Friday, September 08, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 27: Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Uplift MoFo Party Plan

Album - The Uplift MoFo Party Plan
Artist - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Key Players - Anthony Kiedis - lead vocals, Flea - bass, Hillel Slovak - guitar, Jack Irons - Drums
Produced By - Michael Beinhorn

Released - September 29, 1987

What brought on the new listen? - Personally been a fan for many years and saw some recent live footage of the band on the High Def Music Channel, got me to head back for a new listen.

Overview - This is the third album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was also the final studio album with original guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons. The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The band performed a one off show at Fairifax High School in California and then the band members went off to do various other bands. Flea and Anthony worked on RHCP while Irons and Slovak worked on others. By the time of this albums release RHCP had rotated out the their drummer and guitar player making room for Irons and Slovak. The album was released in the early fall of 1987 and the band hit the road. This would be the first RHCP to actually "chart" (Billboards hot 200 #97). The band toured for the record but this only exacerbated the bands problems with drugs. Kiedis had been taking hard drugs for a few years and introduced Slovak to them. Slovak missed shows and acted erratically. In June of 1988 Slovak was found dead of a heroin overdose. Kiedis fled to Mexico skipping his friends funeral. When he returned Irons called band meeting and announced his was leaving the band because he didn't want to be in a band in which his friends were dying. Since the release of 1988's "Mothers Milk" the band has only grown in popularity.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - After a 4/4 clap off "Fight Like a Brave" starts the record. The bass is punchy, the guitar is jangly, the drums are basic, but hit with purpose. Kiedis, not known then (or now) as a strong singer, speaks more lyrics that he does 'sing'. Mid song there is a break down with some of the flashy bass work from Flea. Slovak responds with a quick solo. "Funky Crime" follows along the same path. Kiedis has portions of his vocal tracks heavily compressed but the fan, even only on the second song, quickly establish their trademark sound. "Me & My Friends" is the only song from this record the band played live at least thru the last tour. The bass intro by Flea leads in to the "me and my me and my me and my friends" always had the new fans confused but the old fans singly along joyously. This is the RHCP at their most raucous. The song barley fades and "Backwoods" starts. Backwoods was one of the songs for an early Chili Peppers video. Slovak opens the track with a very distorted and compressed guitar sound and Flea swoops in with some punchy bass work. The bass slaps and pops over the wah/wah guitar of Slovak. "Skinny Sweaty Man", is pretty much a throwaway track. Over the top silly lyrics, even for the Chili Peppers is punctuated with silly vocal effects. The band makes up for it quick with "Behind the Sun". Slovak plays the Sitar on this track. What is not the norm for the bands sound it seems to sound right in place. Behind is also the strongest song on the record and in listening now you can see it was an early look to their current direction. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is a Bob Dylan cover and most Dylan purists would press "skip" before the song gets very far. It is "funked up" but its not really meant to be done this way. "Special Secret Song" follows and it shows the very juvenile side of the band. The actual chorus to this song is "I want to Party on You Pussy". Part of you feels embarrassed the band "went there" but musically its one catchy song, too bad you can't play it within ear shot of most people. "No Chump Love Sucker" returns to the sounds they band made on the early parts of this record with the driving drums and slapping bass."Walkin' On Down the Road" has the feel as the title would suggest..a perfect "walking down the road" song. "Love Trilogy" and "Organic Anti-Beatbox Band" wrap up the album. "Love Trilogy" slowly builds into a crashing finale with the band feeding off one another and Kiedis covering the vocals in his trademark "rap" style.

Where are they now?
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been making music for over 20 years. After the death of Slovak the band had a revolving door of guitar players including ex-Janes addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. Jack Irons most notably played with Pearl Jam for a few years before semi-retiring in 1998 from. The band recently released the sprawling double cd "Stadium Arcadium". It is and was the bands first to debut at #1.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience). Always putting on a great live show they are a band I try not to miss. At least one time per album if possible. First was in May of 1990 at the Orpheum in Boston. Had about 4th row on Johns side. It to this day was a top 5 show...stunning. Up next was November of 1991. What made this show "one for the ages" is the support acts: a then unknown Pearl Jam, and the Smashing Pumpkins. This is a show that is always fun to say "I was at". In December of 95 was another then in July of 2000 was the 4th. That show was special/fun for 2 reasons. The first is I got front row tickets to for free, and VH1 was there taping a show called "Fan-atic" I was not one of the looney freaky fans but shots of the audience had me bobbing up and down. The last time was in September of 2003. By this time the band sounds beyond good (I even warm up to the vocals of Kiedis a smidge) John F is just unreal..his solos are always locked in. There is a potential to see them in October of this year just need to get some money in order.

FDF Overall take - There seem to be two waves of fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Fans of the old and fans of the new. The "new" RHCP have sold the bulk of the records. Long time fans often will go as far as " Blood Sugar Sex Magic" before calling the bands sell outs. The early version of the RHCP can be confusing to new listeners. The "soccer mom" pop was not even in the bands mind at the time. A true testament to someone being a fan is someone that can listen to these older records and "get it". Even if the sound is not to the listeners liking, one must respect what they came from. What they came from was one hell of a funk/rock band that spawned so many imitators the RHCP often too flack for it. The older/wiser RHCP have some terrific musical chops. John Frusciante is one of finest guitar players out there and Flea is often looked at for his ground breaking work on the bass.


At 9:05 AM, Blogger Sharon S said...

I am a big fan of mother's milk.
I think Knock Me Down is my most favorite song by the peppers, ever.

THanks for the reminder about Uplift. I'll give it a listen again over this weekend.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Code Name: Ryan said...

Old Chilis rock. I am partial to Freaky Styley - but this one is wonderific too.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Elated said...

I love the old and new Chilis. I have all of their CD's except for UMPP but I want this one too. I appreciate that you featured this. (Thanks!) My favorite so far? BSSM! It's an overall great party disk!


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