Red Hot Chili Peppers Frontman Reveals Odd Way Rick Rubin Treated the Band, Recalls Producer Being Scared of Them

In a recent chat with Joe Rogan, Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis looked back on the band’s earlier days, back when they weren’t in the classic lineup we remember them for. The particular occasion he remembered happened in 1985 when Hillel Slovak was on the guitar and Cliff Martinez on drums, along with Flea and Kiedis.

During that time, the band was signed to EMI and the label had given them this place to practice. On one occasion, producer Rick Rubin came to visit them while rehearsing, bringing along Beastie Boys with him. Kiedis recalls (via Ultimate Classic Rock):

“I was basically a junkie, but still showing up to work from time to time, which was the basement of the EMI studios on Sunset Boulevard. They gave us a little basement to rehearse in. They had signed us, but we were going nowhere very slowly – couldn’t get out of our own way.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Rockpalast Festival (Alemania, 1985) -HD-

“But we were still making a buzz; there was still something exciting about us that caught people’s attention, and it caught Rick Rubin’s attention.”

“Rick brought the Beastie Boys to our dingy little rehearsal spot, and he sat there, and we rehearsed while they watched. They’re on these little dirty couches, watching us, and we went through our songs. And Rick stood up and said, ‘We’re gonna go now.’ I was like, ‘OK, do we talk again? What’s going on?'”

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“He was like, ‘I thought somebody was gonna get murdered in that rehearsal space. I thought somebody was gonna die. I had to leave.’ That’s how dark we had become. That’s how dark I had become, he was afraid someone was gonna die and it was time to leave.”

“That’s what he said. He’s like, ‘You guys were terrifying, you were scary and it felt like somebody was gonna die. We had to go.'”

Kiedis further added that he didn’t see Rubin for years until the band got to record “Blood Sugar Sex Magick,” released in 1991. After that one, Rubin ended up being the band’s go-to producer for every single record.

However, now their ex-guitarist Josh Klinghoffer recently mentioned that he wasn’t super happy about the producer’s work and you can read more about that here.

Photos: Hel Davies (Anthony Kiedis 2022), Jason Mogavero (RickRubinSept09)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.