By our count, the former sock-wearing funk-rockers have gone through eight guitarists, four drummers and 11 lineup changes as they grew into one of the world’s most popular rock bands and expanded their sound to include more melodic pop, rock, and soul influences. Their history is also marked by numerous members’ battles with drug addiction, most tragically resulting in the 1988 death of founding guitarist Hillel Slovak.
Exactly two things have remained constant about the Red Hot Chili Peppers over their long and successful career: Flea and Anthony Kiedis. The childhood friends have stayed together as their group’s sound and lineup have evolved dramatically over the past three decades.
Happily, the band seems to have put this drama behind them, with only one lineup change in the last 18 years and their much anticipated 11th studio album, The Getaway, currently receiving favorable reviews and strong early sales.
You can check out each and every one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ numerous lineup changes below, including the times they counted (sometimes very briefly) members of Parliament-Funkadelic, Jane’s Addiction, Black Flag and Danzig among their ranks.
1983-1984: Flea, Anthony Kiedis, Cliff Martinez, Jack Sherman
1985 / 1986: Temporary Peppers
1988: Flea, Anthony Kiedis, D.H. Peligro, DeWayne McKnight
After some soul searching, Kiedis and Flea decided to keep moving forward with the band. They briefly tried working with one of their heroes, Parliament / Funkadelic guitarist DeWayne McKnight, but soon decided (much to his chagrin) that it wasn’t a good match.
1988-1992: Flea, Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Chad Smith
On paper, the Chili Peppers’ next move should have been awesome. They teamed up with Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro for the highly anticipated album ‘One Hot Minute.’ Only problem? Dave actually didn’t like funk music. The record got mixed reviews and, after five years together, everybody seemed to realize this unit was never going to gel. Luckily…
1993: Flea, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, Jesse Tobias
… Make that TWO changes. Most quotes you can find about guitarist Jesse Tobias’ ultra-brief stint as a Pepper go like this one from a Guitar Center interview with Flea: “And, we had a guy, Jesse Tobias, for like, three seconds for a couple of good jams.” Next!
1998-2009: Flea, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, John Frusciante
After pulling himself out of a nasty bout with drug addiction, John Frusciante was ready to return to the Chili Peppers. The reunited foursome’s chemistry clicked into place seemingly even stronger than before, and 1999’s ‘Californication’ became their biggest-selling album to date. They went on to solidify their place as one of rock’s most beloved bands with two more studio albums and heavy touring over the next decade.