Red Hot Chili Peppers: Mother’s Milk (1989)

rchp mothers milkBy Scott Goldfine

Los Angeles-based quartet the Red Hot Chili Peppers are back on the beat with this 13-song collection of rousing funk, rock and punk. This is a transitional effort for the Peppers. Half the lineup has changed since 1987’s “Uplift Mofo Party Plan” album. Guitarist Hillel Slovak overdosed on heroin last summer just as the group was preparing to go into the studio to record new material. The band’s future was uncertain, but lead singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea regrouped and enlisted John Frusciante as the new guitar player and Chad Smith as the new drummer, replacing Jack Irons.

As with their previous releases, this set opens with a bass-plucking, guitar-crunching funk romp. “Good Time Boys” is just one of the LP’s several pieces of ear candy. A rocking cover of Stevie Wonder’s masterful “Higher Ground” follows. It’s an unusual treat since most bands cover Wonder’s “Superstition” instead. The shuffling, horn-augmented “Subway to Venus” continues the hearty groove. The pulsating psychedelia of “Taste the Pain” is another aural delight, as are the grinding “Sexy Mexican Maid” and “Johnny Kick a Hole in the Sky.” The latter touches upon the U.S. government’s abuse of American Indians. A cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” and a hyper, self-titled tribute to Magic Johnson are also included.

Producer Michael Beinhorn is back at the helm for the second straight time, allowing the Red Hots to do their thing ― jam. Actually, the producer is incidental. The band has managed to retain virtually the same sound through four LPs, three producers and a 50% turnover in personnel. For many bands, this might signal stagnation. But in the case of the Chili Peppers — who thrive on avant-garde arrangements, outrageous lyrics and music that is at once precise, spirited and anarchic ― it’s just not so.

With roots that trace back to Jimi Hendrix, Funkadelic and the punk movement of the late 1970s, the Peppers have created such a refreshingly uninhibited sound that other bands, such as 24-7 Spyz, are just beginning to catch up to their cutting-edge style. Living up to this album’s title, the Red Hot Chili Peppers deliver music that’s basic, pure and naturally good.


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Scott Goldfine

As a fervid lifelong music & film enthusiast / student, I grew up in and around the Los Angeles entertainment industry. I have worked and held many positions in various media realms, since 1998 serving as Editor-in-Chief and now Associate Publisher for Security Sales & Integration, a trade publication serving the electronic security industry. I love several genres of music & film. The former includes funk (Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Ohio Players, etc.); blues (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Gales, etc.); rock (Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, etc.); hard rock (AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.); jazz (Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Crusaders, etc.); R&B (Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Gil Scott-Heron, etc.); and more. I was a club disc jockey and ran a mobile DJ company (Musical Moods) for more than 15 years, which is where the name Dr. GX originates (Doctor Good Times). Fave film genres include horror (Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.); science fiction (Aliens, Terminator, 2001, etc.); action (Warriors, Road Warrior, Die Hard); westerns (Outlaw Josey Wales, Showdown at OK Corral; Wild Bunch, etc.); suspense (Jaws, Inception, Silence of the Lambs, etc.); drama (Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.); and comedies (Life of Brian, Superbad, Ruthless People, etc.). I have attended many hundreds of concerts and movies (in theaters or screenings). I may as well also throw in a few favorite TV shows to give an even broader taste of my sensibilities. A handful would be Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Lost, Justified, Fargo, Seinfeld, Sopranos, South Park, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Key & Peele, Monty Python, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Last Man on Earth, Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family and The Office. Fave authors are Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Crichton. I am also a big sports fan and lifelong supporter of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB). Also enjoy my family of course, electronics/computers/AV gear, and animals, nature and outdoor activities. Graduate of Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College and California State University Northridge (Radio-TV-Film, Psychology minor). Also studied at UCLA for kinesiology/psychology and earned post-grad Certificate in Accounting from Santa Monica College. Present main occupation is as Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Security Sales & Integration (SSI), which I joined in 1998. I am responsible for overseeing all editorial content in print. online, electronic, in-person and any other media or products for the electronic security industry's leading business-to-business trade publication. SSI is part of Framingham, Mass.-based Emerald Expositions.