10 to Spin | Various Hands (Red Hot Chili Peppers / An Under Cover Weekend Edition)

An Under Cover Weekend needs no introduction in certain St. Louis circles. The wildly successful Friday-Saturday showcase has a very simple formula: local bands, who otherwise would be playing their original material, dedicate an evening to covering one of their favorite bands.

This year, the eighth version of AUCW, features a stacked lineup including St. Louis’ Various Hands, led by Jeff Nations, who will be performing as Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday at The Firebird.

Various Hands recently released a terrific EP called Hypoluxo. Let’s have a listen to “Memphis Decisions (Be Cool)” now.

For their Under Cover Weekend set on Saturday, Various Hands will welcome Greg Clark (of cover bands Queens Blvd and Big Rigs), who will be filling in for regular guitarist, Zach Meier, and Brian Lindsey, who will be filling in for regular drummer, Ben Pitts.

We’re excited to have Various Hands take part in our 10 to Spin series, which, you guessed it, is centered around Red Hot Chili Peppers. They’ve titled it Psychotic AND Sexy: Various Hands’ 10 Favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers Tunes, and it’s ready to roll below.

Jeff Nations:
“The Power Of Equality” (from Blood Sugar Sex Magik, 1991)

Blood Sugar Sex Magik was the first album that ever technically belonged to me. My parents bought it for me in ’92 when I was 7 or 8 years old because A) All I wanted to listen to was “Under The Bridge” and B) I guess they really weren’t aware yet that all of Chili Peppers’ songs were just dripping with blatant sexuality. It wasn’t until early high school that I actually put this album in and listened to it in its entirety and this song alone makes me regret that I didn’t do it earlier. I don’t think there’s another song in RHCP’s catalog where Anthony Kiedis sounds as passionate about what he is singing as he does in this one. I believe that he believes every word he is spitting. It’s the perfect blend of aggression and funk. Plus, ya know, that bassline…

“Especially In Michigan” (from Stadium Arcadium, 2006)

Stadium Arcadium is a great album, all around. It’s the album that really made me fall in love with John Frusciante as a vocalist and made me realize that there is so much more to him than just his insanely gorgeous guitar playing. With all the outstanding cuts on this record, this is the one I always find myself belting at the top of my lungs every time I play this album. I think the vocal melody (especially in the chorus) is what has me hooked but it also has this great buildup throughout the verses and it culminates with the chorus line, “Lions and tigers come running just to steal your luck”. I get aroused just thinking about it…

“Nobody Weird Like Me” (from Mother’s Milk, 1989)

Somehow, this song avoided my RHCP radar until I heard them play it at Scottrade Center in St. Louis in 2007. From the moment Flea launched into the opening bassline I thought my head was literally going to explode. This tune is about as intense and frantic as it gets. That’s all that really needs to be said.

“Save The Population” (from Greatest Hits, 2003)

While it’s Chad Smith and Flea who drive most of this song, it’s Frusciante who really shines on this track. This is some of John’s finest work, both guitar-wise and vocal-wise. All the lead stuff he is doing compliments Flea’s busy bassline perfectly and his background vocals help build the dynamics of the song so well. The last 57 seconds of “Save The Population” are what really sell this song for me, though. The way Kiedis and Frusciante bounce off of one another’s vocals in addition to the actual harmony they are doing…Then everything drops out but the vocals and two guitars and you really get to focus on and appreciate their voices, especially John’s which dominates that part. I get goosebumps every time I listen to that section.

Adam Wirth:
“Fight Like A Brave” (from The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, 1987)

The song “Fight Like A Brave” has always stood out to me as one of the most important songs from the Slovak era of RHCP because it helped form the bridge that Kiedis needed to start writing lyrics that held deeper meaning and let the listener feel like he was showing his hidden track marks, if you’ll excuse the expression. It was a song he wrote on a flight after heading home to join his band again after a month-long stay at rehab. He finally was starting to come to terms with the fact that the best way for him to deal with his drug use was to put it into the most powerful thing he knew how to do which was make it a lyric. Although the song still has that hard-funk feel that most people remember from the early days, it finally gives people a look into Anthony’s vulnerability and was the start of what I think most people would agree was a perfect blend of Kiedis’ writing talents and Frusciante’s ability to match it with instrumentation.

“By The Way” (from By The Way, 2002)

I love “By The Way” for its strong vocals and the energetic driving chord structure. “By The Way” is a good example of Kiedis opening up into his higher vocal register. As a trained vocalist myself, I appreciate him exploring that part of his voice and trying something other than the nearly-rapping style he used to use before. He still uses that style in the song, but he makes a point to actually sing, as well.

“Road Trippin’” (from Californication, 1999)

“Road Trippin’” is a good example of the band’s versatility. It shows that they can branch away from their macho persona and image while tapping into a completely different style of music.

“Snow ((Hey Oh))” (from Stadium Arcadium, 2006)

I love listening to “Snow” because I just really love the guitar riff. Frusciante really just opens up his abilities to the listener and makes everyone just sigh, “This guy is unstoppable on that damn guitar.” It’s also just a classic sounding Chili Peppers song as far as the rest of the group goes and I appreciate them staying true to their sound.

Greg Clark:
“Blood Sugar Sex Magik” (from Blood Sugar Sex Magik , 1991)

As a guitar player myself, I am a big fan of John Frusciante. Typically, guitar lines are what attract me to any particular piece of music. With that being said, Chad Smith and his drum track on “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” are the exception to that rule. He goes from driving the song with that recognizable back-beat in the intro and verses to sitting perfectly in the pocket and complimenting the tune in the choruses, while implementing some of the most powerful fills known to mankind. God bless you, Chad Smith.

“Higher Ground” (from Mother’s Milk, 1989)

We all know that it is not often that a cover is better than the original, especially when we’re talking Stevie Wonder. But somehow, RHCP, in their early stages, were able to accomplish such a feat. “Higher Ground” shares a similar funkiness with its predecessor, while keeping with the Chili Peppers’ rock and punk influence. And I guess Flea’s slap intro is pretty ok…

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