Hillel Slovak was an American musician and songwriter best known as the founding member and original guitarist of the Los Angeles- based band, Red Hot Chili Peppers. With the band, he released several albums, such as ‘Freaky Styley,’ ‘The Uplift Mofo Party Plan,’ ‘Mother's Milk,’ ‘Out in L.A.’ and ‘What Hits!?’ During his career, Slovak developed a serious heroin addiction. Although he tried to quit the drug several times, he eventually succumbed to his habit, dying of an overdose in 1988 at the young age of 26. After his death, the musician was replaced by the guitarist John Frusciante. Till date, many Red Hot Chili Peppers tracks have been written as tributes to Hillel Slovak; these include ‘Knock Me Down,’ ‘Otherside’, ‘My Lovely Man,’ ‘Feasting on the Flowers’ and ‘Dosed.’ As a member of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late American musician cum songwriter became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 2012, with his brother accepting the honour on his behalf.
At the Fairfax High School where he studied, young Hillel Slovak, along with his friends Todd Strassman and Alain Johannes, formed the band Chain Reaction (later renamed to Anthem and then Anthym). After winning the second place at a local music contest, the band started playing at local nightclubs. Then after changing its name to What Is This?, the band proceeded to perform in several events along the California coast.
After sometime, Slovak and his pals Kiedis and Flea started creating their own music. The three then created the band Tony Flow & the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem with Jack Irons. This band started doing shows and even released its song titled ‘Out in L.A.’ Then after renaming itself to Red Hot Chili Peppers, the band began performing in L.A. clubs.
Since Slovak considered the Peppers to be his side project at that time, he left the band to concentrate on What is This? During the recording of the latter’s second album, he got frustrated with the band and ultimately re-joined the Chili Peppers for their album ‘Freaky Styley’ which got released on August 16, 1985. Later, Slovak helped the band release their third album titled ‘The Uplift Mofo Party Plan’.
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Hillel Slovak was born on April 13, 1962 in Haifa, Israel. He had a brother, James. Slovak attended Laurel Elementary School and later on enrolled at Bancroft Jr. High School. He also studied at Fairfax High School. Slovak had a girlfriend with whom he was in a live-in relationship.
Drug Addiction & Death
Slovak became addicted to heroin early in his career and he often tried to conceal his addiction from family and friends. During a tour, Slovak's health started to deteriorate and he became too weak to perform. Following this, the musician decided to ditch the drugs and begin a new drug-free phase of his life. Unfortunately, Slovak had become too severely addicted and was unable to stop despite his keen desire to stop taking heroin. On June 27, 1988, he was found dead in his Hollywood apartment. After his autopsy, it was concluded that Slovak had died two days earlier due to heroin overdose.