Why Anthony Kiedis Didn't Like The Red Hot Chili Peppers Opening Up For The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are both iconic rock bands, albeit of different eras. Both performed a Super Bowl halftime show, have charismatic lead singers, and three Grammys each (per Grammys). The Rolling Stones rose to fame alongside bands like the Beatles, Herman's Hermits, and The Who in the 1960s during the so-called British invasion. Their rebellious lyrics and attitudes made them symbols of the decade, with their tongue logo still appearing on anything from T-shirts to posters. As of 2022, the band has no plans to retire and continues to tour around the world.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers began landing songs on the Billboard Hot 100 in the early 1990s. In 2022, they reached the top 100 for the 15th time. However, despite becoming headliners, they were once only an opening act. Lead singer Anthony Kiedis once shed light on what it was like to be the opening act for a band as famous as the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones have enjoyed decades of popularity

In the mid-1990s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers opened a few shows for the Rolling Stones. When speaking to Interview Magazine, Anthony Kiedis acknowledged the impact that the Rolling Stones had on music, but admitted that being their opening act "isn't a great job." He explained that the stage and accompanying mechanics were tailored to the Stones rather than the Chili Peppers. The audience was also clearly attending the concert for the Rolling Stones and did not seem to take interest in whatever band opened each show. "You're pouring your heart into this performance you believe in and people are kind of waiting around to hear "Jumpin' Jack Flash." So, no fault of The Rolling Stones ... the audience just wasn't there for us."

Kiedis' comments highlight the massive fanbase that the Rolling Stones has maintained since the 1960s. Between physical albums, digital downloads, and streams, the band boasts around 237 million in album sales. The most popular of these are "Some Girls" and "Sticky Fingers" (per Chart Masters).

Anthony Kiedis grew to love the Rolling Stones' music

Despite the negative experience that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had when opening for the Rolling Stones on tour, Anthony Kiedis eventually grew to love their music. "I have really loved discovering the history of them and how incredibly meaningful they were to the world, and still are in a really bizarre way," he told Interview Magazine.

The experience of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is not to suggest that an opening act cannot have their moment in the spotlight even while still being an opening act. Some acts have been known to greatly improve their resumes by being openers or even come close to overshadowing their headliners. When Guns N Roses opened for a 1988 Aerosmith tour, their album "Appetite for Destruction" was simultaneously seeing significant sales. The Clash Opened for The Who in 1982, which allowed them to play Shea Stadium. Joe Strummer of The Clash referred to the Shea Stadium show as one of their "career opportunities" (per Rolling Stone).