Alain Johannes digs out another Anthym demo from 1980, featuring pre-Red Hot Chili Peppers Flea, Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons

(Image credit: Alain Johannes/Instagram)

When Alain Johannes unearthed a recording of his high school band Anthym – whose lineup featured Red Hot Chili Peppers founders Flea, Jack Irons and Hillel Slovak – from the bottom of an old cassette box earlier this month, the multi-instrumentalist promised there was “a bunch more” he could share.

Well, Johannes has made good on his word, and released another Anthym demo, which once again features performances from pre-RHCP Flea, Irons and Slovak on the bass guitar, drums and electric guitar, respectively.

However, rather than being unearthed from the bottom of a dusty old cardboard box, this time round the track was instead discovered by Johannes’s “dear friend” Aaron Jacoves – owner of Blast! Music Management – and transferred by Total Annihilation Studios.

Anthym was formed initially as Chain Reaction at Fairfax High School in California with original bassist Todd Strassman. Flea, who played trumpet at the time, was later brought into the fold after Slovak offered to teach him bass, with the band later rebranding themselves as What Is This?

The group would later meet future RHCP frontman Anthony Kiedis at an Anthym gig. The rest, as they say, is history.

Johannes’s newly shared cut – unlike the previously released ‘79-dated Paradox – crops up slightly later down the line in Anthym’s career, and is pinpointed by the band’s vocalist as being from a recording session that took place on March 17, 1980.

The eight-track reel-to-reel demo, titled Forever Love, was originally recorded at Music Box Studios by Edward Perry, and adopts a sonic direction that is significantly different from Anthym’s first effort.

Rather than relying on gain-heavy riffs and a Sabbath-esque mood, Forever Love features a far more open aura that leans heavily towards a Rush- and Alex Lifeson-inspired direction.

In terms of instrumentation, the four-piece conjure up some sublime soundscapes, with chime-y chord strums, an extended melodic solo section and a high-octane finale that pairs Irons’s energetic drums with some marvelous fretboard work.

As was the case with the first track, the band are remarkably tight – which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the session features a number of instrumentalists who would one day go on to become some of the most influential musicians in music history.

Something tells us that, now the floodgates are open, we should be expecting even more Anthym songs cropping up in the near future. Given the quality of the first two efforts, it’s a prospect we're certainly excited about.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.