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Jack Sherman, Former Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist, Dead at 64

Jack Sherman, one-time guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers who played on the band’s debut album, has died at the age of 64, the band confirmed Friday. No cause of death was provided.

“We of the RHCP family would like to wish Jack Sherman smooth sailing into the worlds beyond, for he has passed,” the band wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Sherman’s tenure in Red Hot Chili Peppers lasted just over one year beginning in December 1983, with the guitarist — who replaced founding member Hillel Slovak — playing on the band’s self-titled debut album. Sherman also co-wrote much of the material on the band’s second LP Freaky Styley, but when Slovak rejoined in early 1985 prior to recording that album, the Chili Peppers – amid rising tensions – parted ways with Sherman.

Soon after, Sherman was among the army of guitarists recruited for Bob Dylan’s 1986 album Knocked Out Loaded, appearing in the credits alongside Tom Petty, Ronnie Wood, David A. Stewart and Mike Campbell.

Sherman would make one more return to the Chili Peppers, providing background vocals on a pair of tracks off their 1989 album Mother’s Milk, including the group’s hit cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”

Despite Sherman’s brief but indispensable tenure in the Chili Peppers — Anthony Kiedis credited him with helping to keep the group “afloat” following Slovak’s exit, the singer wrote in his memoir — the guitarist was not among the band members inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

“It’s really painful to see all this celebrating going on and be excluded,” Sherman told Billboard at the time. “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. I’m being dishonored, and it sucks.”

Late Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, who produced the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ debut album, added of Sherman in 2012, “I do find him to be significant to the band’s history, very much part of getting the funk guitar in there.”

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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.

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