Jan 22, 2023
By Frank Valish
Hamish Duncan’s Out in L.A. examines the genesis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers through the chronicling the band’s first 30 shows, from December 16, 1982 to November 23, 1983. This conceit, however, merely provides the organizing principle which Duncan uses to dive deep into the band’s beginnings. The chapters largely correspond to the date of each of these first shows, but this book is no simple live database. Duncan’s scholarship in finding out what really happened in the first couple of years of RHCP’s existence is most impressive. He has clearly scoured all available source material and dug through the obscurest recesses of the early ’80s Los Angeles music scene. Myths are debunked. Misconceptions are corrected. And even band members’ own recollections, be they through published interviews or their own memoirs are disproven where Duncan finds them at odds with the facts. Duncan is the founder of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Sessions Archive website (rhcpsessions.com) and an editor of the band’s live archive (rhcplivearchive.com), and it’s a pleasure to read an investigation by someone so dedicated. Context is abundant as well, and the early ’80s L.A. scene comes alive in his text. Even if you are not a super fan of RHCP, Duncan’s expose will fascinate in its detail, description, and fact-finding. (www.chicagoreviewpress.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
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