Wednesday, August 13, 2014

mother's milk

The Red Hot Chili Peppers tasted the pain and showed the nature of their spirit with the funky flavors of this redemptive rebirth. Fairfax High School students Anthony Kiedis, Michael Balzary, Hillel Slovak, and Jack Irons started out as “Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem”, a one-off splinter group from another band What Is This?. The performance was such a success that they were invited back and took on a new name: The Red Hot Chili Peppers. When both groups were simultaneously offered recording contracts, Slovak and Irons decided to stick with What Is This? while Kiedis and Balzary (AKA Flea) recruited Cliff Martinez and Jack Sherman to record their eponymous debut with Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill producing. The band was at odds with Gill over the sound that they wanted to produce with the producer pushing them toward a more radio-friendly sound. Slovak returned for 'Freaky Styley', which was produced by George Clinton who brought in some serious funk to their sound. The heavy heroin use of the rest of the band led to drummer Martinez leaving and Irons coming back to reform their high school line up. They worked with producer Michael Beinhorn on 'The Uplift Mofo Party Plan'.

When Slovak died of a heroin overdose the next year, Irons quit the band. After much soul searching, Kiedis and Flea decided to continue what Slovak helped built and teamed up with Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight and Dead Kennedys drummer D. H. Peligro. McKnight would be replaced by teenage prodigy John Frusciante and Peligro by the more metal minded Chad Smith. A brief tour got them warmed up for the studio.

Kiedis considered: "When Hillel died, the attitude change in the band was enormous. I felt like a bit of my soul had been chiselled away. He was such a big part of my life, a close friend and an amazing guitar player, that it was really like someone cutting half of your heart out and telling you to carry on. It was very enlightening as well. Sad as it is, I learned so much from him dying. The whole life that we lead is a series of losses and gains. By losing Hillel I gained a greater respect for my own life and also for the relationship and love that I share with my friends...As a youth growing up taking a hit of acid can be instrumental in the way you're going to lead the rest of your life. But I reached the point where it no longer worked for me. So I made the change in my whole lifestyle, which was difficult after 12 years of getting high on something everyday. I think that the change has lent itself to a more extreme focus on what the whole band is aboutand my music. We feel the need to stick together, stay strong, and finish what we began all those years ago with this band."

'Mother's Milk' was recorded at Ocean Way Studios and Image Studios in Hollywood, California with producer and engineer Michael Beinhorn and credits Flea on bass guitar, trumpet, and backing vocals; Anthony Kiedis on lead vocals and art concept; John Frusciante on guitar and backing vocals; Chad Smith on drums and percussion; with Hillel Slovak on guitar and Jack Irons on drums on 'Fire'; and added contributions from Philip "Fish" Fisher on drums; Keith "Tree" Barry on tenor saxophone; Patrick English on trumpet; Lon on trombone; Dave Coleman on cello; Vicki Calhoun, Wag, Randy Ruff, Aklia Chinn, Jack Sherman, Joel Virgel Viergel, Iris Parker, Julie Ritter, Gretchen Seager, Laure Spinosa, Sir Babs, Merill Ward, Bruno Deron, and Kristen Vigard on backing vocals. Tension arose with Beinhorn over his drive to produce a hit single with a sound that was closer to metal than the funky punk the band was after.

Despite all of that, 'Mother's Milk' broke the band internationally, going to number sixty-nine in the Netherlands, fifty-two in the US, forty-seven in New Zealand, and thirty-three in Australia. The album has sold over a million copies.

Flea revealed at the time: "I had a baby last year and I've been drinking a lot of breast milk from my wife's tit. It's great, the most sweet, warm, and beautiful thing. To drink it straight from the breast of a woman that you love is a very righteous feeling. But the main concept of it is mother's milk is very good for you. It keeps you strong and makes you healthy and the harder you suck the more you get. And that's what our music is all about. We think that with the new record we've given people music to keep them strong and healthy. Basically, it's f-cking good for you. Liking mother's milk isn't bervy, it's the giving of all life. You start your lif on it, if you're lucky. As for our own lives, as a band I think we've changed - two new members for a start. But what I think has happened is we now put far more emphasis on the future. I've always been a very irresponsible person, not worrying what people think. I don't care about my money or my clothes or my body, but now I have a child and since Hillel died I place more emphasis on the importance of living every moment in the best possible way. I want to see my daughter, Chloe, grow up and rock out like a f-cking freaktopotamus. That's how things have changed and i think it's cool."

Higher Ground

'Knock Me Down'

Taste The Pain

Good Time Boys

'Mother's Milk'

full album:

All songs written and composed by Red Hot Chili Peppers (Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Flea, Chad Smith) except where noted. 

1. "Good Time Boys" (contains excerpts of "Bonin' in the Boneyard" by Fishbone, "Try" by Thelonious Monster and "White Girl" by X)  5:02
2. "Higher Ground"   Stevie Wonder 3:23
3. "Subway to Venus"     4:25
4. "Magic Johnson"     2:57
5. "Nobody Weird Like Me"     3:50
6. "Knock Me Down"     3:45
7. "Taste the Pain"   Kiedis, Frusciante, Flea, D.H. Peligro 4:32
8. "Stone Cold Bush"   Kiedis, Frusciante, Flea, Peligro 3:06
9. "Fire" (performed by Kiedis, Flea, Slovak, Irons) Jimi Hendrix 2:03
10. "Pretty Little Ditty"  Frusciante, Flea 3:07
11. "Punk Rock Classic"   1:47
12. "Sexy Mexican Maid"   Kiedis, Frusciante, Flea, Peligro 3:23
13. "Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky"     5:12

bonus tracks
14. "Song That Made Us What We Are Today" (Demo)   12:56
15. "Knock Me Down" (Original Long Version)   4:44
16. "Sexy Mexican Maid" (Original Long Version)   3:59
17. "Salute to Kareem" (Demo)   3:24
18. "Castles Made of Sand" (Live) Jimi Hendrix 3:19
19. "Crosstown Traffic" (Live) Jimi Hendrix 2:53

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