8 Former Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Bet you didn’t know that The Red Hot Chili Peppers have had a total of eight known guitarists in their band since forming in 1983.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

While a couple of them didn’t actually appear on any albums, RHCP has had some stellar guitarists in the past- at least one of which might surprise you if you haven’t been keeping up. Check out more about them here.

1. Hillel Slovak

As the very first guitarist to help found and perform in RHCP, Slovak has a special place in the Chili Peppers’ hearts.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: www.flickr.com/photos/65258891@N00/5478104378/


Slovak passed away at age 26, after contributing his unique playing style to RHCP’s early albums. The band has done several tributes to their first guitar player since.

2. Jack Sherman

Jack Sherman performed very, very briefly with RHCP to replace Slovak but helped co-composed songs on both the debut album and Freaky Styley. In 2012, Sherman spoke out against the band for excluding him from their induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Sherman

3. DeWayne McKnight

McKnight’s tenure with RHCP was even briefer than Sherman’s. A master of funk, McKnight is best known for his membership with the Parliament-Funkadelic up until 2008.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeWayne_McKnight

4. John Frusciante

John Frusciante is arguably the best-known guitarist of RHCP. He first joined the band following Slovak’s passing in 1988, but would leave several times to work on his own solo work. He is currently not in the band.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frusciante

Frusciante is so well known because he is featured on some of the band’s most successful albums, most notably the two that put them on the map: Mother’s Milk & Blood Sugar Sex Magik. A one-two punch, if you will. And after returning to the band in 1998, Frusciante helped the band deliver Californication, By The Way, and Stadium Arcadium- three very well received albums that are responsible for RHCP being a fixture in music.

5. Arik Marshall

Another brief one, Marshall performed several shows and in a couple music videos with RHCP after Frusciante left the band for the first time after being disheartened by the band’s massive success. He was passed on to become a permanent replacement.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arik_Marshall

6. Jesse Tobias

Tobias worked with RHCP even briefer than Marshall, and there’s not much to say about his contributions.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: www.redhotchilipeppers.wikia.com

7. Dave Navarro

After Tobias, the band decided to hire Dave Navarro, who had already made a name for himself through Jane’s Addiction.

Red Hot Chili Pepper GuitaristsAfter years of setbacks, the band produced and released One Hot Minute together. Unfortunately, it became clear early on that Navarro wasn’t a right fit for the group as he didn’t like the element of funk in their music as well as wasn’t into jamming like the rest of the group.

8. Josh Klinghoffer

Klinghoffer is the current guitarist for RHCP. He has contributed to two of the band’s most recent albums: I’m With You and soon-to-be-released The Getway.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Guitarists

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Klinghoffer

3 CommentsLeave a comment

    • I love John. He’s my inspiration for guitar and music/life in general. However i’ve always had a soft spot for Josh, i’ve always considered him to be a good guitarist and a chill guy. When the news was released about him leaving, i couldn’t help feeling a tad sad and bad for Josh. He’s a good musician and i know he will do great with whatever project he pursues.

  • I even liked Navaro at some point. at least it was clean cut and exploring other avenues as he had charisma and was the only one out of all 8 who had forged his own successful career outside the Peppers.

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