The Story Behind the Red Hot Chili Peppers Logo

Many of the most famous band logos are extremely simple, and that is certainly the case for the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo. In addition to being simple, the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo is also meaningless. Or at least it was meaningless at the time of its inception. Now, of course, it has come to represent one of the most well-known bands in the entire world, but back in 1984 when the logo was designed nobody really knew who they were.

The story goes that while the band was preparing to release their self-titled debut album, the Enigma Records / EMI representative asked them for a logo to include with the promotional materials. And so frontman Anthony Keidis sat down and drew a random sketch of an asterisk and sent it over to the label rep, and thus one of the most prominent symbols in rock history was born.

As the Red Hot Chili Peppers continued to grow into the stadium rock powerhouse that they have become today, the random doodle drawn by Anthony Keidis has taken on a meaning that is simply symbolic of the band. When you see that red asterisk, you instantly think of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Even if Keidis initially thought the symbol was meaningless, today both he and John Frusciante have the symbol tattooed on their right wrists. So obviously it means something to him today, and to many other people around the world who have followed suit and gotten the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo tattooed on their wrist and many other parts of their bodies in many different forms.

Anthony Kiedis speaking. Note the asterisk tattoo on his wrist.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers logo has also been connected with the Symbol of Chaos, also known as the Star of Affinity. While the two symbols do bear some resemblance, and the somewhat chaotic nature of the music and personalities of the Chili Peppers do seem to fit, the symbol was not intentionally designed to represent chaos. However, in Anthony Kiedis’ 2004 memoir, Scar Tissue, he offers the revelation that the logo is “actually an angel in heaven’s asshole”, if you’re looking at it from down below on Earth. What he’s saying, really, is that he, John Frusciante, and many Red Hot Chili Peppers fans have an angel’s butthole tattooed on their bodies.

Some fans have also connected the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo to the famous asterisk butthole drawing that Kurt Vonnegut used in some of his works of fiction, including for the first time in Breakfast of Champions (1973). While RCHP bass player Flea is a known fan of Vonnegut’s writing, Anthony Kiedis is the one who drew the symbol, so this connection is merely a coincidence.

An excerpt from Vonnegut’s 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions, showing the famous asshole doodle.
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