Sunday, September 25, 2011

HAPPY 20th !!! Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik !!!

Red Hot Chili Peppers released the perfect Blood Sugar Sex Magik back on September 24th, 1991. Damn, where did that time go?

The second album to feature guitarist John Frusciante after the untimely overdose of Hillel Slovak in 1988, it was seen that the Chili peppers may never recover. Frusciante's debut as a Pepper, 1989's Mothers Milk, oozes his two main influence's, the aforementioned Slovak and Jimi Hendrix. Mother's Milk is a kick arse album but it wasn't until he'd spent more time in the band that he really drew upon his own natural talent and Blood Sugar Sex Magik was born.

The album broke the band internationally as well as Frusciante's own fragile state of mind and he left just before they were set to tour Australia for the first time. That was heart breaking for me. He was then and still is to this day my favourite musician.

There was a strange occurrence back when we found out that really freaked us out! After we heard the news we jumped in my mates car. I opened the glove box to put on the BSSM cassette... I had copied it from my tape for Matt's car and run the sleeve through a fax machine, sticky taping both sides together. When I got it out to play John's face on the copied cover had vanished!!! Holy fuck! [Insert Twilight Zone music here...] Well, sticky tape over fax copies does eventually make whatever's on there fade and disappear. But still... Fwoah!

It was beyond amazing finally getting to see Red Hot live when they did get to Australia. I remember going with some mates, Adam and Lack, and walking down to the front of the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney as they came out on stage. My feet stuck to the floor. "Get fucked! There's Flea!" No Frusciante though. Arik Marshall is a talented musician but all those beautiful nuances of John's were lost. The bends, the tap-ons, were either more robotic and practiced or just not quite there. Then the Navarro tour.. let's just say I love Dave Navarro and Jane's Addiction, but he was no Pepper. First time I saw John live and admittedly probably every time since I get tears in my eyes at the genius that he is. I long to see him play a solo set.

That first tour at the Hordern I saved all my pennies up, being the broke young skater boy that I was and bought one of everything they had at the merch stand. I had my arms full! Took it all back to a mates car and filled his boot. Think it was something like 9 t-shirts, shorts, caps and who know's what else! I already had a few shirts and things and was known for a while in my country town where I was living at the time as "the guy in the Red Hot shirt"... this I guess cemented that!

One day after doing a couple of loads of washing I hung my clothes out on the line at the block of flats I lived at and went out. I knew better. Got home later and a few of my all time fav shirts had been stolen. I try not to hold hatred for long, but I tell you what, to this day if I found out who did that I'd beat the absolute hell out of them! One of the shirts was the first Australian tour shirt. A while later while seeing Soundgarden at Selina's in Sydney, I saw a girl wearing one. I had to have it. I walked up to her and told her the story and that she could have every cent I had on me (except enough for a coke as I'd just come out of the Soundgarden mosh!) if I could just please have that shirt! She explained it wasn't hers and it was her sisters. I ended up twisting her arm to call her sister and she talked her into selling it to me! She took it off right there in front of me and put on the flannie she had tied around her waist. We said our goodbyes and I was ecstatic! Well, until I realised I  had lost my mates for the night, it was too late for public transport, I was broke and stuck on the opposite side of Sydney to where I was staying!

Thinking about this album just brings up so many amazing memories. Such a ground breaking album and still kicks arse to this day. From each killer track to the artwork to the Funky Monks video, all amazing pieces in their own right. I love watching the video, seeing Chad playing piano, John's crazed explanations, Flea playing the kids piano, all of them banging the shit out of things whilst recording Breaking The Girl and something that has always stuck with me is when Flea was talking about how the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves. I lifted this quote from the BSSM Wikipedia page...

"I was trying to play simply on Blood Sugar Sex Magik because I had been playing too much prior to that, so I thought, 'I've really got to chill out and play half as many notes'. When you play less, it's more exciting—there's more room for everything. If I do play something busy, it stands out, instead of the bass being a constant onslaught of notes. Space is good."

The Chili Peppers use of stereo is amazing. Throw on your headphones and crank Blood Sugar! Some of the subtleties are incredible. It's cranking in mine right now!

I have always wanted a reworking of Frusciante's octopus tattoo in the same spot and have finally started getting some of those tatt's I've wanted forever. Had a few little ones, little RHCP style sun a friend Sam drew, my kid's names, Josh Homme's signature tattooed over from Kyuss / QOTSA and now finally last Feb started the mission I have wanted for years. First part is a portrait of John. Fuckin Awesome! Loads more to come! Thanx Khan.

I have lost count of how many times I've seen the Peppers over the years. I think it's now 15. To say I'm disappointed in their latest album, I'm With You, is an understatement, (read my review on The 59 Sound). I love listening to all of Hillel's work and to Mother's Milk, but Blood Sugar Sex Magik is one of those albums that has a hell of a lot more than you could even wish for as a listener and lover of music. It's just fuckin perfect.

So here's a massive HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY to the release of the album that brings back so many awesome memories and still gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. Yes, if I could marry it I would!

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