Red Hot Chili Peppers, Uplift Mofo Party Plan. Released September 1987 (EMI)
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan was the 3rd studio album released by the Chili’s but it was the first album they recorded that featured all 4 members of the original lineup: Anthony Kiedis (vocals), Flea (Bass), Hillel Slovak (guitar) and Jack Irons (drums). This album is definitely a must-listen if you like RHCP because the album’s sound is much more cohesive and suitable for a larger audience. Their previous self-titled album (1984) and Freaky Styley (1987) were much more raw and appealed to a more niche audience.
This change in attitude happened shortly after lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, kicked a voracious heroin habit that had other band members asking him to attend rehab. It was not, however, his bandmate’s pressure that finally made Kiedis quit. It was an article appearing in LA Weekly citing the band as “Band of the Year” that prompted him to quit the drug cold turkey. The turn in rehab also came with another added benefit – The creative juices were flowing again, and on the plane ride back to LA, Kiedis penned the song “Fight Like A Brave” which sounds and reads like a personal anthem of triumph.
This album really began to show the talents of each member while still writing good sounding songs. Case-in-point, the song “Behind the Sun” Flea plays a very pretty, melodic bass line that compliments Kiedis’ vocals perfectly. Slovak’s guitar solo on Backwoods is so huge sounding and he also breaks out the Talk Box guitar effect on the track “Funky Crime”. The slap-funk bass style that Flea has become synonymous with was really honed on Uplift Mofo.
The story of The Uplift Mofo Party Plan didn’t end without tragedy though. Upon returning home from touring, guitarist Hillel Slovak shut himself off from the band and his friends and went on a heroin bender that would claim his life. He would sadly not be able to witness the album’s success in later years. Although Mother’s Milk released after Uplift Mofo, went gold first, Uplift Mofo quickly followed suit.
A new beginning would arise from this tragedy. A young fan and guitarist named John Frusciante would join the band in place of Slovak. Also Jack Irons would depart and Chad Smith would take over the drumming duties. This new lineup would create RHCP’s commercial success with their next two albums, Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magic. They would end up as worldwide rock stars by the time the mid-nineties rolled around and it all started with The Uplift Mofo PartyPlan.