Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band familiar to millions, and by extension, so is their logo. But how does a band acquire such an iconic visual representation of their brand?
Today we’re taking a look at one of the most often seen and most rarely discussed visual elements of RHCP’s colorful arsenal, their logo. Kindergarten doodle or marketing work of art? I can’t quite decide. But, hopefully, you can after reading more about how the band’s logo came to be.
What is the meaning of the Red Hot Chili Peppers logo?
The Red Hot Chili Peppers logo? You’ve seen it, and, probably, you’ve also worn it. Sadly, nobody tracks merchandise sales across the band’s career just yet.
But if they did, RHCP, a band that has sold over 120 million albums worldwide, would’ve likely sold hundreds of millions of pieces of merch bearing their famous logo.
But what’s it all mean?
Well, when it was designed, it likely meant… nothing. Its potential significance blossomed in time.
What it did do, however, is offer the unknown band a visual representation at the start of their careers, back in 1984 when the logo was designed.
How the RHCP came to be
After beginning work on their debut album, an Enigma Records/EMI label representative approached the band to develop promotional materials incorporating a logo, they could use. Faced with the pressure to come up with something good, the band opted to come up with something quickly.
Frontman Anthony Keidis channeled his artistic spirit by creating an abstract drawing depicting a celestial starburst. Exhilarated, he sent this unplanned masterpiece to their label representative. And that’s how you create an iconic rock ‘n’ roll symbol forever in musical history—one of life’s funny accidents.
As Red Hot Chili Peppers rose to fame as stadium rock stars, creating a wealth of hit rock songs in the meantime, Keidis’ sketch embodied the band’s essence. Seeing that funny red asterisk instantly brings to mind thoughts of RHCP or of asterisks in hard-to-read books if you’re so inclined.
The logo’s nicknames
Although Keidis initially saw this symbol as just a playful joke. However, now he and John Frusciante now wear it permanently on their right wrists in the form of fashionable tattoos. Furthermore, this asterisk-shaped tattoo proved popular with RHCP fans across the world, and tattoo artists couldn’t be happier.
Fans, ever the astute observers, have noted striking parallels between the logo and Michael Moorcock’s mysterious “Star of Affinity.” This was first designed back in 1970. Moorcock’s symbol is an interpretation of chaos. it begins with four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West). It expands outward with four additional arrows representing endless choices and life possibilities.
Kurt Vonnegut used a similar symbol in his famous comedic novel, “Breakfast of Champions.” To him, this image wasn’t simply an asterisk but an attack on maturity itself. Vonnegut called it a “picture of an asshole.”
Kiedis shared a similar revelation in his 2004 memoir “Scar Tissue.” He revealed that the logo wasn’t an asterisk either. Instead, it represented “an angel’s posterior,” seen from Earth below.
With time, its meaning has evolved considerably. It’s resonated not just with Kiedis himself. Numerous individuals worldwide have tattooed the Red Hot Chili Peppers emblem onto their wrists or various parts of their bodies as an affirmation.
But just because it’s simple to draw doesn’t mean your company can use it. Recently, Back-Lite Clothing Company of Florida was embroiled in an 11 million legal dispute for creating a jacket that bore RHCP’s logo. The lesson here: Trademark everything, kids!