Red Hot Chili Peppers rock Tel Aviv, remember late guitarist

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Sept. 9, 2012.
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/JTA

SIX DEGREES (NO BACON)/JEWISH CELEBRITY ROUNDUP/JTA

The “Red Hot Chili Peppers” performed in Tel Aviv on Monday night, a decade after they canceled their show due to security issues. It was the group’s first visit to Israel, and to make the most of it, the members went to the Western Wall in Jerusalem straight from the airport. The band talked about Hillel Slovak, one of their founding members, who died from a drug overdose in the early 1990s.

“Hillel Slovak forever!” band leader Anthony Kiedis shouted on stage, adding, “I must say, Hillel had his own brand of Israeli funk, pretty sure he invented it. That Israeli funkinstein.” Guitarist Flea added, “He went out to a trip in Israel, and he came back and he was so lit up and so excited and so full of love, and to come here today and think of him it’s truly a dream.” The band dedicated the song “Other Side” to the city of Haifa, where Slovak was born.

Slovak is not the only Jewish connection of the Peppers. Current guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is Jewish, and is related to Leon Klinghoffer, the elderly man in a wheelchair who was murdered by terrorists aboard the Achille Lauro in 1985.

Pro-Palestinian groups in Lebanon, where the band performed just a few nights before, were outraged about the Peppers’ decision to perform in Israel, and even threatened the opening acts in Beirut to not perform, causing one of the bands to cancel. Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith tweeted earlier this week: “In any city of any country we play … Our sole purpose is to uplift people thru our music. Nothing more. Nothing less … that’s it.”

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One Comment on “Red Hot Chili Peppers rock Tel Aviv, remember late guitarist”

  1. Jason says:

    I really admired this story. I have been a Chilli peppers fan since 1991 and remeber when they lost their guitarist but unfortunatley didnt even know his name or backround till I read this story. Thank you for publishing it. It’s always nice to see bands trying to use their fame and talent as something positive. I guess thats one of the great things about music. In my opinion bands like Bob Marley & The Wailers along with U2 and Michael Jackson did this better than anyone, its nice to see other bands doing the same as well.


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