Created in the 1980s by high school friends Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovak, and Michael Balzary, the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) established themselves as one of the most original and innovative bands over the course of the next several decades, both in terms of their sound and performances. The band fused elements of punk and funk rock into its early albums. Its early sound was influenced by groups and solo artists including Defunkt, The Misfits, Parliament-Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Marley. In later years, RHCP’s style and lyrics matured to reflect more of a commercial, alternative rock sound. The following five bands share similarities with RHCP in terms of sound and appeal.
Created by Dave Grohl in 1994, Foo Fighters have since become among the most successful and recognizable modern rock bands. Grohl, who played all of the instruments on the band’s demo tape, now functions solely as lead guitar and vocals. Other band members have included Pat Smear (guitarist), Nate Mendel (bassist), and Taylor Hawkins (drummer). Since its inception, Foo Fighters have produced 10 albums, five of which exceeded 1 million in sales in the US. Its 10th album, Medicine at Midnight, was released in February 2021.
The rock band’s most successful albums include One By One (2002), In Your Honor (2005), and The Color and the Shape (1997), the latter of which included the singles “Monkey Wrench,” “Everlong,” and “My Hero.” Foo Fighters toured with RHCP in 2000.
Before he put together Foo Fighters, Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana, a popular grunge-rock band during the late 1980s and early 1990s from Seattle, Washington. In fact, along with Pearl Jam, Nirvana is credited with creating the grunge style that became popular following the heavy metal-hard rock sound of the 1980s. In 2019, Rolling Stone listed Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991) album as the greatest grunge album of all-time. The second of its three studio albums, Nevermind sold in excess of 10 million copies in the US.
Because of its overall impact on music in the 1990s, Nirvana is considered one of the most influential bands of all-time and remains relevant despite the passing of lead singer Kurt Cobain in 1994.
Queens of the Stone Age
Led by frontman Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) has featured a revolving door of well-known bandmates including Troy Van Leeuwen and Matt Cameron, better known for their work with A Perfect Circle and Soundgarden, respectively. Grohl even played drums with the rock band for the Songs for the Deaf album. Considered an alternative rock band, QOTSA was created in 1997 and has since produced eight studio albums as well as notable singles like “No One Knows” and “Go With the Flow.” Its most recent album, Villains, was released in 2017. The band opened for RHCP during its 2003 North American tour.
Muse is another popular band that not only toured with RHCP but was inspired by the California band. Consisting of lead singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme, and drummer Dominic Howard, the English rock band opened for RHCP during shows as part of the band’s Californication tour in 1999 and 2000. Members of the band have since stated that they watched RHCP perform every night during this tour and learned how to be less introverted on stage. In 2004, Bellamy said RHCP was one of the top two musical acts in the world.
Since its inception in 1994, Muse has released eight studio albums and has won a multitude of awards, including five MTV Europe Music Awards and two Grammy Awards. The band’s sound is best described as alternative rock or space rock and incorporates elements from genres such as progressive metal, electronic music, and classical.
Primus also opened for RHCP on its Californication tour. Known for their experimental sound and the convoluted bass patterns of bassist and vocalist Les Claypool, Primus’ sound is similar to early RHCP but without the infusion of funk. Rather, the group is more punk with elements of humor in its lyrics, as well as song and album titles.
Select albums include Sailing the Seas of Cheese, Tales from the Punchbowl, and Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble. Similarly, the band’s song catalogue features titles such as “Tommy the Cat,” “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” and “Shake Hands with Beef.” Primus never enjoyed as much commercial success as RHCP, but three of its albums reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200.