Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis Still Misses Guitarist Hillel Slovak, But Also Misses The Drugs That Killed His Friend

Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis has mixed feelings about quitting drugs all those years ago. Though it has been many years, he still recalls the feeling and he recognizes that heroin changed him forever in a way he can never take back, and probably would not want to. The drugs, though in the past, changed who he is as a person. Unfortunately, Hillel was not so fortunate to be able to look back and reflect.

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ founding guitarist Hillel Slovak died 28 years ago, on June 25, 1988, at the age of 26, but he is still mourned by Kiedis. Though Slovak, an Israeli-born American rock musician, tried many, many times to quit his heroin habit, the drug took his life in a Hollywood apartment after a tremendously successful tour. Anthony expressed his sorrow to YLE.

“I miss [Hillel Slovak] still… the tour had gone well, and it left him a beautiful memory.”

Anthony Kiedis told YLE that one of the last shows was in Finland, so the interviewer walked into an introspective and melancholy interview with Kiedis, as Red Hot Chili Peppers prepared for yet another Finnish performance, one of the last places he saw his friend. Kiedis opened up about how his own drug habits had left him.

“[Drugs are] definitely part of the psyche. I have been straight or a long time, but still the drugs are a part of my life.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis explained that he found it easier to stay straight when he is on tour. He has to stay focused on his surroundings and prepare for shows. It gets harder at home, alone and in isolation. Free time is his worst enemy, and being alone is even more difficult. He must be really careful not to slip back into his old heroin habit.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea by Kevin Winter c
Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

Even after Hillel Slovak’s death, Kiedis would continue using heroin for many years. Still, he is clean now, and trying hard to stay that way. Though he misses that feeling, he is quick to say that the drug is deadly dangerous and that people should never try it, upon the risk of death.

“We do not realize how deadly certain drugs can be. In some cases, one trial is enough.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers never forgot Hillel Slovak. The songs “Otherside,” “Knock Me Down,” My Lovely Man,” and “Feasting On The Flowers” were all written in tribute to Slovak. The tragedy of his loss shook them to the core, but like so many other drug users, it didn’t change their own habits at the time.

Red Hot Chili Peppers by Chung Sung-Jun c
Red Hot Chili Peppers [Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]

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Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis was not alone; rock music in those times was very associated with drug abuse. Heroin and cocaine, as well as many other drugs, were common during the 1960s through 1980s, especially among rockers, from the most famous Hollywood legends to the circuit musicians who traveled from one bar to another across dozens of states.

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis no longer uses. Heroin abuse is on the rise again, after years of waxing in the background. Some say its prominence is due to the Ritalin prescriptions given so freely to children during the 1980s and 1990s. Others say it is the hard economic times that have brought the drug back. Either way, Kiedis makes a good point. Just a one-time use can leave someone addicted or dead. It’s nothing to play with.

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis is still wrestling with the dragon that killed his friend Hillel Slovak, and he urges fans to stay away from heroin.

[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]