Red Hot Chili Peppers: 1991 – 1999

November 28, 2006 at 9:00 am | Posted in nonsense, red hot chili peppers, tales of youth | 19 Comments

The Swearing Lady, in her hernia-inducingly humorous posts about how to be Irish, cites a love of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as one of the prerequisites to being a real Irishman (or Irishwoman, if you were, for example, female). Yesterday, a commenter in her blog said “The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band with two songs. Californication and the other one.”

I was appalled, so my response was:

Holy God…you blasphemous bejayzer. Two songs my hole. I can track my youth from the age of 12 on Chili Peppers songs.

I was half-joking, but thinking about it on the train* home, I realised, you know, that’s not so far from the truth:

1991: I start secondary school the same month that Blood Sugar Sex Magik is released, but it’s to be more than a year before I get to hear the album. Then, some time in ’92, a lad at school called Cronan gives me a tape, a copy of a copy (ridiculous hiss almost drowning out the music – you kids today with your MP3s and your HIVs don’t know how good you have it) of an album called What Hits?!, a kind of a mock Greatest Hits album by the Chili Peppers. It’s a hodge-podge of covers and originals going back to their earlier days, and includes a brilliant version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. There are a good few stand-out songs on the album (Show me your Soul and Knock me Down come to mind), but the one that made me really fall in love with their music was a little known song called Under the Bridge.

1992: A lad at school gives me a tape, a copy of a copy…seeing a pattern here? Heh. I’ve long since gone and bought all this stuff legitimately, but when you’re in your early teens and your family’s poor and you love music, there’s no other way to listen to it except copying tapes. Anyway, I get a bootlegged copy of Blood Sugar Sex Magik and it gets me through the next few (shitty, awful) years of school. I mean, the song I Could Have Lied may as well have been written for angst-ridden teens going through the agony of unrequited love, and I basked in my angst, oh yes, I relished the pain of what it was like to be an ugly teenager with a crush on an unattainable girl, and RHCP were there with me every step of the way, tending to and ripping open my mental wounds, scraping and soothing in equal measures. I love this album and know practically every word by heart.

1995: In ’94 I get my first job (truly depressing to think that I’ve never not had a job since), and I buy a CD player. My first CD is Soundgarden’s Superunknown, but Chili Peppers’ One Hot Minute is top of my list when it comes out in late ’95. After the near-perfection of BSSM, One Hot Minute is a disappointment: a fractured, disjointed effort sorely missing John Frusciante’s beautiful strumming and alot of the signature harmonies that made Blood Sugar Sex Magik so flippin great. Navarro just wasn’t right for the band, and he didn’t last long after that. That said, there are some classic songs on the album: Aeroplane, My Friends, One Hot Minute and One Big Mob all kick arse, but the one that surpasses them all (and the price of the album’s worth it for this song alone) is Tearjerker, a devastating, poignant tribute to Kurt Cobain written after Kiedis found out about his suicide. It’s a beautiful song, a perfect counterpoint to some of the near-metal Navarro-influenced tracks, and again, was a balm for a wanker in his late teens who was wallowing in despair at never being able to get anywhere with the opposite sex.

1997: I start going out with my first serious girlfriend. Chili Peppers have no new albums out. I should’ve known it wouldn’t work out. The relationship lasts until 5th June ’99, and ends with a kiss goodbye at Shannon Airport when I leave for America.

Coming soon: Red Hot Chili Peppers: 1999 – 2006.

*in between listening to the inane conversation of two of the stupidest bitches ever conceived – here’s a memorable snippet of idiocy:

Neddy bitch #1: “Do these trains have drivers?”

Neddy bitch #2: “Nah, they’re all run by computers these days.”

What the fucking fuck? Does she honestly think that the rail infrastructure of the UK is run by a few lads sitting in an office using PCs? I really wanted to turn around and shout “You stupid fuckin eejits, what kind of big thick foolheaded geebags are you? I bet you think planes are flown by remote control like some sort of winged Scalextric, don’t you?” before banging their heads together to try and knock some sense into them.

