Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Former Guitarist Jack Sherman Dead at 64
Jack Sherman, who played guitar on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' self-titled debut, has died at the age of 64 from undisclosed causes.
"We of the RHCP family would like to wish Jack Sherman smooth sailing into the worlds beyond, for he has passed," the band posted on Instagram. "Jack played on our debut album as well as our first tour of the USA. He was a unique dude and we thank him for all times good, bad and in between. Peace on the boogie platform."
Born on Jan. 18, 1956, Sherman was recruited for the Chili Peppers in late 1983 shortly after they signed a deal with Enigma when their founding guitarist, Hillel Slovak, decided to concentrate on his other group, What Is This?, who had signed with MCA a few weeks earlier. Andy Gill of the Gang of Four, who produced their debut, was brought on to produce and saw first-hand the influence he had, but also noticed a difference in lifestyle.
"Jack was macrobiotic," Gill told Diffuser. "They were into their drugs at that point and there was bit of a clash there. But Jack actually turned them onto Funkadelic -- they really didn't know about that, so he brought a bit of that to the band. Jack Sherman is a brilliant guitarist, but they were never going to gel. In fact, seeing those early gigs, they did a few shows when I was in the middle of the record and they were just antsy to be absolutely rude about it on stage, sort of saying, “You're a fucking jerk, you're an idiot.” I had to tell them, “Don't say that about your guitarist! Shut up!”
In his autobiography, singer Anthony Kiedis said he knew that our relationship with Jack wasn't meant to be" because the guitarist didn't have "a punk-rock pedigree." However, he added, God bless Jack, he did keep the band afloat for a year, and if he hadn't, the years to follow probably wouldn't have."
Sherman was fired in 1985, but not before he had helped compose much of the material found on the follow-up, Freaky Styley.. From there he went on to session work, playing on Bob Dylan's Knocked Out Loaded and George Clinton's R&B Skeletons in the Closet. He was even brought back into the Chili Peppers' orbit for their breakthrough fourth album Mother's Milk, contributing background vocals to two songs, including their hit cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground."
Despite his contributions to their early work, Sherman was not inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with his former band mates in 2012, a move which upset him. "It's really painful to see all this celebrating going on and be excluded," he told Billboard. "I'm not claiming that I've brought anything other to the band... but to have soldiered on under arduous conditions to try to make the thing work, and I think that's what you do in a job, looking back. And that's been dishonored. I'm being dishonored, and it sucks."
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