RHCP are one of the best-selling bands of all time with over 80 million records sold worldwide. They have been nominated for sixteen Grammy Awards, winning six, and are the most successful alternative rock band ever, currently holding records on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart for most number-one singles (13), most cumulative weeks at number one (85) and most top-ten songs (25). In 2012, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The band's original lineup, playing as Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem, featured guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons, alongside Kiedis and Flea. Because of commitments to other bands, Slovak and Irons did not play on the band's 1984 self-titled debut album. Slovak performed on the second and third albums, Freaky Styley (1985) and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987), but he died from a heroin overdose in 1988. As a result of his friend's death, Irons chose to leave the group. After short-lived replacements on guitar and drums, John Frusciante and Smith joined in 1988. The lineup of Flea, Kiedis, Frusciante, and Smith was the longest-lasting and recorded five studio albums beginning with Mother's Milk (1989). In 1990, the group signed with Warner Brothers Records and recorded the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) under producer Rick Rubin. This album became the band's first major commercial success, but Frusciante grew uncomfortable with the band's popularity and left abruptly in 1992 in the middle of the Blood Sugar Sex Magik Tour.
After two temporary guitarists, Dave Navarro joined the group in 1993 and played on their subsequent album, One Hot Minute (1995). Although commercially successful, the album failed to match the critical or popular acclaim of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, selling less than half as much as its predecessor. Navarro was fired from the band in 1998. Frusciante, fresh out of drug rehabilitation, rejoined the band that same year at Flea's request. The reunited quartet returned to the studio to record Californication (1999), which became the band's biggest commercial success with 16 million copies sold worldwide. That album was followed three years later by By the Way (2002), and then four years later by the double album Stadium Arcadium (2006), their first number-one album in America. After a world tour, the group went on an extended hiatus. Frusciante announced he was amicably leaving the band in 2009 to focus on his solo career. Klinghoffer, who had worked both as a sideman for the band on their Stadium Arcadium tour and on Frusciante's solo projects, replaced him. The band's tenth studio album, I'm with You, was released in 2011 and topped the charts in 18 different countries. The band released their eleventh studio album, The Getaway, in 2016. That album was produced by Danger Mouse, making it the first time they had not worked with Rubin. It topped the charts in ten different countries. As of November 2018, the band is in the process of working on their twelfth studio album which they expect to release in 2019.
The band has a long history of activism and charitable work. In February 2016, the band headlined a fundraiser concert in support of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. In April, they performed at a private function on behalf of Facebook and Napster founder Sean Parker for his launch of The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Chad Smith and Will Ferrell hosted the Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera in the same month. The benefit featured a performance by the Chili Peppers along with comedy acts selected by Ferrell and Funny or Die. A portion of the proceeds went to Ferrell's Cancer for College and Smith's Silverlake Conservatory of Music.
In February 2018, Smith once again joined Ferrell at his One Classy Night benefit at the Moore Theater in Seattle to help raise money for Cancer for College. The event raised $300,000 in college scholarship money for students who have survived cancer.
"You know, we love punk rock so much, and we did catch the tail end of the very potent wave of punk rock in Hollywood, in Los Angeles. We were little sponges on the streets of Hollywood, kind of soaking up this aesthetic and this music and this energy and attitude." ~ Anthony Kiedis
"...we don't have any limits or rules for ourselves about what music is or what we can play. We can play anything we want to play, and anyone who wants to listen to it, can." ~ Anthony Kiedis
"When I originally decided to become a drug addict, it was a clear decision. I was very sad, and I was always happy when I was on drugs; therefore, I thought I should be on drugs all the time." ~ John Frusciante
"John is the greatest musician in the world -- the artistic center of his brain is pretty much all of his brain." ~ Michael "Flea" Balzary on John Frusciante
"The fact that people can stay sincere and have joy in their lives in the face of phoniness or economic elitism is a testament to the spirit of Los Angeles." ~ Flea