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19 Comments »

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  1. My brother used to drive a tube train. All he had to do was sit with his feet up in the… er… cockpit, supervising the computer and occasionally pushingthe Open Doors button. No joke!

    I too had a copy of a copy of BSSM. Well, alright, my older brother had a copy of a copy of BSSM. When I first heard Under The Bridge, I was but a child (11 or so)… when the song finished I was on my way to becoming the crusading nutjob I am now. The Chilis growed me, they did.

    Also, I’m listening to the Chilis right now! Is that not odd? No, because I’m Irish and we love them, we do. My Friends ftw!

  2. Tube schmube. I’m talking about proper trains, with the little man pushing levers and looking out for cars on the tracks up at the front.

  3. I’m not Irish, so I’m allowed to say this. I don’t really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I saw them on the Positive Mental Octupus tour, and I really couldn’t get into them. My friends think I’m crazy, but they just don’t do it for me. I would have enjoyed seeing them perform in nothing but their tube socks, though, as a friend of mine did in New Orleans sometime in the 80s.

  4. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is a part of my life soundtrack. Reminds me of the summer.

  5. They’re just less glossy Bon Jovi. Old Anthony’s a bit of a perv too, can’t decide if that makes me like him any more or less, meh…neither.

  6. Red Hot Chili Peppers… hmm, I am Irish so either I must have missed something or they’re complete capiscum oxymorons.

  7. “You kids today with your MP3s and your HIVs don’t know how good you have it..:”

    Kav, you are hilarious.

    I loved the Chili Peppers right up until they went rubbish. They had 17 good songs in total, and they can all be found on BSSM.

  8. Meh. Never liked the Chili Peppers. Always found the lead singer annoying, and they never did anything for me musically. Though I can also chart my formative years and young adulthood using Elvis Costello’s catalogue. And if THAT doesn’t tell you how old I am…

  9. Does she honestly think that the rail infrastructure of the UK is run by a few lads sitting in an office using PCs?

    Actually, that might not be a bad idea. Computers are the new fascists but at least they can make the trains run on time.

  10. I can’t eat food that has no chili peppers in it. And I can’t listen to radio that plays them either.

  11. Not much love for the Chili Peppers, I note with disapproval. Bunch of heathens, the lot of you.

  12. “Cronan”? WTF?

    Under the Bridge is one of the top 10 best songs of the Grunge Era.

    I have always been a Chilis fan too–reading your account was like reviewing my own life history–but lately (well okay, since about 2000) I find they run not so hot and mostly cold.

    That song about the …whatsitcalled…You know…”hum hum…Fly away on my [something like a blimp…old fashioned flight device]…” I keep thinking Dreadnought, but that’s not it.

    Anyhow, I find that song shockingly strange, but not in a good way. It’s like they had two choose between two songs and they just said “Fuck it, let’s splice ’em together.”

    p.s. Train story was hilarious.

  13. The music-writing equivalent of a photocopier – each song a slightly inferior copy of the last.

    It can get annoying after a while.
    Forgive me Kav, I was born in heathen lands. Northern Ireland, to be precise.

  14. Not sure what song you mean, whyioughtta. If it’s on the new album, I haven’t got it.

    kieran, not at all, each to their own. I’m at that stage that they’re such an ingrained part of my life that they could probably release a colection of nursery rhymes and I’d still listen to it. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly objective about their output.

  15. You people are cunts. The Chilis are two-chord gods.

    I joke about the two chords.

  16. Zephyr.

    Just remembered.

  17. Ah zephyr, I thought a zephyr was a gust of wind or something, not a blimp? Jaysis…

  18. Yah, you’re right…not sure why I thought of a blimp…Either way, the song’s quite bizarre.

  19. my top 30 from ’89:
    http://wallernotweller.wordpress.com/1983-top-40-best-singles-2/1989-top-40-singles-21-30/


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