Yes, the record industry can be an awful place. It can be extra-awful if you’re a woman. Take a read of this blog post called “Bloody, Sugar, Sex, Dickheads” by music executive Julie Farman which details an encounter with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Via AV Club)
It just happened again. I read a news story about Flea playing the national anthem as a bass solo at Kobe’s final game with the Lakers and I went nuts. Every time I’m reminded that the Red Hot Chili Peppers exist, I lose my mind. It’s been a frequent occurence lately. They’re about to release a new record and the promo machine is gearing up.
25 years ago, when I worked at Epic, I had a fucked up experience with the Chili Peppers. The incident was about a 3 on the 1-10 scale of sexual harassment in the music business of the 80s and 90s, and I never consciously thought it was that big a deal. I wasn’t even aware of how intensely I hated them until a couple of months ago, when the kid that works the desk at my gym played “Can’t Stop.” I was furious; I felt like my blood had been replaced with a million small bombs and that all of them were about to explode. I threw my weights to the floor mid-rep and pounded to the desk. Just before I screamed the only words I could come up with — NO. MORE. RED. HOT. CHILI. PEPPERS. — I realized I had to leave. I knew I’d be unable to restrain myself if I had to hear Anthony sing “mop tops are happy when they feed you” or “can’t stop, addicted to the shindig, chop top, he says I’m gonna win big.” When I calmed down, I thought about how overblown my reaction was, and allowed for the first time that maybe I didn’t hate them simply because they suck.
I heard stories about the Chili Peppers and the way they treated women long before Anthony was convicted of sexual battery and indecent exposure in 1989 and Chad and Flea were arrested for lascivious behavior, battery and disorderly conduct in 1990. No one in the music industry really gave a shit — as their legal issues made headlines, they left EMI, and every label wanted to sign them. Including Epic. I was horrified.