The Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Cleveland Public Auditorium on April 14th, 2012. The Beastie Boys and Guns ‘N Roses were also amongst the artists being inducted.
The 27th annual Hall of Fame ceremony, which will be televised on HBO on May 5th, will be one of the most memorable to date, thanks largely to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ closing performance of Higher Ground in which Slash, Ronnie Wood, Billie Joe Armstrong, George Clinton AND former RHCP Drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez all came together to Rock the Hall of Fame’s crowd of seven thousand fans.
See below for the lowdown from RHCP’s unforgettable night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony.
Before the ceremony started, the band, including former drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez went backstage to speak to the waiting press. The band was asked what Hillel Slovak would make of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ induction into the Hall of Fame Ceremony…
Anthony Kiedis replied, “I don’t really say that I can speak for Hillel, I think that he would have a good laugh. It would certainly mean something to him as he cared deeply about music and the love of the brotherhood of being in a band and being a creative force in the Universe, which he is and always will be… a part of everything we do. But I think more than anything he would probably make you laugh until you pooped your trousers.”
Speaking about the future of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their induction, Kiedis went on to say, “We really care about being in the moment in the now, all of us do. We’re very excited about playing music right now, just like we were in 1983. So it’s a strange moment to stop and reflect, but it’s very meaningful. It’s full of love and crazy ass memories.
There’s those surreal moments where it’s just, ‘But… we’re going somewhere, how can we stop and take an award when really we’re just half way there?’. But… it is nice to get together with people that we spend some incredible years with along the way, writing songs and playing shows in little theaters in sweaty little transvestite clubs and having the time of our lives just being raucous bastards and not giving a fuck, and just throwing down as hard as possible every night we stepped on stage or into a rehearsal space, and we still get to do it. And we’re still getting better, still making mistakes and still talking to folks like you from time to time.”
Flea then took the mic to share his thoughts on the Red Hot Chili Peppers and how they’ve evolved during their career and what the future holds in store for them.
“From the very beginning, no matter what aesthetic or what design people saw us from, we always had fun doing whatever we wanted (Not disregarding whatever anyone might want us to do), but the number one thing is just our love for music, and from the get go all we’ve wanted to do is to resonate the way that our own hearts beat with music and make our own music the way that we make it. And like Anthony said, that’s all we’re doing now every day.
“We’re still trying to crack the code man.” – Flea
We’re on tour right now. Every fucking day I get up, I go down to the gig and I think, ‘How can we uplift people tonight? How can we be better than we are?’.
I sit at the Piano before the show, I’m like ‘How can we write the next song? What can I write that Anthony’s gonna really fucking like, that we can make something beautiful.’
We’re still trying to crack the code man, I feel like we’re still a newborn band, we’re just working and focused on trying to be as good as we can be, and I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what it’s possible for us to be.”
Watch the full Press Conference on YouTube…
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Induction
RHCP were the final act to be inducted at the 27th Annual Hall of Fame Ceremony. At around 12.30am, comedian, close friend and fan of the band, Chris Rock took to the stage to induct the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Chris Rock spoke about the first time he saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers, when he intended to see Grandmaster Flash in Philadelphia, but ended up walking into the wrong club…
“My friends and I were like, ‘What the fuck is this shit? There’s a lot of white people in here’.”
They came out and I couldn’t understand a fucking word they said, and they had socks on their dicks! I had never been to a white show before, so I thought all white groups put socks on their dicks. Years later, they’re one of the biggest groups in the world and getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have black ties on their dicks tonight.
They started creating songs in the early eighties man, lots of songs that never even came out before, like ‘Jerkin’ off to Farah Fawcett’ you know stuff like that. But let me tell you about the Chili Peppers okay… If Brian Wilson and George Clinton had a kid, he’d be as ugly as fuck! But he would sell like the Chili Peppers. He’d be FUN-KY! Okay…
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are the quitisential California band.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Hall of Fame Acceptance Speeches
The Chili Peppers, former drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez, as well as Hillel Slovak’s Brother, James Slovak all took to the stage to receive their Hall of Fame Induction awards and make their acceptance speeches.
Cliff Martinez, Jack Irons, James Slovak, Chad Smith, Flea and Anthony Kiedis all made speeches.
John Frusciante declined the invite to the induction. In a previous interview from March 6th, Chad Smith told Billboard…
“He didn’t feel comfortable coming, which we totally respect. We asked him… He said, ‘I’m just not really comfortable with that, but good luck and thanks for inviting me.’ It was all good. He’s the kind of guy, I think, that once he’s finished with something he’s just on to the next phase of his life. The Chili Peppers are not really on his radar right now.”
John Frusciante, Hillel Slovak and other former members of the band were remembered and thanks was given for their contributions to the band.
James Slovak’s speech in honor of his brother
“I’m accepting this award on behalf of my brother Hillel Slovak. You will always be missed. Hillel loved his music, family, friends, and his fans. He was much more than a musician, he was also an innovator, far beyond his years today. We celebrate and honor his legacy and his amazing accomplishments in his life.”
Chad Smith’s Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech
“There’s no greater thing to do with your life than what you love. To be able to travel and make music with your brothers who you love,” said Chad, “I’m just really blessed and grateful for that.”
Flea’s Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech
“I see George Clinton there, and I just wanna say, George I love you man. Dr Funkenstein, you’ve given me a reason to live so many times. Your life has been so hard, I love you man.
