Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Uplift Mofo Party Plan

   1987 EMI-Manhattan/Capitol

Don’t care what anyone says…THIS is the definitive Red Hot Chili Peppers disc.  Way before it was fashionable to combine rock, funk and rap the Chili Peppers unleashed this heavy, funky and groovin’ disc on an unsuspecting public.

Sure their previous record ‘Freaky Styley’ was produced by the King of Funk, George Clinton himself, but this was something different altogether.  While they had always sought to combine funk, rock and a psychedelic skate-punk mentality, on ‘The Uplift Mofo Party Plan’ they created a sound so powerful that every thump of Flea’s bass sounds like it’s going to tear a hole in your speaker cones.

Run-DMC has been credited (and rightfully so) along with Aerosmith with being the first to bring the rock/rap combo to the mainstream – when you think about it, ‘Walk This Way’ really was a sort-of rap song to begin with – and around the time of their ground-breaking video the Chili Peppers were in the studio creating this gem.

From the first beat of lead track “Fight Like A Brave,” you can just tell you’re in for a party.  I remember hearing it for the first time and thinking “I’ve never heard anything like this before.”   It really was a groundbreaking sound at the time, although they were just beginning to gain notoriety.

Their influences are all over the place.  While the rock/metal influences are there in Hillel Slovak’s (RIP) perfectly distorted guitar and the punk/funk influence is there in the rhythm section of bassist Flea and drummer Jack Irons, this is where the classic rock influences so prevalent in their present-day sound first appeared with their brilliant reworking of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”

It’s really amazing how they managed to make so many different and seemingly incompatible styles work so flawlessly within their own context.  “Funky Crime” couldn’t be any more funky with its slinky groove and on the other side of the coin there’s the psychedelic “Behind The Sun” and the southern-fried country/rock/funk of “Walkin’ On Down The Road.”   It just doesn’t sound like it should work…but it does.

“No Chump Love Sucker” is pure skate punk/funk, a perfect soundtrack song for the X-Games, while my favorite is undoubtedly the relentlessly funky and slammin’ “Backwoods.”   Man this album makes me smile every time I listen to it and it’s rumoured that it was Steven Tyler’s music of choice to listen to on Aerosmith’s ‘Permanent Vacation’ tour.   I can see why.  If you’re having a bad day, this is the music to get you in a better mood.  You might even take all your clothes off.

Rating:  5 out of 5