice

As the Chili Peppers concert date approaches, there are millions of people under Israeli rule who are unable to reach the concert simply because they are Palestinian. The Chili Peppers will not meet with Palestinians who worked in cultural centres attacked by the Israeli army, they will not hear the work of young recording artists who are separated by walls and checkpoints, and they won’t meet with the Palestinian hip hop artist who cancelled his tour because he was denied the right to leave his open-air prison. These details are left out of concert planning, but they are the daily reality for occupied, displaced, and oppressed Palestinians.

While I may not be that young kid strumming my air bass on my parents’ deck in Massachusetts, I still turn up the radio when the Chili Peppers come on. That is what makes writing these words so difficult. It is an easy choice to stand on the wrong side of history, when the history books have yet to be written. It is easy to call a show in Israel just another show when few accurately label Israel an apartheid state. At the moment, it still takes little effort to ignore the plight and call of millions of occupied Palestinians. But it is not the just stand. Martin Luther King once proclaimed, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.

King was right. This week, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have the option to bend toward justice or enable oppression.

Eat Your Heart Out Axl Rose: Chili Peppers Super Bowl XLVIII 2014 Best Performance!! (Video)

The Peppers in action at the Super Bowl

The Peppers in action at the Super Bowl

Flea explains Red Hot Chili Peppers’ unplugged Super Bowl Halftime performance, plus Axl Rose weighs in

Given that more people tuned into the Super Bowl Halftime Show than actually watched the game itself, someone was bound to notice a few things amiss. It wasn’t long before folks started pointing out that, for all their sock-hopping energy, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ instruments weren’t even plugged in. Now, it’s no surprise that they were playing to a backing track — in such a setting, with so much riding on the sound, everyone does it— but you’d think they could’ve at least tried to fake it.

In a new post on the band’s website, bassist Flea addressed Jack-Gate and the band’s decision to go unplugged. He made it clear that RHCP were skeptical about miming the show, as they’ve always had a policy against such deception. Still, at the end of the day, the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl, and the band “eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it.” Completely understandable. But then why not at least make it look real? “Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people,” Flea wrote. “Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance.” So ultimately, they figured it best to play a fake gig but not pretend it was real, while still demonstrating “the spirit of who we are to the people.”

Meanwhile, Axl Rose of all people has offered his own critique of the Chili Peppers’ performance. In a note titled “In The Name Of Science”, Rose stressed the “need to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of doubt,” adding “that in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier.”

He continued, “And besides… If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome!” Axl, don’t quit your day job.

Read both Flea and Rose’s respective statements below.

A Message From Flea

Flea yeaaaaaaaaah!

Flea yeaaaaaaaaah!

Dear everybody,

When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno to play our song Give It Away at the Super Bowl, it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded. I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it. The last time we did it (or tried to) was in the late 80′s, we were thrown off of ‘The Top Of the Pops’ television program in the U.K. during rehearsals because we refused to mime properly, I played bass with my shoe, John played guitar atop Anthony’s shoulders, and we basically had a wrestling match onstage, making a mockery of the idea that it was a real live performance.

We mimed on one or two weird MTV shows before that and it always was a drag. We take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert (like the night before the Super Bowl at the Barclays Center), knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. We have been on the road for 31 years doing it.

So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.

We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.

For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.

I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.

We, as a band, aspire to grow as musicians and songwriters, and to continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.

Sincerely,

Flea”

A Message From Axl Rose

In The Name Of Science

In regard to the internet’s “no wireless” controversy regarding the Red Hot Chili Peppers Superbowl performance as reported on ESPN…

I enjoyed the show and I’ve no idea what the real story is nor would I want to suggest or imply anyone wasn’t actually performing or that what they were playing wasn’t what we actually heard. That said I feel it’s important to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of doubt.

So consider that maybe sometime before their actual performance that rather than use a guitar cord or standard wireless, that in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier.

Maybe they all had microchips installed in their asses and not only pick up the frequencies of their instruments but get Direct TV and the internet too! Like Google Glass… Google Ass! They could be “Scientific Pioneers!” Like Buzz Aldrin and shit! True (pardon the pun)ASS-tro-nots! Or like Superbowl crash test dummies for bands kinda like those cars that drive themselves!

And besides… If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome!

So relax and show some pride! This is probably all just Google finding new ways to enrich our lives with the selfless volunteering of the Peppers and the ever ongoing creative process of true innovation or perhaps a new lounge bar record of super magnificent proportions and a new pinnacle of human achievement not seen since the sign language guy in South Africa!

God Bless America, the Peppers n’ technology… PN’T!

