Hillel Slovak

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Hillel Slovak

Hillel Slovak (April 13, 1962 – June 25, 1988) was the original guitarist and founder of the funk rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, with whom he recorded the Freaky Styley albums. (1985) and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987). He died on June 25, 1988 due to an overdose of heroin.

Hillel_Slovak’s Biography

Born in Haifa, Israel, at the age of five he emigrated with his family to the United States. In 1977 Hillel began going to the Fairfax High School, along with Jack Irons, Michael Balzary and Anthony Kiedis. Hillel and Jack Irons became best friends through the love they shared towards music; all they did was listen to music. Kiss and Led Zeppelin were his main influences. Jack played the drums and Hillel the electric guitar. Since he was very young, Hillel was struck by the music of Jimi Hendrix, and became his main idol.

He met a Chilean guitarist, Alain Johannes in Fairfax. Hillel had the idea of ​​starting a band with Alain, Jack, his friend Tom Strassman on bass. The band was called Chain Reaction. At the end of the year, Chain Reaction changed its name to Anthym.

Tom Strassman left Anthym in 1979. Slovak, Irons and Johannes thought it would be good if Michael Balzary replaced him. He did not know how to play the bass, but he had the attitude they wanted. Hillel started teaching Balzary how to play the bass, and after only a few months, Michael who changed his name to Mike B The Flea or just Flea, was ready to be with the band. Anthony Kiedis was the number one fan of Anthym and always gave a speech before every concert of Anthym. Anthony and Hillel became best friends.

In 1980 Hillel graduated from Fairfax High, as well as Alain and Jack who decided to go to university, although Anthym would remain united. In 1981 Anthym changed its name to What Is This ?. The owner of a bar, Gary Allen, asked Anthony to do a show with the band. In April, Anthony, Flea, Hillel and Jack debuted in the Rhythm Lounge under the name “Tony Flow And The Miraculously Majestic Masters Of Mayhem”. Their performance was so good that they were asked to play again the following night, and they continued to do so in other clubs.

They decided to change their name to Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 1983 the Red Hot Chili Peppers were offered a contract to record an album with EMI. But Hillel and Jack had signed with the rival record company, with their group What is this ?. Hillel and Jack decided to leave the RHCP and worry about What is this ?. Hillel returned with the RHCP in 1984. He started experimenting with various drugs, and ended up being addicted to heroin.

In 1985 the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded their second album, Freaky Styley, which was produced by funk legend George Clinton. Jack Irons returned with the RHCP for the Freaky Styley tour.

In 1987, the RHCP released their third album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. This was an album with notable guitar solos by Hillel. In April, Hillel’s drug problems became more serious, so Kiedis, Flea and Irons considered the possibility of leaving the band, but finally friendship always prevailed.

At the beginning of 1988 the first compilation of the RHCP was made, The Abbey Road EP.

On June 24, 1988, Hillel called his brother, James, and told him that it was very difficult for him to leave the heroin and, besides, James noticed that Hillel had a hard time talking. A few days later, the band returned from their tour (without Slovak since Hillel himself decided to stay because of his serious condition) and tried to contact him and they could not. On June 27 of that same year, Hillel Slovak was found dead by police in his Hollywood apartment. An autopsy was performed and revealed that Slovak had died two days before being found (on June 25, 1988, one day after the call to his brother) and was due to an overdose of heroin. Slovak had been using this drug for more than 4 years and there were several concerts that he could not perform. This happened while the band was working for their fourth album, which was going to be called Rockin ‘Freakapotamus. The band had already recorded several songs like “Point Boy”, “Blues for Meister”, “Magic Johnson”. The album was never made.

The members of the band reacted differently because of Hillel’s death. Flea, who had not spent much time with Hillel a year prior to his abuse, felt he could have saved his friend. Anthony, who had already taken heroin, took Hillel’s death as a very strong event and subsequently helped him quit the drugs. After this, Anthony decided to go live in Mexico for a while. Jack, who was the one who had more years of knowing Hillel could not handle the fact of having lost it. He had to be hospitalized after having severe nervous breakdowns. His remains are buried in the cemetery “Sinai Memorial Park”, Los Angeles, California, United States.

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