“The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Real Popular Vote”

Sometimes magazines, hard copy magazines, just really hit the spot. The other day, or about a week ago, I was in a Walgreens with an extra 10 or so bucks burning a hole in my pocket, and I had a choice between a football preview and this Rolling Stone Grateful Dead issue. I ended up choosing the Dead, and got privy to a bunch of hilarious information, like how the number one LSD manufacturer of the time, Owsley Stanley, a Brit, ended up being their sound guy.

And later I got to thinking, you know, if I would have bought that sports mag, I’d probably just end up sitting around all mad, like, man, these guys have all this stuff I don’t have, and they’re just flaunting it in my face. It’s just jealousy, why people hate high-paid athletes. You get what you pay for in a capitalist system, that’s just the way it is, and in this way capitalism is a pretty good system, really. Like take even Lebron James, he earned every cent of his salary this year in the NBA finals — Draymond Greene of the opposing Golden State Warriors gave him a vicious hack across the face with a forearm and wrist in game 2 while he was going up, I believe breaking his nose, but he ended up reentering that game and then playing out the series. I didn’t even watch the rest of the series. I was tapped out.
But I also got to thinking about what it would be like to be a band like the Grateful Dead, and be hated by so many people, for basically no reason. Again, it’s just jealousy, just overexposure. If you look at it this way, human beings are actually inclined to hate the best things in life — things which garner the most praise, attention and dollar sales (the Grateful Dead are the highest grossing band in history in ticket sales).
And then take a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Few bands are more popular over the continuous course of the last 25 years. They made their best stuff in the ’90’s, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, One Hot Minute, Californication, but listenable and memorable stuff in the ’00’s too, for any general fan of pop rock, By the Way and Stadium Arcadium… but they’re still hated by hipsters, it’s stigmatized to listen to them. Is this truth, in a way, just self-evident? I mean, no matter how messianic, how seemingly semantically unimpeachable a cultural voice get, will there just always be haters? It seems like it, because it’s “love” uniting all of the Chili Peppers’ messages, basically. They mention the world “love” on Blood Sugar Sex Magik (“Love is free love me say hell yes” on “Give it Away”), One Hot Minute (“Three pounds of love inside my skull / A million more lies it’s never dull” on “One Hot Minute”), Californication (“Mother Russia do that succor / I know you’re bold enough / I’ve been around the world / And I have seen your love” on “Around the World”) and By the Way (“In time I want to be your best friend / East side love is living on the west end” on “Can’t Stop”). It would have just been redundant to mention it on Stadium Arcadium too, plus that album features the great song “Snow (Hey Oh)”.
I’ll admit, I took the bait for a little bit, from the pitchfork world, I started hating on the Chili Peppers for a little bit, because it was cool to. But it’s just funny how these strains of hatred get started, they are the real cancer, and it makes you wonder if “revolutions” are actually really a good thing, when all the popular vote needs is love.


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