Flea Is 50

Michael Peter Balzary, who wrote what is inarguably one of the greatest basslines of all time, turns 50 today. It might be hard for younger readers to believe this, but there was a time when his band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, had an astounding amount of credibility (Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released on the same day as Nirvana’s Nevermind, and people who are now old were equally excited at the time for both). The Chili Peppers’ cachet has long since disappeared for various reasons which, not being a music historian, I can’t fully explain (although even I have not listened to anything they’ve done since Blood Sugar Sex Magik; my theory is that the advent of rap-rock somehow gave them ridiculousness-cooties by association, although the latitude for misogyny and immaturity you will give to a young band (see also: Beastie Boys) grows smaller and smaller with each successive release, and that probably had a lot more to do with it), but the fact that a guy who used to wear a dick on his sock is now one of the elder statesmen of whatever we’re calling the kind of music they do these days certainly says something. Anyway, happy birthday, Flea.