As a band that’s always understood the importance of strong visuals, here are five of the band’s most interesting music videos.
Caution: may contain circus freaks, nudity, dead comedians and arty-farty undertones…
Can't Stop (By The Way, 2002)
Mark Romanek, the man behind Johnny Cash’s stirring, acclaimed video for the Nine Inch Nails cover of "Hurt", took a lighter path when directing the clip for By The Way highlight "Can’t Stop". Featuring a colourful collection of everyday items being used and abused by the quirky Californian musicians, it’s based on the works of sculptor Erwin Wurm. Proving little beats seeing Flea with a bunch of pens stuck up his nose, it’s the second most popular video on the band’s official YouTube channel behind "Californication".
Give It Away (Blood Sugar Sex Magik, 1991)
Directed by French creative Stephane Sednaoui in the days before he went out with Kylie Minogue and made music videos for U2, Madonna and R.E.M., "Give It Away" is an energetic collision of sweaty performance, thrusting movements, weird haircuts and wacky silver outfits. Sednaoui later returned to the Californian desert to film the band’s cool and subdued "Scar Tissue" video in 1999.
Soul To Squeeze (Coneheads, 1993)
It’s an easy one to overlook given it never appeared on a studio album, but "Soul To Squeeze" stands up better than many of the tracks which bumped it from inclusion on 1991’s breakthrough Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Released two years later on the Coneheads soundtrack, the video offered another trippy monochrome delight. Based around the fading glories of a travelling circus, the video featured Flea riding an elephant, Anthony Kiedis playing Medusa and late comedian Chris Farley as a cigar-chomping circus wrangler.
Otherside (Californication, 1999)
The Californication album proved a fertile time for the band. Not only did they release five successful singles off the album over the course of 18 months, it was also an imperial era for awesome music videos. After Stephane Sednaoui’s "Scar Tissue" and "Around The World" clips came the beautiful Expressionism of "Otherside". Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (the minds behind the similarly exquisite and otherworldly Smashing Pumpkins clip for "Tonight, Tonight"), the video weaves in elements of Metropolis, Hitchcock and Chaplin for a result which tones down the zaniness in favour of dark power.
Go Robot (The Getaway, 2016)
Anthony Kiedis as a body painted mime in a codpiece? Tick. Flea as a sleazy ‘70s hustler? Tick. A disco dancefloor showdown? Tick. Weirdness abounds in the video for the 2016 tune "Go Robot", taken from the band’s comeback album The Getaway. More than thirty years since they kicked off their recording career, these funky monks are still doing their unique thing…
Prefer "Californication’s" video game scenario? Think the Dave Navarro-era clip for "Warped" deserves attention? Got another favourite Red Hot Chili Peppers music video? Write your comments here or tell us on our Facebook page. Get your RHCP CDs, DVDs and vinyl here.