Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Red, White & Blue: The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Simon Witter, New Musical Express, 28 September 1985

2004 note: In August 1985 I got a phone call from George Clinton, saying that the P-Funk All-Stars show at Hammersmith Odeon that weekend had just been cancelled by Capitol Records, but that their support group were already in the country and had blagged themselves a gig supporting Muddy Waters' keyboard player. They were a bunch of white kids from LA that George had just produced an album by, were apparently incredible, and I should definitely go and check them out So it was that I found myself that Saturday night, one of at-most ten people in a packed Dingwalls who did not absolutely hate the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was so over-excited by their riotous performance that I pushed backstage afterwards and set up an interview for the next morning, then called photographer Lawrence Watson - at midnight, and without any authorisation - and booked him to turn up at 10am on a Sunday at a B&B in the arse-end of Chiswick. In a supremely rock'n'roll gesture Anthony Kiedis, then styling himself Antwan The Swan, failed to turn up to his own band's first UK interview, and we substituted a plastic pig for him in the photo shoot in the Hotel garden. But the gamble paid off. A few weeks later the NME ran this uncommissioned piece in full colour and, while the main question at the subsequent staff meeting was how Flea, wearing a leather Biggles helmet and clutching his knees, came to be hovering five feet off the ground in the picture (like Pete Townshend and Dave Lee Roth before him, he just leapt), I was later told that this feature, and my live review of their Dingwalls show, played a part in EMI's decision to start releasing the Chili Peppers' records here. SW

Total word count of piece: 1735


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.