From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mother’s Milk

I’ve lucked into very few situations in my life.  I haven’t won the lottery or been handed a wheelbarrow full  of start up stock  that’s later worth billions.  I found five bucks in front of a grocery story when I was a kid, so there’s that.

Perhaps one of the luckiest cards I’ve drawn was to find myself living in the heart of Hollywood during the late eighties.  Hair metal was on its way out with exception to the Sunset Strip.  The clubs were jumping with bands like Jane’s Addiction, Fishbone, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  All of these bands were positioned to hit it big but they weren’t quite there yet.  It was an exciting time.

Mother’s Milk looked like the album that was going to break the Chilis.  We all thought guitarist Hillel Slovak was irreplaceable, but newcomer John Frusciante changed our minds quickly.  New drummer Chad Smith had heavy sticks and fit the RHCP party vibe perfectly.  Yep, we were sure that this was it.  Our local boys were going to make good.

Anthony and Flea had to wait one more album to take over the world, but Mother’s Milk did well.  It was the first RHCP album to go gold, and the music holds up.  Sure, the pop culture references (Traci Lords, the “showtime” Lakers) might be dated, but the music is solid.

But chances are that’s not why you’re here.  No, you’re likely here for that beautiful album cover.  We were knocked out by it back then, too.  At the time lead singer Anthony Kiedis was dating an actress named Ione Skye, so we managed to convince ourselves that she was the Brobdingnagian model cradling our heroes (she isn’t).

I’ve read on the intergooglewebtubes that Mother’s Milk was released initially without the rose obscuring Faux Ione’s breast.  If that’s true I’ve never seen the alternate “nude” controversial cover.  Rather, I think the confusion comes from the promotional posters that Capitol sent to record stores. Both censored (like the album cover) and nude versions were sent out, and I can tell you first hand as the record store employee who opened the mailing tube and then took home the contents that they were sent at the same time.  What’s pictured below are the original promotional posters.  Yep, I still have them.

Mother’s Milk is readily available for just a couple of bucks.  The real collectible here is the uncensored poster, which I’ve seen sell for $100-$400.  They’re out there, though.  Happy hunting.

9 replies »

  1. I really like RHCP…although lately what I hear, I feel like I’ve heard it before.

    I have to say that to me, for some reason, the rose covered breast looks more twisty than just your standard lady nipple…

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  2. So I was in LA for a conference in June. I bailed early and spent a couple days in Ventura; on the drive out I could feel the tension draining away and my quest to see and smell the ocean – after a hiatus in Denver – fulfilled! at last. Besides remembering how much I love and miss the ocean, I also remembered just exactly how perfect the Chilis are in the background in SoCal. Old Chilis though.

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  3. Do you know where I could purchase one of tbe original mother milk posters without tbe rose. My son is a huge RHCP fan and it’s tbe one and only thing he’s asked for ever. He’s reading Anthony’s book at present and I’ve picked it up as well. It is unreal and amazing would make a great movie. If you know how or where I can get one of those posters please email me. My son deserves some good luck he’s been through a lot. Thanks

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  4. I have an original “Sans rose” copy that I got signed by the entire band and framed on my wall. I got it from a guy who worked for EMI Records back in the day, I met him at a concert I was photographing and he noticed a small RHCP button I had on my camera strap, He was put in charge of destroying the original posters and he took a handful home with him, He sent me a copy, which I later had the band sign during their Stadium Arcadium tour. It’s a cool and rare piece.

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