After months of rumors, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have switched management, signing with Guy Oseary after more than 20 years with Q Prime. Oseary is a founder of Maverick, the collective of managers launched in 2014, and represents Madonna and U2. In May 2020, Oseary announced he was stepping down from the day-to-day running of Maverick and segueing to a consulting role with Live Nation through 2023 while still concentrating on his entrepreneurial and investment interests. The Chili Peppers left Q Prime last fall; although rumors were rife that Oseary was taking the helm, official word did not come down until this week when Hits reported the news.
Oseary’s relationship with the band has long been close, particularly with frontman Anthony Kiedis, who stood at Oseary’s side at his 2017 vow renewal ceremony to wife Michelle Alves in Rio de Janeiro in 2017. In the time Oseary has managed U2, being handed the reins in 2013 after the band’s 35-year relationship with “fifth member” Paul McGuinness, the group has notched multiple touring milestones, most recently its Joshua Tree tour which stretched from 2017 to 2019 and grossed nearly $400 million playing stadiums all over the world, according to live entertainment trade Pollstar, which named the band the top touring artist of the 2010s.
The Chili Peppers, meanwhile, have become a reliable touring act of their own and a radio staple for decades. Formed in Los Angeles in 1983 by Kiedis and Australian-born bassist Flea (Michael Balzary), the group forged a pioneering fusion of funk and punk — their breakthrough second album, “Freaky Styley,” was produced by Parliament-Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton — but were nearly destroyed by drug abuse; guitarist Hillel Slovak died from a drug overdose in 1988. However, Kiedis and Flea pulled themselves together, stabilizing around a lineup featuring drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante, and re-emerged with 1989’s “Mother’s Milk.”
But the group’s true breakthrough came when it united with producer Rick Rubin for 1991’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” which spawned hit singles and videos with “Give It Away” and the ballad “Under the Bridge.” The group went on to become one of the biggest acts of the 1990s, although discord struck again when Frusciante left at the peak of their success; he was replaced by Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro for an album before returning (and he left again in 2008, and returned again 11 years later).
Despite the instability in the guitarist category, the group has been tight and stable, releasing an album and touring every few years — and in the process became a top-grossing road act. While their juvenile image is incongruous for men in their 50s, the Chili Peppers remain a popular and musically potent act who seem likely to have another decade or two of touring in them, once pandemic restrictions lift.