Ax

Red Hot Chili Peppers Headlining ‘Big Hello to Brooklyn’ Party !

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers

Pre-Super Bowl concert is part of three-day ‘Kickoff in Brooklyn’ event

Red Hot Chili Peppers will celebrate the next Super Bowl weekend in style. The funk-rock veterans will close out the three-day Kickoff in Brooklyn event, headlining WFAN’s “Big Hello to Brooklyn” concert at the Barclays Center on Saturday, February 1st.

The celebration will also feature performances from New Politics, MS MR, J Roddy Walston and the Business and Basic Vacation. Naturally, Kickoff in Brooklyn isn’t only focused on music: Prior to the concert will be a championship boxing match between “Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Luis Callazo (on January 30th) and an NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and championship contenders the Oklahoma City Thunder (on January 31st).

Tickets for the concert went on sale on December 20th, starting at 10 a.m. EST. on Ticketmaster and the Barclays Center website. American Express Card members can beat the crowd with an exclusive presale, which lasts from December 17th at 10 a.m. EST to December 19th at 10 p.m. EST. Any remaining tickets can be purchased at the Center’s American Express Box Office starting December 21st at noon EST.

Super Bowl XLVIII takes place on February 2nd, 2014 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In other Chili Peppers news, the band is currently still in flux with their next LP, which follows 2011’s I’m With You. This summer, drummer Chad Smith told Billboard that the band was hoping to start work in the fall, but that progress has been reportedly halted by bassist Flea’s tenure with the Thom Yorke-led project Atoms for Peace.

Red Hot Chili Peppers have denied reports they will cover Led Zeppelin @ Barclays Center Concert

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers performing in Detroit

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers performing in Detroit

Red Hot Chili Peppers have denied reports they will cover Led Zeppelin when they play the Super Bowl half-time show this weekend.The rockers will play the prestigious half-time performance at the annual American Football event with Bruno Mars on Sunday night (February 2) and earlier this week drummer Chad Smith claimed that the group would cover ‘Dazed & Confused’ on the night.

However, this has now been disputed by Smith, who told KROQ that he was just joking. “People in the media are so gullible sometimes. We will, however, be performing side one of Rush’s ‘2112’,” he said.Smith continued, “Obviously I can’t tell you what we’re going to do, it would ruin the surprise. Come on, you gotta watch! It’s gonna be great, Bruno Mars, we met them, his band are great people, today I’m going to rehearse with them outside in the beautiful weather here in New Jersey, it’ll be a real spectacle, I’m looking forward to it.”

The drummer also explained how the unlikely collaboration came about, “We know of the Bruno Mars, but we’re not homies,” Smith said. “This is what I know: the NFL said to Bruno, ‘You can have a special guest, and choose whomever you like.’ Bruno chose the Red Hot Chili Peppers because he’s a big fan, unbeknown to us. He called us and said, ‘Hey, would you guys be my guest at the halftime show, come and do a jam?’ We said, ‘Sure, sounds like fun.'”Super Bowl XLVIII takes place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on February 2. U2 will premiere their new song ‘Invisible’ during the event. The track will appear in an advert announcing a new partnership with Bono’s charity (RED) and Bank Of America.

Meanwhile, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, The Roots and Fall Out Boy will perform at a series of pre-Super Bowl events at New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum between January 30 and February 1.

Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to headline this summer’s Isle Of Wight Festival.

The band will play Saturday June 14 on the Main Stage, following previously announced Friday June 13 headliners, Biffy Clyro. They join Rudimental, Calvin Harris and The 1975 on the bill. The show is Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first UK festival appearance since 2007. The band have released a statement about their set, explaining that it will be their only UK show of 2014. The statement reads:”To headline the Isle of Wight Festival is a once in a lifetime opportunity, following in the footsteps of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. When we were offered the slot, we jumped at the chance… it will be our only show in the UK/Ireland this year… so we intend to make it really special.”

Isle Of Wight Festival runs from June 12-15 in Seaclose Park. For more information visit Isleofwightfestival.comRed Hot Chili Peppers recently denied reports they will cover Led Zeppelin when they play the Super Bowl half-time show this weekend. The rockers will play the prestigious event at the annual American Football final with Bruno Mars on Sunday night (February 2) and earlier this week drummer Chad Smith claimed that the group would cover ‘Dazed & Confused’ on the night.However, this has now been disputed by Smith, who told KROQ that he was just joking. “People in the media are so gullible sometimes. We will, however, be performing side one of Rush’s ‘2112’,” he joked. Super Bowl XLVIII takes place at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. U2 will premiere their new song ‘Invisible’ during the event. The track will appear in an advert announcing a new partnership with Bono’s charity (RED) and Bank Of America.