Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Jack Sherman dead at 64

Jack Sherman in 1998
(Image credit: Jim Steinfeldt / Getty Images)

Jack Sherman, who played guitar on the first Red Hot Chili Peppers album, has died at the age of 64.

The news was confirmed by the band on social media, who released a statement that read, "We of the RHCP family would like to wish Jack Sherman smooth sailing into the worlds beyond, for he has passed. Jack played on our debut album as well as our first tour of the USA. He was a unique dude and we thank him for all times good, bad and in between. Peace on the boogie platform."

Sherman was born in Miami, FL. in 1958, and joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983, replacing founding guitarist Hillel Slovak. 

He played guitar on the band's self-titled debut album as well as picking up co-writing credits, and also composed material on the follow-up, Freaky Styley, although by the time the album was recorded Slovak had returned to the band.

Sherman also contributed to he Abbey Road EP and to the band's breakthrough release Mother's Milksinging backing vocals on Good Time Boys and Higher Ground – but the relationship with his bandmates was never plain sailing, and when the Red Hot Chili Peppers entered the Rock Hall Of Fame in 2012, Sherman was nowhere to be seen. 

"It's really painful to see all this celebrating going on and be excluded," Sherman told Billboard. "I'm not claiming that I've brought anything other to the band... but to have soldiered on under arduous conditions to try to make the thing work, and I think that's what you do in a job, looking back. And that's been dishonoured. I'm being dishonoured, and it sucks."

Gang Of Four's Andy Gill, who produced the RHCP debut, praised Sherman's contributions o the band's sound, telling Billboard, "I do find him to be significant to the band's history, very much part of getting the funk guitar in there. They just really rubbed each other up the wrong way."

And in his autobiography Scar Tissue, singer Anthony Kiedis did pay tribute, saying, "God bless Jack, he did keep the band afloat for a year, and if he hadn't, the years to follow probably wouldn't have."

The cause of death has not been announced.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.