How the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea plays bass

Originally published at:

1 Like

Flea is an awesome musician, but he gets huge chiding from the Bass Guitar God community because “wah wah wah” there are far better and more virtuosic bass players than him who get zero love. But in my opinion, really good music, and this covers most modern genres at least, is not solely about virtuosity, but about collaboration and teamwork.


I would say the structure of most of those gripes is the same as the regular guitar player community. Look at any top XX list of players, and it is dominated more by the popularity of the band than the actual skill of the player, which is to say predicated on the quality of the songwriters of which the player in question may not play a huge role.

I mean… Vic Wooten is even a much better songwriter, works better with other musicians, but his main gig doesn’t have much mass appeal because (mostly) there’s no vocals. And so Rolling Stone’s reader poll puts him at number 10.

Another one, which seems to basically be based off the Rolling Stone list lists Bootsy Collins at 22. Bootsy is not a great bass player–he is just a cool cat who does some cool stuff on his Space Bass. More of a cultural icon than bass player, per se, as his vocals are just as famous as his spacy bass.

The lists which are curated based on the opinions of the writer instead of a voting system are much better, IMO. I love reading the rock and metal oriented, “Best Guitar Solo” lists, because any list that puts the largely unknown Megadeth deep cut, “Tornado of Souls” high up the list is clearly a person who plays well enough to know great playing when they hear it.

Another case in point on popularity: this list of Metal bass players which list Robert Trujillo below Jason Newstead:

Newstead is famous among bassists for (and I am not making this up) not being audible. But he was on deck for Metallica’s most popular albums.


You can’t blame Newsted for that - Hetfield and Ulrich buried his basslines in the mix and had him copy the rhythm guitar parts.


Yeah Yeah. Perhaps unfair. Still my opinion is that I have found Trujillo fundamentally more groovy.

To be fair, it is not the gulf in talent between Flea and Wooten.

1 Like

Indeed. With all the love Flea gets, he ought to give it away, give it away, give it away, now.


Agree with both points.


Accompanying gif image below:

“How the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea plays the ‘Theme from Seinfeld.’”

1 Like

I bet Flea does a mean cover of the intro theme to ‘Charlie Rose’, too…

1 Like



Aah, makes me think back to those wonderful days before RHCP became the world’s foremost RHCP parody band. Back in the late 90s…


7:00 if you want to truly appreciate Flea, find yourself some good speakers,

now he tells us.


Flea is definitely great, without accounting for his checkered past (sexual assault charges, etc).
But seriously, Steve Harris for song writing and playing :metal:t6:

1 Like

Oh bam! You win BBS for the day!

Beautiful alignment of photo and your icon there!

Tina Weymouth.

Byrne may have been the brains of the operation, but Tina carried that band.


BSSM was probably their high point – damned that was a great album! I’ve enjoyed the albums before and since, but I think Anthony’s fakey hip-hop, I’m-so-damaged-girl-sleep-with-me-please lyrics have gotten tedious. This last album has some very decent production which make a whole lot of difference, sadly.

1 Like

Flea’s not bad but I find he doesn’t have enough zazz.

giphy (1)

1 Like

I respect Flea as a musician, but RHCP is one of those bands where I find myself thinking “did I used to really like this stuff?” There are a lot of bands/albums from that era that I still enjoy, and not just out of nostalgia, but RHCP is not one of them.

Geddy Lee is awesome. Interesting fact is that his real name is Gary but his mother’s Polish accent was so thick that his friends though she was calling him “Geddy” and it stuck.

1 Like