Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


The Chili Peppers’ First Trek to Israel

The band pays tribute to first guitarist who was Israeli

Print Email

Last year when the Red Hot Chili Peppers announced they would play their first ever show in Israel, the following went up on The Scroll:

Long-time fans and/or Behind the Music aficionados know the band’s history was significantly shaped by Israeli-born Hillel Slovak, their first guitarist. Slovak’s 1988 death (he OD’d) fractured the band; the core of Anthony Kiedis (vocals), Flea (bass), and Chad Smith (drums) has gone through a revolving door of replacement guitarists in their nearly 30 years on the scene.

The band has persevered despite countless battles with drug addiction, reaching worldwide fame: Grammy wins (7), platinum albums (5), and $105(!) tickets for their Israeli debut.

Naturally, now that the band has finally played the show (last night), I thought it only fair to give an update on the event–despite the fact that it no longer seems to be a big deal when American bands go to israel. Though I swear, this story is different! From the Times of Israel:

Eleven years ago, the band canceled a gig because of second intifada-era security concerns. Now they were finally here, and Slovak was plainly a factor. They said they were sending out one song to his home town of Haifa. Bassist extraordinaire Michael “Flea” Balzary hailed him mid-set as the man who “invented Israeli funk”; left unsaid was the fact that the late guitarist’s unique style has always informed the band. Flea also recalled how, when they were playing together in their early years in LA, Slovak made a trip to Israel, and came back “so excited… so full of love.”

Listening to all of that, having Flea wish us all “Lehayim!,” telling us how happy, grateful and “humbled” the band was to be here, hearing him say after the encores that they’d remember this night “for the rest of our lives” — well, it was clear, in retrospect, that the boycott pressure groups were never going to have kept the Chili Peppers away.

Further boosting their cred, Israeli jazz trumpeter Avishai Cohen came on stage for a few songs as well.

Earlier: One Hot Setlist
For the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Tel Aviv, A Sort of Homecoming [Times of Israel]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Chili Peppers’ First Trek to Israel

The band pays tribute to first guitarist who was Israeli

More on Tablet:

Obama: Denying Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland is Anti-Semitic

By Yair Rosenberg — The president draws a line in the sand in his latest interview