People often ask me how has our band stayed together so long, we’ve been around about thirty years. You know, there’s a zillion reasons, I can’t say ego and money aren’t a part of it, but, much more than that, I love music so much. And all the great rockers that come before us, it means everything in the world to me to honor that tradition.
Every single day, every night before we go on stage, I get on my fucking knees, and I pray to God, and I pray to uplift the people that come to see us play.
More than anything, the burning, intense desire that is inside me to play music, it has not diminished in the slightest, it has only deepened as time has gone on. We’re really inside the groove, when we’re on… I’m lost man. In that moment, any musician, any artist, ask anyone doing what they love. I was speaking to musicians tonight, you know what I’m talking about.
When they’re on the one and they’re lost. When I’m lost like that, I am truly free of everything. I am truly at one with everything, and that is the most free thing. And in that dream for freedom is my life’s mission.
I just wanna take a minute for Hillel Slovak, who was our dear, dear friend, who I never would have started playing bass unless he asked me to. Jamie thank you for coming. You know, he told me to start playing bass, jamming with him, talking how to play music. I love you Hillel, you’re always my brother. Thank you.
I just wanna take a minute to honor the great musician, John Frusciante… who was a HUGE part of our band. He wrote so much great shit for us. He left us with so many amazing gifts, and the connection and the depth of our bond, musically, changed my life forever. And Chad and Anthony man… I love you guys man. Every day I’m so lucky to play with these guys and Josh, and Jack and Martinez you’re fucking amazing artists. Thank you for being with us.”
Anthony Kiedis’ Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech
“I met Flea when I was fifteen years old. I thought I knew something, but I didn’t know that much. They talk about being in the right place in the right time, well I was in the right place at the right time when I met Flea. He would change my life forever, and for the better, and we’re still together… that was thirty-five years ago…
Early on, in the history of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I was struggling with some demons, and some drug addiction. My band were being very compassionate and patient with my issues… and one day I stayed up a little too late and I was hungover and passed out, and I think Flea had kind of come to the end of his road, and he came and he found me in a little one room apartment above a pizza parlour, and he said, ‘Antho man, just, you’re fucked up, and I don’t know that I can do this anymore.’ And I came out of my stupor and I kind of turned my eyes and I said, ‘But Flea, I was gonna be the James Brown of the eighties!’ And the look on his face was like, ‘Shit, you were weren’t you? Ok, let’s, let’s keep goin’, and he… and he forgave me! It’s like one more time my friends had love and forgiveness, and that was just the beginning of many times that I would require a little love and forgiveness from the guys that would end up becoming my family.
Nothing could ever compare to the love of losing Hillel Slovak in his prime. You know, we were young men and we were living hard and very unschooled in the ways of life, and we lost the heart and soul and the architect of the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a very young point in time when he was just getting ready to keep changing the world with his music.
Hillel Slovak was a funny, beautiful, stylish wizard of a friend and a guitar player, and he left us with something which was… a band and a love and a desire to carry on, and everything we do he will always be with us forever, he’s with us right now. And like so many things when disasters happen beautiful things are born from them, and the next thing that was born was the entrance of John Frusciante…
He was a mind-blowing young man, very much a student of the school of Hillel Slovak, among many other art forms and musicians, and his creative spirit drove us to new heights. He was on fire and he was just one of the most amazing artists on Earth and we were luck to have him in this band twice, and write music with him. We’re forever grateful to you John Frusciante.
Now, we are with Josh Klinghoffer who is going to give his acceptance speech by way of guitar playing later in the evening. He is a beautiful and lovely man, and I could not be happier to be in a band with him, he is the greatest. In fact, Chad, Josh and Flea are my favourite musicians on Earth.
I have a very wild father and a very mild mother, and then they both made me who I am, and I wanted to thank my father for introducing me to the arts, for inspiring me to be a free-thinker and go out and find that for myself. He’s a big part of who I am today, and, although my mother was much more… sort of, mild and laid back about the whole thing, I realized years later that I watched her suit up and show up for about fourty years going to work, and she taught me the lesson of what it is to suit up and show up and put your pants on and go to work every day, and the gratification that comes from doing that. So thank you mom and dad, I love you both.
We’ve been luckier than most. We’ve been able to work with some of the coolest, most amazing minds in music, including the man I’m looking at right now, Rick Rubin, I love you rick. Sitting right next to George Clinton, who I love so much. Both guys are a dream come true for us, we were kids and they said, ‘If you could have anybody in the world producing, who would it be?’, we said George Clinton, they said, ‘Done’, we were like ‘What!?’ The next thing we know we were in Detroit Michigan, tracking with George. And that’s how it got started, thank you George, you are the man forever.
Watch the Acceptance Speech Video on YouTube…
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Performance at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony
The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed By The Way, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie and Give it Away with former RHCP drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez on their main setlist.
For the finale, Anthony Kiedis called out to musicians from the crowd to join them on stage. Ronnie Wood, Slash, Billie Joe Armstrong and George Clinton all eventually emerged from the crowd and put on an amazing show, playing Higher Ground for the seven thousand strong crowd at the 27th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony. The five and a half hour ceremony came to a close at 1.30am.
Higher Ground All-Star Performance at the Hall of Fame Ceremony
By The Way
Full Performance at the Hall of Fame Ceremony (Stream Rip)
Proshot footage from the Hall of Fame Ceremony will be televised on HBO on May 5th at 9pm ET. See HBO’s Hall of Fame feature page for more info.