Few bands have done more with less clothing than the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Formed in 1983 by three high school buddies (singer Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak and bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary), the Chili Peppers came together around a groundbreaking fusion of West Coast punk (a la Black Flag and the Germs) and Parliament-style, ’70s funk. Despite a batch of early lineup changes, the core of Kiedis and Flea (along with a notorious live show that often featured the members playing in only tube socks – and not on their feet) helped make RHCP staples of the L.A. underground.
But substance abuse plagued the band, leading to the overdose of Slovak in 1988. His replacement, John Frusciante, brought the band a different tone and helped the Chili Peppers break into the mainstream during the early ’90s – but his own struggles with addiction caused him to eventually leave the band. He returned prior to the band’s resurgence in 1999 (only to leave again in 2009), but by then, the Chili Peppers had become a collective cultural force that’s bigger than the individual members. While the band once represented little more than partying for the sake of partying, they now portray personal rediscovery and triumph in the face of tragedy – even though, yes, that’s a colander of noodles on Flea’s head.
In this installment of Worst to First, we rank each of the Chili Peppers’ full-length albums. Check out the gallery, do a little dance and then drink a little water. (It’s important to stay hydrated.)