The four original members were high school classmates. It was a couple years after graduation when they decided to form their band (they were all the same age, 21) under the original wordy name “Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem”. Their first live gig was opening for a band named "Gary and Neighbor's Voices" in front of a crowd of around 30 people.
They changed their name to the now-famous "Red Hot Chili Peppers" early on. They were also able to book a whole slew of live shows in their native state of California and produced a demo tape consisting of 6 songs as well.
Within a year of their formation, they signed their first deal with a record label. EMI America and Enigma Records contracted them to produce 7 albums. It wasn’t all good news for the up-and-coming rock band, however, They lost the guitarist from their original line-up: Hillel Slovak returned to another band called “What is This?”. He was replaced by Jack Sherman. In the meantime, the drummer Jack Irons was also replaced, his place was filled by Cliff Martinez.
Their debut album, the self-titled “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, was released in August 1984. It ended up selling around 300,000 copies, making it a moderate industry success.
After their debut album tour, original guitar player Slovak rejoined the band. He remained with them until his untimely death in June 1988, brought on by his heroin addiction.
The band’s second album came out in August 1985, with the title “Freaky Styley”. However, their first megahit didn’t come their way until the release of the 5th studio album, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, in September 1991. With over 14 million worldwide sales, it peaked at the #3 spot on the famous Billboard 200 list. It featured such classics as “Under the Bridge”, or “Give It Away”.
Since then, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have released 7 more studio albums, thus they have 12 in total. The best selling one among them has been 1999’s “Californication” with over 16 million copies sold around the world. Meanwhile, their latest project is titled “Unlimited Love”, which came out in April 2022.
The California-based rockstars’ biggest hits to date are “Californication” (1999, same title as the album), “Otherside” (1999), “Scar Tissue” (also 1999), “Can’t Stop” (2002), and “Dark Necessities” (2016).
Their current line-up consists of the two remaining founding members, vocalist Kiedis and bassist “Flea” Balzary; as well as drummer Chad Smith (who’s also known for his uncanny resemblance to comedian-actor Will Ferrell), and guitarist John Frusciante.