Successful new line-up (1988

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Posted on Fri, 11/07/2014 - 2:59pm
by John MacMillan

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After losing two of the original band members, Flea and Kiedis started looking for musicians to fill those spots. Shortly after Irons departure they chose as Slovak's replacement DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight, former member of Parliament-Funkadelic and who at one point briefly filled in for Slovak, when he was temporarily fired. D. H. Peligro of the punk rock outfit Dead Kennedys replaced Irons. Kiedis and Flea had been friends of Peligro for many years and even had a joke band together called Three Little Butt Hairs. With a new lineup set, Kiedis decided to enter rehab to fix his drug problem. Kiedis entered a rehab facility in Van Nuys called ASAP. After two weeks into Kiedis' rehab he was taken by his counselor, Bob Timmons, to finally visit Slovak's grave. Kiedis had no desire to be there, however Timmons urged him to talk to Slovak. Within minutes, Kiedis had opened up and could not stop crying. Thirty days later, Kiedis left rehab and was ready to resume his career with the band. Three dates into the tour, McKnight was fired, because the chemistry wasn't there with the other three McKnight was with the band however long enough to record one song, "Blues For Meister", a song sung by Flea. McKnight was so unhappy about being fired he threatened to burn Kiedis' house down.

Shortly after McKnight's firing, Peligro introduced Kiedis and Flea to a young teenage guitarist named John Frusciante. Kiedis actually had met Frusciante a year earlier outside of one of the band's shows. Frusciante was originally directed to audition for the band Thelonious Monster, however Kiedis said right away he knew, that Frusciante was going to be in his band. An avid Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, Frusciante was, according to Flea, "a really talented and knowledgeable musician. He [Frusciante] knows all the shit I don't know. I basically know nothing about music theory and he's studied it to death, inside and out. He's a very disciplined musician—all he cares about are his guitar and his cigarettes." Frusciante performed his first show with the band on September 17, 1988. The new lineup started right away writing music for the next album and went on a short tour dubbed the Turd Town Tour although in November, Kiedis and Flea felt the need to fire drummer Peligro due to his own various drug and alcohol problems. Much like McKnight, Peligro didn't take the news well. It was Flea's turn to do the firing and it was worse than the band could have imagined. Flea stayed in bed for days after making the tough decision. Years later Kiedis said firing Peligro was one of the toughest things the band ever had to do, however Kiedis became a major part of Peligro's road to sobriety, which began right after he was fired.

The Chili Peppers were again without a drummer and were forced to hold open auditions. Denise Zoom, a friend of the band suggested Chad Smith, claiming he was the best drummer she had ever seen, that he ate drums for breakfast. The band agreed to audition Smith, however he was late and the last to audition. Kiedis recalled the first time he saw Smith by saying "I spied this big lummox walking down the street with a really bad Guns N' Roses hairdo and clothes that were not screaming I've got style". Smith was a six-foot three-inch tall drummer who, according to Flea, "lit a fire under our asses". From the moment they started jamming, Smith and Flea instantly clicked. The band knew they had their guy. Smith was a hard-hitting musician the Chili Peppers believed they would create a strong relationship with. Kiedis later said the audition with Smith "left the band in a state of frenzied laughter, that we couldn't shake out of for a half an hour". Smith was so much different from the other three. Kiedis, Flea and Frusciante were heavily influenced by the punk rock, where Smith's taste in heavy metal music and biker appearance went against their punk rock views. Kiedis informed Smith he would be hired on one condition. As an initiation to the band, Smith had to cut his long heavy metal looking haircut. Smith refused though Kiedis wasn't about to argue with the much larger Smith. Smith was hired as the band's fourth drummer on December 3, 1988.

Unlike the stop-start sessions for The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987), where Kiedis would frequently disappear to seek drugs, pre-production for Mother's Milk (1989) went smoothly. The band recorded basic tracks during March and early April 1989 at Hully Gully studios in Silver Lake; songs like "Knock Me Down" were formed from jam sessions without any input from returning producer Michael Beinhorn. Although there had been stress and conflict during the recording of other Chili Peppers albums, the Mother's Milk sessions were especially uncomfortable due to Beinhorn's incessant desire to create a hit. Frusciante and Kiedis were frustrated with the producer's attitude. In April 1989, the Chili Peppers embarked on a short tour to break in the new lineup.

Released on August 16, 1989, Mother's Milk peaked at number 52 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The record failed to chart in the United Kingdom and Europe, but climbed to number 33 in Australia. "Knock Me Down" reached number six on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks whereas "Higher Ground" charted at number eleven; the latter of the two ultimately proved to be more successful, however, by influencing foreign charts at number fifty-four in the UK and forty-five in Australia and France. Mother's Milk was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in late March 1990—it is now certified platinum—and was the first Chili Peppers album to ship in excess of 500,000 units.

 

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Red Hot Chili Peppers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hot_Chili_Peppers

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