Dates: Between November 1988 - March 1989 for the main bulk of the album. Fire recorded in 1987.
Players: Flea, John Frusciante, Chad Smith, Anthony Kiedis. Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons play on Fire
Additional Performers: Keith Barry (Saxophone), Patrick English (Trumpet), Vicki Calhoun (Backing Vocals), Kristen Vigard (Backing Vocals)
Recorded at: Ocean Way Studios, 6050 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, Image Studios, Los Angeles, CA and Track Record, 5102 Vineland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Produced by: Michael Beinhorn
Engineered by: Michael Beinhorn, Eddie DeLena, Sean Demey, Garth Richardson
Mixed by: Dave Jerden at Royal Recorders, Lake Geneva, WI
Released on: August 16, 1989
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  • Good Time Boys

  • Higher Ground

  • Subway to Venus

  • Magic Johnson

  • Nobody Weird Like Me

  • Knock Me Down

  • Stone Cold Bush

  • Pretty Little Ditty

  • Punk Rock Classic

  • Sexy Mexican Maid

  • Johnny, Kick A Hole In The Sky
    released on the album Mothers Milk

  • Politician
    released on the Higher Ground single.

  • Song That Made Us What We Are Today

  • Salute to Kareem
    released in 2003 on the remastered version of Mother's Milk

  • The Harder They Come
    Jimmy Cliff cover, never finished

  • The Dub Song
    instrumental, never finished

This album wasn't recorded all in one go, and is the result of several different sessions over the course of about six months, which were marked with bouts of infighting between Flea and Anthony. John joined the band in September 1988, but they had already recorded a few tracks with Blackbyrd McKnight, such as Blues for Meister, prior to that.

D. H. Peligro (who was only in the band for three months) actually co-wrote (although doesn't appear to perform on) Stone Cold Bush and Sexy Mexican Maid. John and D.H recorded an early version of Stone Cold Bush in 1988.

Fire is not included here because it was recorded in 1987 with Hillel and Jack - see the Uplift Mofo Party Plan sessions. I'm not sure if it was added to the album as a tribute to Hillel or just to fill space on an already fairly bare album.

Song That Made Us What We Are Today is listed on the 2003 re-release of the album as being a demo, but according to Michael Beinhorn, it was recorded in the studio along with the rest of the album.

Further to this, almost immediately after John joined the band, they recorded several jams at Fleas house. These supposedly resulted in early versions of Pretty Little Ditty and Nobody Weird Like Me. To date they have not surfaced, and are probably long lost.


  • Knock Me Down, Pretty Little Ditty and Sexy Mexican Maid - 2003 re-release extended versions
    In 2003, when EMI remastered and re-released their portion of the RHCP catalog, it became apparent these three songs were edited to become shorter on the album's original release. The full length versions were included as bonus tracks (though Pretty Little Ditty was kept in its original position). There's a chance that more songs were edited down during the sessions, but nothing has been confirmed yet; supposedly seven different songs were edited. Pretty Little Ditty has an extended opening and closing whereas Sexy Mexican Maid and Knock Me Down are extended throughout, including longer instrument breaks and added verses. John mentions in this interview that the editing was done without the bands consent. It also appears that Subway to Venus was edited down; their weird as hell tennis ad seems like it has a different version of that outro playing.

  • Taste the Pain - Say Anything soundtrack
    Extended intro and solo for each band member (instead of just drums)

  • Subway to Venus / Salute to Kareem - Mothers Milk Sessions Tape
    Lacking horn, guitar overdubs.

  • Fire - Fight Like A Brave single/The Abbey Road E.P
    The original appearances of Fire vary slightly as they seem to be a different transfer of the session tape. You can tell which version it is if there's a slight in-balance of the stereo separation a few seconds into the song: this is present on all versions of Fire post Mother's Milk

  • Higher Ground - Greatest Hits
    Remixed much dryer in 2003 for the Greatest Hits compilation. The second guitar part is higher and the drums sound quite different.

More here.


Fairfax High = Magic Johnson
The Power of Equality = Johnny, Kick A Hole In The Sky


Mother's Milk Session Tape
This recording contains early versions of 'Subway to Venus' and 'Salute to Kareem', pre-overdubs. It is sourced from a DAT tape made in 1988 and given to an A&R rep in New York.