I promised to write about pop culture, as well as sports, when I started this blog a couple months ago. I got busy with the spring sports season and didn’t follow through. Let’s correct that.
When I was a kid, before I found rock and roll - I mean before I really found it - there was the Red Hot Chili Peppers' BloodSugarSexMagik.
I was only 10, so maybe I couldn’t admire its genius at the time, which was only brief exposure to Under the Bridge and Give It Away via MTV when my parents weren’t looking. But, I still feel like it’s more revered today than it ever was then. Sure, it showed up on MTV on repeat, but it was crossing several genres in a time in which hair metal dominated rock radio and NWA dominated rap radio.
BloodSugarSexMagik was really somewhere in between.
It was a breakthrough album that can best be described as what I believe came to be known as the L.A. rock sound. There was a little punk, there was a little soul, there was a little rap and there was definitely rock and roll.
Anthony Kiedis didn’t really think of himself as a singer, but he was. Bassist Flea was a really different dude. Guitarist John Frusciante came up with some really funky riffs. It was fun.
To think Red Hot Chili Peppers would become my generation’s Rolling Stones, though, was unthinkable.
Kiedis was a drug addict from the beginning - Under the Bridge is specifically about the Heroin scene in L.A. in the 80s - and Frusciante - already the band’s second guitarist as Hillel Slovak overdosed in 1988 - has battled heroin addiction since joining the band.
They survived those days. Out came One Hot Minute and Californication - the album that sold me - and then By the Way and Stadium Arcadium. It was all brilliant. And while everything was original, it all felt like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Here they are, literally 30 years after their first album, 25 years after their breakthrough - BloodSugarSexMagik - still making relevant, popular and stunning music.
Their newest single, Dark Necessities, is a little of all their sound rolled into one. The fact that its a good song is remarkable. Many bands from the late 80s and 90s are still around, but many aren’t making the quality of music that RHCP is. Take time to enjoy it. The album, The Getaway, will be out June 17. I’m looking forward to it.
My favorites: (in order of release date):
Breaking the Girl
Under the Bridge
Soul to Squeeze
By The Way
Snow (Hey Oh)
Tell Me Baby