Thursday, May 18, 2006

An Open Love Letter to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

I like to think I'm an objective kind of guy. The sort of person who's willing to change his mind, when presented with sufficient evidence. The kind of person who doesn't have pre-conceived notions about anything. But, when I cast my objectiveness over my own self, there are some things that, no matter how I try, I just can't help but be overflowing with one-eyed enthusiasm for. Things that I just absolutely love no matter what.

For example, I love every product Nintendo releases. I can't explain why, I just do. But even more than I adore video games about fat Italian plumbers, the one thing that I hold more precious, and more sacred above all my pre-conceived notions, are the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

You know how angsty eyeliner-wearing teenagers get all upset when their underground band makes it to number one on the charts? Well, that's because they feel that the whole world is invading their band. (It's not by any means their band, but I guess teenagers have lots of dumb ideas beyond wearing eyeliner.) That's what I'm like with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
They're my band.

The reason that I continue to entertain such a stupid and self indulgent notion is because they make such transcendently beautiful music that rings in my heart and has guided me through my life like a carefully scripted soundtrack. They've grown with me, consoled me and been an ever-present force for good in my life. When I was a teenager doing lots of dumb things, it was Blood Sugar Sex Magik that was playing in the background. When I was preparing to be married, it was with One Hot Minute blaring from the PA. The day that John rejoined the band, I heard it on the JJJ news and leapt out of bed, cheering, casting my one year old daughter into a confusing sea of bedclothes...

I was lucky enough, through a series of friends, to see the guys play in Melbourne on their By The Way tour, from the side of the stage - (As I recall it was me and my brothers, Flea's Nana, and Chopper.) The amazing force and devotion that these guys bring to their music is a kind of super-power. Up close, it's like nothing you can imagine.

I've only spent a few days with Stadium Arcadium, the first album in four years. And strangely enough, I already adore it.

John Frusicante plays guitar with such intensity and intimacy, that it can bring tears to your eyes. I've never heard him sound this good, ever. Flea's musical prowess and awesome ability to surprise with song structure will inspire and delight. Anthony's lyrics can be a little goofy at times, but that just makes it less perfect and more real- this album finds his talents as a vocalist and a wordsmith both richer than ever. And Chad's ability to establish a kind of musical playground around any tune with powerful drums and percussion just sews the whole thing up.

I'm loathe to name any highlights, because I know I'll grow to appreciate every tune in time, but the vocal harmonies in charlie, the trumpet solo in hump de bump and the inspired Sabbath-Style readymade are ringing loud in my head at the moment.

So, to the band - thank you so much for being such a touchstone musical part of my life. I can't wait to live with your new record for the next few years.

And to those who don't share my one-eyed fanboy perspective, well, you're just clearly wrong.

Bonus Link:
Flea's LA Lakers Blog.
Bonus Bonus Link: (for Simon)
Flea being sad because someone said that Nick Cave didn't like his band.

EDIT: The awesome photos in this post were shot by my brother, at the RHCP Melbourne gig, 2004. He had to do some fast talking to get into the press gallery without a press pass, but that's always been one of Grae's strong points. Go visit his blog.


  1. Anonymous4:14 pm

    All Photos © Graeme Taylor 2004

  2. Hehe, I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm. I'm not a RHCP fan, but I feel the same way about Steve Vai - the damn best guitarist there is and ever was (sorry, about John Frusicante :)