Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea Names Band’s Worst Album + Shares Reservation About Their Best
Even when an album is finished, there's often certain things musicians wish they would have done before letting it go. And during a recent chat with the Los Angeles Times, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea named both of what he feels are the band's best and worst albums, while still having a critique of both.
So what is the Red Hot Chili Peppers' best album? According to the bassist, it's the group's 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. That would be their second album with guitarist John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith. The album took the band to new heights, hitting No. 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart, yielding five singles including the alt rock radio chart-topper "Give It Away" and the fan-favorite hit "Under the Bridge" en route to being certified seven times platinum by the RIAA.
Obviously, there's lots to love, but even when shouting out Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Flea has a few reservations, explaining what he didn't like about the album. "I would say Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but there’s a couple tunes on there I don’t think should have gotten on in retrospect," he explains, singling out on specific track. "'The Greeting Song' wasn’t good enough."
He also made note to mention another favorite, adding, “Californication is pretty good top to bottom. I saw Adele a little while ago and she told me that was her favorite record of all time. That meant a lot to me because I’m a big Adele fan."
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So what about the worst?
The bassist says, "I always regret the way we made the [self-titled] first one. I think the songs are really good. Our band was smoking at the time. But [drummer] Jack [Irons] and [guitarist] Hillel [Slovak] quit, and we hired these two other guys: Jack Sherman and Cliff Martinez. Both were great musicians, but the connection just wasn’t as profound as we had with the guys we started with. I’ve often wanted to go back and re-record that album, but I can never talk anyone into it."
A 2003 reissue of that debut album allowed the band to include Slovak and Irons with demos they performed on being added as bonus content. Slovak died in 1988 from a heroin overdose. Irons exited after 1987's The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, though he does appear on the Chili Peppers song "Fire" that appeared on Mother's Milk. The drummer would later find work with Eleven and with Pearl Jam, while also contributing to records from Joe Strummer, Hole, Mark Lanegan and more.
Any chance at revisiting that debut album with the band's current lineup will have to wait, as the group is currently touring off the prolific fruits of their 2022 output, issuing Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen last year. After traveling through Europe and the U.K. in July, Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago on Aug. 6 before playing a pair of U.S. September shows and then heading off to South America to finish out their touring year in late October and November.