Sunday, January 12, 2014

Funky Monks

It's unlikely that the Red Hot Chili Peppers' just-announced Super Bowl halftime performance will go down as a highlight in their career. Some might even see it as their downfall, the moment when a group of counterculture icons became safe enough to be disgracefully billed as Bruno Mars' special guests on the world's least spontaneous rock show, performing between scores of $5 million commercials. I'm sure we'll get some depressing internet quotes on the inevitable "Who are the Red Hot Chili Peppers?" Tumblr page that will pop up during the week of the show.

To remind yourself why the Chili Peppers matter, check out Funky Monks, now up on YouTube. This beautifully-filmed documentary captures the band at their creative peak, writing and recording Blood Sugar Sex Magik at Errol Flynn's old home in Laurel Canyon. Each of the Peppers (and producer Rick Rubin, working with them for the first time) take turns being the smartest and the stupidest guys in the room, all probably stoned and somehow sculpting a few melodies into songs like "Under the Bridge" and "Give it Away." Director/cinematographer Gavin Bowden unfortunately never made another movie, but rarely has any filmmaker ever captured such an intimate look at an all-time great rock album.

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