30 Years of Funk
The Red Hot Chili Peppers played their first live tour concert 30 YEARS ago TODAY! On February 13th, 1983, frontman Anthony Kiedis, Bass Guitarist Flea (Michael Balzary), Lead Guitarist Hillel Slovak and Drummer Jack Irons treated 30 spectators to their inimitable dose of adolescent funk rap, sex punk fusion at the Rhythm Lounge in Hollywood, California.
The original lineup first came together at L.A.’s Fairfax High School, where they formed the band under the short-lived name of Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem. Anthony Kiedis first started as an introductory MC for his friends previous bands, but on this occassion he would join Flea, Hillel and Jack on stage.
Opening for the band, Neighbor’s Voices at the Rhythm Lounge, the foursome played only one song titled, “Out in L.A”, which was originally based on a guitar riff that Hillel Slovak wrote while jamming with Jack Irons, and was not meant to become a real song until Anthony Kiedis decided to rap over the instrumental.
Following their first performance, The Rhythm Lounge’s owner was so impressed that he invited the band to return the following week, except with two songs. Equipped with a second song, “Get up and Jump”, the band returned to the Rhythm Lounge for another two shows in 1983. After several more shows the band changed their name to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in early March, 1983. The band continued to add more songs to their repetoire and played over 25 gigs in California in their first year together.
Anthony Kiedis described the performance in his autobiography, Scar Tissue.
“All the anticipation of the moment hit me, and I instinctively knew that the miracle of manipulating energy and tapping into an infinite source of power and harnessing it in a small space with your friends was what I had been put on this earth to do.”
Flea also described the first performance.
“I had a bass line and had Hillel do guitar to it, and then we went to the show and played and people love it. We had a whole choreographed dance thing. We did our dance and then played “Out In L.A.” and it was pretty fucking explosive. We did it and it was just BAM! From the first note. A five-minute set. Anthony came with a boom box and the dance, and then the song — it was like two minutes. Sometimes bands just sort of creep into it and find their way, and bam — for us it was from the get-go.”