Early Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Jack Sherman died at age 64 on August 18th, according to CNN. His passing was noted by his former bandmates, who posted on Instagram, “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.” No cause of death was announced.
Sherman, who was the band's second guitarist, replacing Hillel Slovak, performed on the band's 1984 self-titled debut, and co-wrote material and contributed to the following year's Freaky Styley — with Slovak returning before the album's release. Despite being edged out of the band, Sherman went on to perform backing vocals on such future Chili Peppers projects as 1988's The Abbey Road E.P. and 1989's Mother's Milk album. Over the course of his career, Sherman recorded with the like of Bob Dylan, George Clinton, Feargal Sharkey, and Peter Case.
In Anthony Kiedis' 2004 memoir, Scar Tissue, he said of Sherman: “God bless Jack, he did keep the band afloat for a year, and if he hadn't, the years to follow probably wouldn't have.”
Despite the importance of his time in the band, Jack Sherman was not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of his bandmates back in 2012. In addition to Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, then-current guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, former members John Frusciante, drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez, along with late-guitarist Hillel Slovak saw induction.
Jack Sherman spoke about his disappointment, telling Billboard at the time: “It's really painful to see all this celebrating going on and be excluded. I'm not claiming that I've brought anything other to the band. . . but to have soldiered on under arduous conditions to try to make the thing work, and I think that's what you do in a job, looking back. And that's been dishonored.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea spoke with us a while back about the band's early days making their bones in L.A.: “Y'know, when the band first started, it was this wild energy that we couldn't control. It was just like bursting through us, y'know? We couldn't even control it, it was like it just had to happen. It was like there wasn't any choice in the matter. We just had to do it, and it just gave birth to this thing that has lasted all this time.”