Guilty Pleasure: Red Hot Chili Peppers – One Hot Minute

placeholder image

Most bands can only dream of the success Blood Sugar Sex Magic brought the Red Hot Chili Peppers; however, sometimes massive popularity can tear bands apart. Case in point, The Red Hot Chili Peppers losing lead guitarist John Frusciante mid-tour while supporting Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Too much attention and frequent drug use led the disgruntled Frusciante to quit the band, leaving Flea, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith worried about the future of RHCP. Years of touring, drug abuse, and four previous albums had finally brought Kiedis and Flea, the only original members of RHCP, to the musical glory they worked so hard to achieve.

However, Frusciante’s departure in 1992 left RHCP in limbo. They scrambled to complete their tour obligations with Arik Marshall, but when the tour ended, the remaining Peppers returned to California to search for yet another new guitarist. Heroin had broken the band up before when guitarist Hillel Slovak died in 1988, now yet another band mate was leaving due to the drug, albeit on his own terms. Saddened by Frusciante’s departure, RHCP began holding open auditions for a replacement, yet no worthy guitarists were found. With the recent breakup of Jane’s Addiction, Chad Smith suggested that Dave Navarro be called in for a jam session. Immediately the four musicians clicked and a decision was made to announce Navarro as Frusciante’s replacement.

One Hot Minute was recorded between June 1994 and June 1995. Immediately the album received mixed reviews and fans were separated. While BSSM sold nearly 7 million copies in the States alone, One Hot Minute failed to meet expectations peaking at #4 on the Billboard Chart. Many fans hated the follow up because it lacked the funk and sexual energy that made BSSM one of the greatest albums ever, which is true. Navarro’s guitar parts changed RHCP from a sexy funk band to an angry, depressed, metal-funk band. However, Navarro should not be the only one to blame for this transformation. Kiedis had slipped back into his heroin addiction during the One Hot Minute sessions; therefore, his lyrics on One Hot Minute dealt mostly with drug influenced aggression.

Tracks such as “Warped,” “Deep Kick,” and “One Big Mob” were not well received by fans for their depressing themes. While the musical compositions were found to be too aggressive, it was the music video to “Warped” which pushed RHCP’s fan base even further away. A kiss from Kiedis to Navarro disgusted most of RHCP’s male college fan base, One Hot Minute was doomed after that famous lip lock. Kiedis and Navarro were labelled as homosexuals by much of their male audience, yet their problems were deeper than their sexuality. Both addicted to heroin, the two began giving lackluster live performances; RHCP were being torn into pieces.

Fast forward to present day. Nowadays One Hot Minute is usually found in record stores amongst other $9.99 unwanted albums. For those RHCP fans who never bothered to listen to One Hot Minute because of ‘the kiss’ or Navarro’s presence, do yourself a favour and listen to this magnificent album front to back. By the Way was never judged for being too soft, so why should One Hot Minute be judged for being too heavy? Sure Navarro’s guitar is strikingly different than Frusciante’s, but Flea’s rip roaring bass funk is still there alongside Smith’s furious rhythm. For too long, One Hot Minute has been labeled by its popular singles: “Aeroplane” and “My Friends.”

People, the time has come to temporarily brush BSSM, Californication and Mother’s Milk aside , take up your One Hot Minute and listen to “Tearjerker,” “One Big Mob, ” “Coffee Shop,” and “Walkabout.” Contrary to popular belief this is a complete and amazing album, from the Kurt Cobain memoriam “Tearjerker” to the stellar bass, guitar, and drums on all of the aforementioned tracks. Not to mention the sickening funk screams of “Falling Into Grace,” a personal favourite. Although heroin took hold of Kiedis during this era, many of these tracks are still ripe with his signature lyrical content. Contrary to the critics and fans of the 90s, traditional RHCP themes of groovy funk, hypnotizing lyrics, and foot stomping drums are still evident.

Do not doubt the musical content of One Hot Minute, for it truly is one of the greatest albums produced in the 90s. Most RHCP fans have forgotten about it. Since the return of Frusciante RHCP have vaulted to the world’s musical elite with Californication, By the Way, and Stadium Arcadium. While those albums are all fantastic in their own right, One Hot Minute provides listeners with different themes and structures which are not found in any of those post-Navarro albums. Fear not RHCP fans, it is okay to listen to One Hot Minute now, you won’t be labeled a traitor (or a homosexual, for that matter). So search the deep dark corners of your iPod (or your CD collection), most of us still own One Hot Minute and don’t even know it.

Check Out: