By Jason Thomas

As someone that’s been working in rock radio for twenty years, I have a complicated relationship with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Blood Sugar Sex Magic was released when I was 13, and I was all-in on it. I stayed up late on the night of February 22, 1992 to see their performances on Saturday Night Live, and while I wanted to see ’em at Lollapalooza ’92 alongside Ice Cube, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ministry and others, I wasn’t old enough to drive yet and the trek to Mountain View from my native Pleasant Hill was a bit too much for a 14-year-old sans parental intervention. One Hot Minute had a song or two that I liked, but fast forward to 1999, and that’s when things really took off for the band. Or, maybe it just seemed that way to me because I was working in the “alternative” radio format and the stations I worked at loved to play that band literally every hour at times. Between Californication and By the Way, I must’ve heard their songs roughly 3 or 4 times a day for probably a good five years or so. I burned out on them pretty hard and actively disliked them for a while, but since I’ve been at XRT where the library is deep and artists don’t pop up nearly as often as they do at other radio stations, the band and I are on good terms again. They’ve been a part of my life for so long, and even though I’ve never been a super fan, it’s pretty easy to pick out five singles that I’m not totally sick of in honor of our Chili Peppers ticket giveaways all month long on XRT. More on that here.

In no particular order…

“Give It Away” – The first song of theirs that I was really into. Bonus points for the spiral shaved into Flea’s hair.


“Tell Me Baby” – The song’s fine. It’s on this list because it reminds me of a girl I had a crush on long ago. She really liked the Chilis despite my objections.


“The Zephyr Song” – Again, the song is fine. It’s on my list because it reminds me of a certain night back in my mid-20s, and that’s a theme that’s emerging on this list. I’m not wild about the songs, I don’t love them, but they were always on. We’re all familiar with the term “the soundtrack of our lives,” and in this case, with this band, that’s really the best way to describe my attraction to certain songs. They were just on in the background when a notable event or two took place in my life.


“My Friends” – Senior year of high school stuff. See above. It was just on a lot.


“Around the World” – Another “California” mention! It’s my home state, I guess I have a soft spot for that.



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