Flea pens touching tribute to late Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Jack Sherman

Jack Sherman, who played electric guitar on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ self-titled debut album, passed away in August at the age of 64. Now the band’s bassist, Flea, has penned a tribute to his former band mate and friend on his Instagram page.

“It has taken me a couple of weeks to process the death of Jack Sherman,” Flea began. “Our relationship was complicated, we stopped playing music together in 1985 and things were often fraught in the rare times we communicated since. I found him to be unreasonable sometimes, and I’m sure I behaved like an obnoxious asshole with him sometimes. This morning, in pondering him, a wave of appreciation washed over me, which is really the only truth of the matter.”

Flea continued, “When I first went to his house he had a ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE flag on his bedroom wall, and he played me funk I had never heard, like March to the Witches Castle. He was beaming with glee when he played it, and we were enrapt in the mythology of the funk like a couple of little kids.”

Sherman joined the Chili Peppers in 1983, replacing founding guitarist Hillel Slovak, who had left to focus on his other band What Is This?

He played guitar on the band’s 1984 self-titled debut, co-writing several tracks as well.

During the intense touring that followed, frontman Anthony Kiedis and Sherman frequently came to blows, leading to Sherman’s departure in February 1985.

Nevertheless, Sherman remained in the band’s orbit for several years after. He has writing credits on numerous songs on the band’s 1985 record, Freaky Styley, and contributed backing vocals to Good Time Boys and Higher Ground from 1989’s Mother’s Milk.

Following his exit from the Chili Peppers, Sherman contributed to albums from George Clinton, Bob Dylan and the Undertones’ Feargal Sharkey.

Regarding Sherman’s work with the Chili Peppers, Flea recalled, “He played the most wicked guitar part on our song Mommy Where’s Daddy, a thing that influenced the way I heard rhythm forever.”

Finally, Flea wrote, “He taught me about diet, to eat clean and be conscious of my body. But more than anything, he was my friend. We came from very different backgrounds, had different world views, and it was hard for us to relate to one another often. But the excitement we shared over music, and the joy that bubbled up between us will last forever. Rest In Peace Sherm I love you.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.