Freaky Styley

Red Hot Chili Peppers

EMI Records, 1985

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Dogged by bandmate changes and general sloppy production, the Red Hot Chili Peppers's debut album was a mixed bag to say the least. Even though the Peppers were still infants to the Los Angeles music scene, they had already gained a reputation of being one of the most intense live bands in the area; thanks to their unique fusion of hardcore punk and funk.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Things seemed better in 1985 when original guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons rejoined the Peppers after their band What Is This fizzled. Old lineup back, near legendary status on the stage and a debut album that, for all its flaws, still was exciting enough to raise eyebrows … looks like its time to go in the studio and record an album.

Riding high from this good karma, the Peppers scored a major coup by bringing in a producer who was perfect for the Red Hot Chili Peppers: George Clinton. The elder statesman of funk may not have been able to tame the Peppers, but he brought an infectious enthusiasm that made their second album, Freaky Styley, a euphoric mess.

Anthony Kiedis's vocals were paper-thin, but they fit seemingly perfect with Flea's slap-happy bass and Irons's staccato drumming. Anyone looking for the introspectiveness of some of the Peppers's later songs should probably seek another album. At this stage of their careers, the Peppers were more interested in thrashing and singing about escapades that would be fit for a porno plotline.

Their sense of humor definitely had some Zappa influence: "Yertle the Turtle" and "Blackeyed Blonde" were songs that were almost more memorable for their titles than their content. Still, Clinton was able to at least get the Red Hot Chili Peppers focused on how great they could be when all cylinders fired.

Even if you prefer the newer style the Chili Peppers have explored, Freaky Styley still merits an investment. The album was responsible for generating the Peppers' first bonafide classic: "Catholic School Girls Rule." Freaky Styley was definitely not the Red Hot Chili Peppers's best album, but it was likely their craziest.

Rating: B

User Rating: B-


© 2005 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI Records, and is used for informational purposes only.