Hillel Slovak

Hillel Slovak (Hebrew: הלל סלובק; April 13, 1962 – June 25, 1988) was an Israeli-American musician best known as the founding guitarist of the Los Angeles rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, with whom he recorded two albums. His guitar work was rooted in funk and hard rock, and he often experimented with other genres including reggae and speed metal. He is considered to have been a major influence on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' early sound.

Hillel Slovak
הלל סלובק
Slovak performing at the Chestnut Cabaret in Philadelphia in 1985
Background information
Also known asSlim, Pick Handle Slim, The Israeli Cowboy, Mr. Huckleberry
Born(1962-04-13)April 13, 1962
Haifa, Israel
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedJune 25, 1988(1988-06-25) (aged 26)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresFunk rock, punk rock, funk metal, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1976–1988
LabelsMCA, EMI
Associated actsRed Hot Chili Peppers, What Is This?, Addie Brik

Born in Haifa, Israel, he moved to Nahariya and later to a Kibbutz before emigrating to the United States with his family in 1967[citation needed]. Slovak met future bandmates Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and Jack Irons while attending Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. There, he formed the group What Is This? with Irons, Alain Johannes and Todd Strassman; Flea later replaced Strassman.

Slovak, Flea, Kiedis, and Irons founded Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983, gaining popularity in Los Angeles through their energetic stage presence and spirited performances. Slovak eventually quit to focus on What is This?, which had been signed to a record deal, leaving the Red Hot Chili Peppers to record their 1984 debut album without him, including five songs co-written by him. He rejoined the Chili Peppers in 1985, and recorded the albums Freaky Styley (1985) and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987) with them.

During his career, Slovak developed a serious heroin addiction. He attempted to quit many times, but died of an overdose on June 25, 1988 at age 26. Several Red Hot Chili Peppers songs have been written as tributes to Slovak, including "Otherside", "Knock Me Down", "My Lovely Man", "This Is the Place", "Dosed" and "Feasting on the Flowers". In 1999, his brother James Slovak published a book, Behind the Sun: The Diary and Art of Hillel Slovak, which features Slovak's diaries and paintings. Slovak was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on April 14, 2012, with his brother accepting the award on his behalf.

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