I was in a band with my best friends growing up, from about the age of 12 to 22. Our bass player had only learned the bass because that was the instrument we were missing in the band, so he really just learned it out of necessity and then slowly grew to love it. His middle school inspiration was flea (like so many young bass players) and I remember him discovering each album one by one and subsequently, I discovered them. Every time I hear early RHCP songs I think back to being in middle school, blasting their music in the car while my Mom drove us around to gigs and band practices (thanks, Mom!). One of my earliest concerts was seeing the Chili Peppers at Target Stadium in MInneapolis with my band at the time, which felt like such a big deal because my parents let us go by ourselves. We screamed so much that we all lost our voices for a few days afterwards. 2) What’s your favorite song on the album and why?
Probably ‘Give It Away’- My older brother was also in a band in high school and they covered this song, and I remember watching people totally lose their shit when they realized they were playing this song. I was like, “That’s my brother!!”
I got into Blood Sugar Sex Magik through KROQ 106.7 FM, my only access to the outside world of music when growing up in SoCal. (My family only listened to Christian and Classical music so the radio was my only source of musical freedom). I remember listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers for the first time and couldn’t quite pinpoint what genre the music was. It was so full of emotion and an untamed ferocity. The vocals and instrumentation felt full of honesty; they drew me close to what felt like lonely, sexy souls! Give It Away is my favorite song off the album because of the way the music floats around pretty singular musical phrases, weaving in and out of lyrics that describe the interconnectedness of life, our give and take, and about selflessness. To make a jam that hits and takes you on a philosophical journey is hard.
Loose Cattle (Michael Cerveris and Kimberly Kaye)
1) Michael: I was living in LA in the late 80s/early 90s and was introduced to Flea by my drummer friend Carla Azar (Wendy & Lisa and Autolux) at a Slayer and Anthrax show at the LA Forum. We all huddled together at the soundboard while the arena descended into barely controlled chaos, with metal fans tearing the seat cushions off the folding chairs and hurling them into the air as the security guards sort of cowered in the hallways. I used to run into Flea at random auditions for movies (I may have lost out to him for Back To The Future 2, but I beat him out for the role of Eaglebauer in Rock And Roll High School Forever). I’d been a big fan of the heaviness and raw funk of Uplift Mofo Party Plan and had liked Mother’s Milk, but remembered taking longer to warm up to Mother’s Milk’s slicker production. So when Blood Sugar Sex Magic came out, I didn’t rush to buy it. The polished, less distorted guitars and the ubiquitousness of Give It Away made me take even longer to give the album a good listen. But when I finally did, the inescapable skill and swagger married to a new level of songwriting and melody finally hooked me, and the cassette lived in my old green ’69 Dodge Dart for the rest of the year.
2) Kim: I think our favorite song on the record is the opener The Power Of Equality. The savage opening riff married to the take no prisoners lyric grabbed you and threw you into the mosh pit from the get go. And the Sly/Parliament worthy bridge brought it home. With Rodney King having been beaten just 6 months earlier and the LA riots about to erupt just 7 months after its release, that song felt like a call to action and an angry, passionate warning that went unheeded. And it hasn’t lost any of its power with age.” Whatever happened to humanity” for fuck’s sake?
Eric Slick (Dr. Dog)
Dan (Bartees Strange)
Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, RHCP touring)
Brandon Markell Holmes
First time I heard it was when I was in college, in the early 2010’s. My roommate was a huge fan of the 90’s grunge and alt rock superstars, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and of course the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was just a baby when the album first came out, so it was a really special moment listening to it the first time, discovering myself all over again with old sounds that were new to us. Fun times!!
“Under the Bridge” for sure. It’s such a classic song and it instantly evokes nostalgia & familiarity. It has now become a staple in the American music cannon.
The first time I heard Blood Sugar Sex Magik in its entirety, I was about thirteen and I was in my room working on a geometry project for my math class. I was a fan of RHCP and I was discovering lots of classic albums at that time, taking the time to listen to each one and decide if I liked it or not. It was a formative time for me musically and I am happy to have found this album.
Blood Sugar had its own sound. I probably couldn’t articulate this at the time, but it had an immediate and natural feeling to the recording quality and the music. The scope of the music was diverse and it was less about trying to fit into a mold and more about trying to capture the energy that was there naturally.
The energy captured in the performances matched the energy of the songs. The album wasn’t overproduced and it also wasn’t trying to remove what made it unique. It was organic, fun, and you could feel the synergy of the individual musicians creating something larger than the sum of its parts.
My favorite song on the album has changed over the years, and at this moment I would go with I Could Have Lied. It is soulful and melodic and sincere and different. Those qualities have always resonated with me in music.
My bandates and I have a sincere connection to RHCP, and as Delicate Steve we performed the album live in its entirety twice, and one of those times was with RHCP percussionist Mauro Refosco joining us for the whole set at a DIY venue in Brooklyn. It was surreal and feels like it never happened.
The first time I remember hearing Blood Sugar Sex Magik was actually on Guitar Hero 3. I rocked ‘Suck My Kiss’ on expert level. When I realized it was the same album that had ‘Under The Bridge’ and ‘Give it Away’ on it I had to sit down and listen to the whole thing and I was blown away. 2. My favorite song on the album has to be ‘Suck My Kiss’ because I rocked that joint on Guitar Hero 3 on expert level.
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