HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK

September 30th, 2011 by Glendyn

Along with another great album that’s also having a significant anniversary, I can’t believe this week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

This is an album that had a real effect on me. It defined a very distinct time and place in my life.

I was already a huge fan of the Chili Peppers with Mothers Milk, and I was literally counting down the days for the release of Blood Sugar. A friend actually got an advance copy on Cassette(!) and I can distinctly remember the first time I listened to it. I was in Newcastle, studying design at University, living right on the beach in a tumbling down terrace. My girlfriend and I sat on our lounge room floor vying for the sweet spot directly in-between the speakers.

I remember being quite struck by how different it sounded. This wasn’t the Chili Peppers I was expecting. The punk / funk was gone and it was more like funk and hip hop and had it had a ‘rawness’ to it. It sounded more like Public Enemy than say, Bad Brains. But by the end of that first listen I was totally and utterly hooked. An album so epically broad and appealing and yet so intimate and warm. It’s an album that introduced me to a world of sounds, musical ideas and influences. Blood Sugar Sex Magik went on continuous rotation and quickly became the official soundtrack to my summer of 91-92.

I think the album still stands today. And although I feel old in saying this, it’s now a ‘classic’, where sadly most (all?) Chili Pepper albums post Blood Sugar have not been.

But this post is really an excuse to put up Funky Monks a film documenting the recording of the album. It’s easily one of my favourite rockumentaries. There is something immediate, organic and very cool about it. And perhaps because the album has become such a classic, Funky Monks serves as an oppotunity to be a fly on the wall to witness the alchemy taking place.

When I was in L.A a couple of years ago I went and found the mansion that Blood Sugar was recorded in and subsequently Funky Monks was filmed in. Listening to the album you can ‘hear the rooms’. It gives the record such a unique ambience and tone.

I went and stood outside the house like a stalker it was some kind of sacred site. I peered through the cyclone fencing in the hope of hearing a distant echo of Blood Sugar being recorded, but all I could hear was traffic… just like at the very end of THIS TRACK (turn it up right at the end!)

4 Responses to “HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    Yes, I will never forget John Frusciante discussing (rationalizing) masturbation and the image of Rick Rubin grooving to ‘Dazed and Confused’ on the couch. I wanted to hang with Rick Rubin so bad.

  2. Duane Fogwell Says:

    20 years. My goodness. Thanks G for a great trip down memory lane. Mine was Batemans Bay summer of 91. Just got my license, driving with RHCP blasting, two mates and not a care on the world. Remember it like it was yesterday…yikes!

  3. Glendyn Says:

    Yeah Duane, I know the feeling… SO many good times with this album. I remember once driving from Melbourne to Sydney with my brother and girlfriend and us being generally excited that 12 hour trip would mean we could listen to the 73 minutes of BSSM from begging to end 10 times in a row…!

  4. Glendyn Says:

    Rick Rubin is very cool in Funky Monks. He definitely brings a sage like quality to the party. I always wondered what the context was for him listening to that track was. Were they listening to it get a ‘vibe’ to study it’s sounds / production technique?Maybe he just wanted to groove out on it!

    How great is the last shot of Funky Monks…?!

    Dude. We have to do something in Black and White someday!

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