Watch Red Hot Chili Peppers cover Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit with John Frusciante on lead vocals

Flea (L) and John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the ACL Music festival 2022 at Zilker Park on October 09, 2022 in Austin, Texas.
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic)

Red Hot Chili Peppers covered Nirvana classic Smells Like Teen Spirit during a show at Silverlake Conservatory of Music this weekend (October 29).

Fan footage shows the band launch into the track’s verse – John Frusciante’s Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble handling Kurt Cobain’s Small Clone warble – with Anthony Kiedis tackling the track’s lower-register verse (with a t-shirt over his head, obviously). But the rendition really erupts when Frusciante kicks in the Boss DS-2 Distortion and takes over lead vocals for the chorus, screaming the refrain that lit a fire under ’90s rock.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.