Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea in "hair metal was f**king great!" shocker

(Image credit: Warners YouTube)

Alongside peers Jane's Addiction, Thelonius Monster and Fishbone, in their earliest years Red Hot Chili Peppers presented an alternative view of their Los Angeles hometown to that served up by Sunset Strip's hair metal glitterati, their arty underground noise far removed from the sleazy strip club soundtracks pumped out by Motley Crue, W.A.S.P. et al.

But just as veterans of the grunge and hair metal scenes have acknowledged in recent years that the much-hyped antipathy between musicians in the two camps was something of a phoney war, with former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl inviting Guns N' Roses stars Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash onstage with Foo Fighters to play It's So Easy in 2018, so it appears that the alleged antagonism between the Chili Peppers camp and their Hollywood hair metal rivals may have been blown out of proportion.

"We were definitely against the hair metal scene," Chili Peppers' bassist Flea acknowledges in a wide-ranging interview in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine. "We were, like, 'Fuck them. We're the underground, art-rock, get-weird east side guys; those guys are just rehashing Aerosmith and Kiss.' In retrospect it was all petty bullshit. A lot of those bands were fucking great. Guns N' Roses was a great band."

In a nod to the Chili Peppers' openness to music right across the spectrum, the quartet's new single Poster Child finds frontman Anthony Kiedis name-checking Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Steve Miller, Motorhead, The MC5, Van Morrison and more. It's the second teaser for the band's forthcoming album, Unlimited Love, their first since guitarist John Frusciante returned to the band in late 2019. Production was handled by Rick Rubin, who completed a return to the cast behind the hugely successful Blood Sugar Sex Majik, By The Way, Californication and Stadium Arcadium albums. 

“Our only goal is to get lost in the music,” say the band. “We (John, Anthony, Chad and Flea) spent thousands of hours, collectively and individually, honing our craft and showing up for one another, to make the best album we could." 

You can read more from the reborn Chilii Peppers in the new issue of Classic Rock, which is in UK stores now and available to buy online

Classic Rock issue 299

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.