Jack Sherman, the guitarist who joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for their debut album and contributed as a writer to much of the followup, has died at age 64.
“We of the RHCP family would like to wish Jack Sherman smooth sailing into the worlds beyond, for he has passed,” the group said on its Instagram page “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.”
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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.
Sherman’s stint in the band was not a long-lasting or peaceful one. He replaced on-again, off-again guitarist Hillel Slovak in time to play on their 1983 debut and co-wrote much of the follow-up, “Freaky Styley,” released in 1985. However, by the time that album came out, Sherman was out of the group and Slovak was back in, for one of many stints to come. Sherman was nonetheless heard in lesser roles on two more Chili Peppers albums, “Mother’s Milk” and “The Abbey Road EP.” “I tried to bring in colors and flavors that they now use all the time back then and was shouted down violently,” he told interviewer Gidan Razorblade. “Still, the fast, punkish stuff was fun, too.”
Although many fans and associates considered Sherman’s contributions seminal and essential, Sherman was not among those named for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors when the group was inducted eight years ago. He was unhappy about being left out by the hall and blamed the band for influencing the decision to leave him and Dave Navarro out. “I’m being dishonored, and it sucks,” he told Billboard in 2012.
After leaving the Chili Peppers, Sherman found himself in demand as a session player in the late ’80s and early ’90s, taking a lead role on Tonio K.’s critically hailed “Notes from the Lost Civilization” and Peter Case’s “The Man With the Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar.” He also played on Bob Dylan’s “They Killed Him,” from the “Knocked Out Loaded” album (the only released song from several recording sessions he did with Dylan), and George Clinton’s “Cool Joe,” from “R&B Skeletons in the Closet,” as well as an album by Feargal Sharkey. He considered the album “Soundtrack of My Life” — produced by Steven Soles, as was the Peter Case album — to be “my best work in the studio.”
From the mid-’90s to 2001, Sherman was in a little-known band with drummer Gary Mallaber and singer Maria Sebastian called In From The Cold. In 2003, he and his wife moved to Savannah, Georgia, where he mostly played and recorded with local artists.
In the Chili Peppers, Sherman was tight with Cliff Martinez, their drummer from 1983-86, and described him as “one of my very closest friends” in a 2011 interview with the Venice Queen website. He said the other members had not remained in touch and added, “Being in the Chili Peppers was more about survival as they were hostile towards me a lot of the time.” Although Sherman made no secret of the acrimony between him and some of the members, he remained proud of his stint with the band. “My son loves the Chili Peppers (and not because I used to be in the band),” he said. “The other day he was playing the first album (the one I am on) and I thought, ‘Hey, that’s cool’ … and that it sounded pretty good!”
“I like to think of myself as a person who ‘plays for the song’,” he told Venice Queen. “I like the social aspect of making music. I think the bands that have been REAL BANDS have lasted the longest.”
No cause of death has been cited.