DeWayne McKnight Admits Expecting Anthony Kiedis And Flea’s Offer To Replace Hillel Slovak
DeWayne ‘Blackbyrd’ McKnight served as Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist before John Frusciante replaced him in the band. He joined RHCP following the founding guitarist Hillel Slovak‘s passing on April 13, 1962. Recently, McKnight gave an interview to Guitar World and looked back on the time he joined RHCP in 1988. As it turns out, he was expecting Anthony Kiedis and Flea to offer him to be a part of the band.
“Not with me,” said the guitarist when asked about whether the RHCP members discussed recruiting him to the band. “If Anthony and Flea had one internally, I couldn’t tell you that either. But there was no discussion about that, and there was no ‘You’re in the band’ moment. And that was tough, and I had thoughts about it, but I tried to push it out of my mind.”
“So, we were rehearsing for a three or four-show run,” continued McKnight. “At the end of the rehearsal, the drummer D. H. Peligro was talking about this guitar player he played with, and they all seemed to think he was perfect. I said to him, ‘Well, why don’t they get this guy if he’s so good?’ Well, unbeknownst to me, they were thinking about it. So, we did three or four shows, and after those shows, I got the news that I wouldn’t be in the band. Needless to say, the guitarist they were talking about in rehearsals was John Frusciante. See, I never knew what would happen next, and it wasn’t easy for me, to say the least.”
Hillel Slovak recorded two albums with Red Hot Chili Peppers before his passing. He died of an overdose on April 13, 1962, soon after the band concluded their Uplift tour. Following Slovak’s death, Red Hot Chili Peppers searched for a guitarist to fill in for him. They then began touring with DeWayne McKnight but decided to fire him after only three dates. The guitarist was eager to be a part of RHCP, so being replaced by John Frusciante was an upsetting experience for him.
As for now, DeWayne is planning to make new musical efforts. He is one of the artists whose creative process was disturbed by the coronavirus pandemic. As the restrictions have eased, the veteran guitarist is eager to return to the studio. Despite being 68 years old, McKnight thinks he still has a lot to contribute to the music industry.