Freaky Styley

Freaky Styley
Freaky Styley
Studio album by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Released August 16, 1985
Recorded May 1985
United Sound Studios, Detroit, MI
Genre Funk rock, jazz-funk, rap rock
Length 39:11
56:21 on the 2003 remaster
Language English
Label EMI America
Producer George Clinton
The Red Hot Chili Peppers chronology
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Freaky Styley
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan
Singles from Freaky Styley
  1. "Jungle Man"
    Released: 1985
  2. "Catholic School Girls Rule"
    Released: 1985
  3. "Hollywood (Africa)"
    Released: 1985

Freaky Styley is the second studio album by American funk rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on August 16, 1985 on EMI America. The album name holds its origins in a commonly used phrase in the 80's to describe anything as being "freaky styley". Freaky Styley marks founding guitarist Hillel Slovak's studio album debut, following his return to the band earlier in the year. The album is also the last to feature drummer Cliff Martinez. Freaky Styley was produced by George Clinton, of Parliament-Funkadelic.

The album yielded three singles: "Jungle Man", "Catholic School Girls Rule" and "Hollywood (Africa)".

According to Jason Birchmeir, of Allmusic, Freaky Styley is "the closest the Red Hot Chili Peppers ever came to straight funk, [it] is the quirkiest, loosest and most playful album in their long and winding catalog. It's also one of the best, if also one of their least heard."[1]



The Red Hot Chili Peppers was formed by Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovak, Flea and Jack Irons while they attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.[2] Originally under the moniker of Tony Flow & the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem, their first performance was at the Rhythm Lounge to a crowd of approximately thirty people, opening for Gary and Neighbor's Voices.[3] They "wrote" for the occasion, which involved the band improvising music while Kiedis rapped a poem he had written called "Out in L.A.".[4] Since Slovak and Irons were already committed to another group, What Is This?, it was intended to be a one–time performance. However, the performance was so lively that the band was asked to return the following week.[3] Due to this unexpected success, the band changed its name to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing several more shows at various LA clubs and musical venues. Six songs from these initial shows were on the band's first demo tape.[5]

Several months after their first performance, the band announced that they were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and were noticed by EMI and signed with the record label. Two weeks earlier, What Is This? had also obtained a record deal but with MCA. Slovak and Irons still considered the Red Hot Chili Peppers as only a side project and so they quit to focus on What Is This? Instead of dissolving the band, Kiedis and Flea recruited new members.[6] Cliff Martinez, a friend of Flea's and from the punk band, The Weirdos, joined shortly thereafter. The band held auditions for a new guitarist which included Weirdos guitarist, Dix Denney but it was decided that Jack Sherman was the best fit.[7]

Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill produced the first album. Gill, who "didn't embrace [the band's] musical aesthetic or ideology," argued constantly with the band over the record's sound.[8] Kiedis recalled that "Andy's thing was having a hit at all costs, but it was such a mistake to have an agenda."[9] Despite the misgivings of Kiedis and Flea, Gill pushed the band to play with a cleaner, crisper, more radio-friendly sound.[10] Their eponymous debut album, The Red Hot Chili Peppers was released on August 10, 1984. Though the album did not set sales records, airplay on college radio and MTV helped to build a fan base,[11] and the album ultimately sold 300,000 copies. However, the band was disappointed in the record's overall sound, feeling it was overly polished and as if it had "gone through a sterilizing Goody Two-shoes machine".[12] During the ensuing tour, continuing musical and lifestyle tension between Kiedis and Sherman complicated the transition between concert and daily band life.[13] Sherman was fired soon after, with Slovak returning to the Chili Peppers after growing tired of What is This?.


The cover artwork features the band jumping in front of Michelangelo's Last Judgment.

Song trivia

The track "Yertle the Turtle" incorporates several verses directly from Dr. Seuss' poem also named "Yertle the Turtle." As stated by Kiedis in his autobiography, Scar Tissue, the spoken lyrics at the beginning saying "Look at that turtle go bro." and throughout the song were by George Clinton's drug dealer who demanded debts be paid by Clinton. Unable to repay the dealer, Clinton offered him a part in the album.[14]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Rolling Stone (not rated) link


The album did not garner mainstream success and failed to enter the Billboard 200. In the liner notes to the 2003 remastered edition of the album, bassist Flea states:[15]

I know the music on this record was just way too obscure to ever be popular in a mainstream kind of way, but to me it really holds its own as a definitive and substantial musical statement. More than any other record we ever made it falls into the category of "too funky for white radio, too punk rockin' for black." Of course, the songs were very far away from any pop format; I realise it is/was not just the racial segregation at radio that precluded it from being a popular record.

