Just like the ups and downs of a rock song, the history of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a mix of big successes and serious controversies.
Among the huge album sales and epic stadium shows, the band has also faced addiction and the tragic loss of its members. Anthony Kiedis has seen it all unfold.
Kiedis has always been open about his struggles with drugs. The band’s world was filled with drugs, and both Kiedis and their first guitarist, Hillel Slovak, got hooked on heroin.
Slovak, Kiedis, Flea, and Jack Irons all met at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. They became best friends and started the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983.
But in this story, there’s a sad part too. Hillel Slovak passed away from a drug overdose in 1988. Kiedis said in a 2003 interview with Q Magazine that this was the lowest point for the band.
“Losing your best friend when you’re just 20 hurts so much. Hillel was incredibly loving and talented. The good thing is I got to spend 11 amazing years with him.”
Hillel’s death hit Kiedis hard and pushed him to get clean. He had some setbacks, but he’s stayed sober since.
Afterward, a new guy named John Frusciante joined the band as their guitarist. He became a key part of the Chili Peppers’ sound.
Among all these ups and downs, there’s a really good moment – the time John Frusciante returned to the band in 1997. Kiedis described it as bringing his favorite things together.
“It’s like picking your favorite child. The day John Frusciante came back was that moment for me. In the summer of 1997, we reconnected after not talking for five years. We made up and forgave each other. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”