Former guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers Jack Sherman has died at the age of 64 according to CNN. The cause of his death has not been released at this time. While he only played on one of funk-rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, their self-titled debut and co-wrote the songs on their sophomore release Freaky Styley, he held the band together for a year while founding guitarist Hillel Slovak left the band to focus on his band with Alain Johannes, What Is This?. He did briefly reunite with the band for 1988’s Mother’s Milk, providing backing vocals on “Higher Ground” and “Good Time Boys.”
The news was announced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on social media, with the band leaving this note along with a photo of Sherman with his bandmates: “We of the RHCP family would like to wish Jack Sherman smooth sailing into the worlds beyond, for he has passed. Jack played on our debut album as well as our first tour of the USA. He was a unique dude and we thank him for all times good, bad and in between. Peace on the boogie platform.”
View this post on Instagram
We of the RHCP family would like to wish Jack Sherman smooth sailing into the worlds beyond, for he has passed. Jack played on our debut album as well as our first tour of the USA. He was a unique dude and we thank him for all times good, bad and in between. Peace on the boogie platform.
While Sherman played an integral role in allowing the band to continue to capitalize on their notoriety in Los Angeles in their early days, he wasn’t invited to participate in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction along with the rest of the band in 2012 – Dave Navarro was also not invited to the event. Though the Rock Hall Foundation CEO said at the time it was “made by the Hall of Fame and our advisors,” Sherman told Billboard in an interview he felt it was the “politically correct way of omitting Dave Navarro and I for whatever reasons they have that are probably the band’s and not the Hall’s.”
“It’s not a decision made by the band, it’s a decision made by the Hall of Fame,” Eric Greenspan, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lawyer in the same article from Billboard, “They determine which of the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, through their career, will get inducted.”
Before joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sherman played with pop singer Toni Childs in a band called The Movers. It also featured future Bangles member Micki Steele, and while they played shows in the LA area they never released an album. He also played with John Hiatt and did session work for Bob Dylan.
While he left the Red Hot Chili Peppers well before they became the world-famous modern rock stars they are today, his impact on the band is undeniable. The Billboard interview from 2012 concludes with a quote from frontman Anthony Kiedis’s autobiography: “God bless Jack, he did keep the band afloat for a year, and if he hadn’t, the years to follow probably wouldn’t have.”