Tour and Jack Irons returns

The tour for Freaky Styley known as the Infinity Tour began in 1985. Both Kiedis and Slovak were beginning their long (and in Slovak's case soon to be fatal) battles with drugs on this tour. The band decided to begin recording their third album in the spring of 1986 but by this time drummer Cliff Martinez decided he just didn't have the heart to continue, though rather than quitting, Kiedis and Flea fired Martinez. To the band's amazement, founding drummer, Jack Irons decided to return and for the first time since 1983 the original lineup was together. Together, the reunited lineup finished the remainder of the Freaky Styley tour. Following the end of the tour, Kiedis' drug problems were so bad that he was briefly fired from the band.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Flea, Kiedis, Martinez, Sherman except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Jungle Man"     4:09
2. "Hollywood (Africa)" (The Meters cover) The Meters 5:04
3. "American Ghost Dance"     3:51
4. "If You Want Me to Stay" (Sly and the Family Stone cover) Stewart 4:07
5. "Nevermind"   Flea, Kiedis, Slovak, Irons 2:48
6. "Freaky Styley"     3:40
7. "Blackeyed Blonde"     2:41
8. "The Brothers Cup"   Flea, Kiedis, Slovak, Irons 3:28
9. "Battleship"     1:54
10. "Lovin' and Touchin'"     0:37
11. "Catholic School Girls Rule"     1:56
12. "Sex Rap"   Flea, Kiedis, Slovak, Irons 1:55
13. "Thirty Dirty Birds"     0:15
14. "Yertle the Turtle"     3:47
Total length:
Bonus tracks on 2003 remastered version
No. Title Writer(s) Length
15. "Nevermind" (demo) Flea, Kiedis, Slovak, Irons 2:17
16. "Sex Rap" (demo) Flea, Kiedis, Slovak, Irons 1:37
17. "Freaky Styley" (original long version)   8:49
18. "Millionaires Against Hunger"     3:28
Total length:


Red Hot Chili Peppers

Additional musicians
  • Steve Boyd - backing vocals
  • George Clinton - backing vocals
  • Benny Cowan - trumpet
  • Larry Fratangelo - percussion
  • Shirley Hayden - backing vocals
  • Robert "Peanut" Johnson - backing vocals
  • Lous "Bro" Kabbabie - backing vocals
  • Pat Lewis - backing vocals
  • Maceo Parker - saxophone
  • Mike "Clip" Payne - backing vocals
  • Gary Shider - backing vocals
  • Joel Virgel - backing vocals
  • Fred Wesley - trombone
  • Andre Williams - backing vocals
Recording personnel
  • George Clinton - producer
  • John Bauer - second engineer
  • Jim "JB" Baurlein - mixing ("Sex Rap")
  • Ron McMaster - remastering
  • Bruce Nazarrian - mixing ("Yertle the Turtle")
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - mixing ("Sex Rap")
  • Jim Vitti - mixing ("The Brother's Cup" and "Blackeyed Blonde")
  • Greg Ward - engineer, mixing
  • Fred Wesley - horn arrangements
Additional personnel
  • Nels Israelson - photography
  • Henry Marquex - art direction
  • Peter Shea - design
  • Dr. Seuss - composer on "Yertle the Turtle"
  • The Meters - composer on "Hollywood (Africa)"
  • Joe Sherman - composer
  • Sly Stone - composer on "If You Want Me to Stay"


  1. ^
  2. ^ Prato, Greg. "Red Hot Chili Peppers > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved June 5, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Kiedis & Sloman 2004, p. 106
  4. ^ Kiedis & Sloman 2004, p. 105
  5. ^ Kiedis & Sloman 2004, p. 115
  6. ^ Kiedis & Sloman 2004, p. 127
  7. ^ Kiedis & Sloman 2004
  8. ^ Kiedis, Sloman, p. 142
  9. ^ Kiedis, Sloman, p. 143
  10. ^ Kiedis & Sloman 2004, p. 144
  11. ^ Prato, Greg. "The Red Hot Chili Peppers > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved July 26, 2009. 
  12. ^ Kiedis, Sloman, 145
  13. ^ Kiedis & Sloman 2004, pp. 133–134
  14. ^ Kiedis, Sloman, pp. 174-175
  15. ^ Liner notes to Freaky Styley remaster (2003)

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