Flea (RHCP)

Blood Sugar Sex Magic changed my life. High school English Literature class with Mr Martin Richards (my favorite teacher – bless his departed soul) and I sit next to Louise Fulwell. We became friendly after the entire french class got seated boy/girl… something to do with a sticky note appearing on a potted plant saying “Cannabis plant – Do not smoke”… okay maybe it was me 🙂

We would talk about music, books and life, what little we knew of them aged 15 anyway and one day she presented me with a brightly colored cassette tape (copy of course) that she had made of the album.

It was (and still is) fantastic. At the time I was still (just?) a drummer but the way that the drums and bass moved together got to me. Flea would place these greasy slides and pops in the gaps, the bass lines WERE the songs in many regards (many folks have said this about Paul McCartney and the Beatles) and I loved air-drumming to this tape, over and over again.

If you are only familiar with their later works I wholeheartedly encourage you to go back and get a copy. Really well recorded, raw emotion and groove. They all sound fantastic, Mr John Frusciante is in top form also. There is a documentary about the making of the album called “Funky Monks”, while not being for the squeamish or fainthearted, is great viewing. Watching Rick Rubin (producer, massive beard) bond with Chad Smith listening to Zeppelin or sitting with Flea urging him to play “less notes” on the cut of Give it Away are both highlights for me. Sex, drugs, madness, ghosts … it’s all there kids.

Onto the music. Every cut on this album has an inventive, hooky bassline so it’s hard to choose between them. One track that stands out for me, looking back, is Naked in the Rain.

The bass and the drums move as one. (Drop D tuning for the bass-nerds). The solo (2:25) is the first one I remember trying to learn note for note. As well some thumping, some funky horn-like lines and serious attitude the last section is just so raw. Flea described it as (and I paraphrase) ‘just going weeeeeeeeee!!!! all up and down the neck”. Works for me.

The other records are great too, don’t get me wrong, just that this is my favorite. I learned every note from Mother’s Milk through Californication and I can’t help but recommend you do the same.

If you love it, buy it.
Don’t fake the funk.
CB

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