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Anthony Kiedis' newfound proximity to his bandmates' genitals ...


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Mexican flavor, the yin and the aching yang, doo-wop and Queen, and Anthony in love ...


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John Frusciante hears dead people; Anthony and Flea try to reel him back to earth ...


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-- by Jon Wiederhorn, with additional reporting by Shari Scorca

The Red Hot Chili Peppers were in the mood to screw around. Bassist Flea and guitarist John Frusciante plopped down in two metal folding chairs in an MTV studio and singer Anthony Kiedis sat on a rotating stool that was several inches lower than his bandmates' seats.

Immediately noticing his newfound proximity to the other guys' genitals, Kiedis couldn't resist making a lewd comment.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
A Quick Look Back
"It feels like we're taking a family portrait," said Flea, grinning as he tried to reel his frontman back to more PG-rated territory. "Everyone say cheese."

"Toe cheese," Kiedis replied.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers had good reason to be in such high spirits. They were about to release their new album, By the Way, their most joyous, adventurous and dynamic record in years, and one which shatters the theory that latter day great bands can't sustain creative and emotional growth after many years of being rich and famous.

Actually, most don't even get the chance, since alternative hard rockers have traditionally burned out instead of fading away (Nirvana, Jane's Addiction, Faith No More, the Pixies and the Replacements, to name but a few). But after 19 years and seven studio albums, the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren't just still going strong, they're creating some of their most vibrant and infectious material to date.

The group's longevity is at least partially due to its tight core chemistry. Throughout the years, Kiedis and Flea have endured the heroin overdose of founding guitarist Hillel Slovak, Kiedis' and Frusciante's own drug abuse, the departure of drummer Jack Irons and a revolving door of guitarists (Frusciante, Jack Sherman, Blackbyrd McKnight, Arik Marshall, Jesse Tobias and Dave Navarro). Over time, they've learned each other's quirks, likes and dislikes, and instead of passive-aggressively pushing each other's buttons, they've chosen to watch each other's backs.

"We love each other, and that love comes out in the music"
After sitting in the studio for a few minutes, Frusciante leaned over and massaged Kiedis' shoulders. And later, when the eccentric guitarist began to prattle on too much about the ghosts and extra-terrestrials that inspire him to write, bassist Flea tactfully intervened with comments that helped steer him back to earth.

"I wouldn't be able to make music with the band if we weren't all friends," Frusciante said, wiping a lock of tangled hair out of his face. "Being with each other and enjoying each other's presence is important for us to have a positive experience. We love each other, and that love comes out in the music."


Next: Mexican flavor, the yin and the aching yang, doo-wop and Queen, and Anthony in love ...
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"By The Way"
By The Way
(Warner Bros.)



"Otherside"
Californication
(Warner Bros.)


"Scar Tissue"
Californication
(Warner Bros.)



"Californication" (live)
Californication
(Warner Bros.)



"Warped"
One Hot Minute
(Warner Bros.)



"Aeroplane"
One Hot Minute
(Warner Bros.)



"Soul To Squeeze"
Coneheads soundtrack
(Warner Bros.)



"Give It Away" (live)
1992 MTV Video Music
Awards
(MTV)



"Under The Bridge"
Blood Sugar Sex Magik
(Warner Bros.)



"Taste The Pain"
Mother's Milk
(EMI)



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