In 1984, I was 12 years old. Up to this point, my exposure to music was mostly records my father left behind. It consisted heavily of folk rock stuff like Jim Croce and Kansas. But at around 10 years old I started hearing hip-hop and RnB. Back then, hip-hop wasn't readily available apart from two shows that aired on the weekend - Red Alert on Kiss FM and Mr. Magic's Rap Attack on WBLS. At some point, and I'll never remember when, the mix tape became the best way to hear new hip-hop.
Around this same time, I was also starting to really get exposure to what, back then, would be called alternative music through the legendary radio station WLIR. Bands that had little to no chance of being played on commercial radio were given airtime by a dedicated young group of DJs who had the absolute most incredible radar for great new acts. Through WLIR and through the community of people in the world of skateboarding, my musical education exploded. In and amongst this, I heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the first time. In particular, I saw a video for True Men Don't Kill Coyotes.
I don't remember where I even saw the video, as I don't think MTV was playing their music yet. Something about what they were doing sonically made sense to me — at the time I didn't know why and didn't care, I just loved the way it moved. I've come to realize that I've often gravitated to music with great bass lines, which by now everyone knows is a fundamental pillar of Chili Peppers music.
Beyond the sound, I also felt like I had stumbled on people who were strange in a way that I understood. I always felt a bit out of place and I was discovering bands that made sense to me for the first time. I would come to find out many years later that some of my favorite Chili Peppers music was produced by George Clinton. It all made sense - the funk, the boundary breaking approach to music composition and subject matter, this was what I had been searching for, and the Chili Peppers were delivering it.