Bernie Sanders' Red Hot Chili Peppers Poster: An Investigation

The senator appeared in a committee hearing to discuss COVID-19, and we are once again asking where he got his sick RHCP poster.
Alex Zaragoza
Brooklyn, US
May 12, 2020, 6:53pm
Bernie Sanders Red Hot Chili Peppers Poster
Credit: CNN

Bernie Sanders was in a Senate Committee Hearing on Tuesday morning to discuss the reopening of the United States in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the hearing, which aired on CNN, the senator spoke candidly about his concerns with reopening, directly asking Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force, if the figure currently being reported of 80,000 deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. is accurate (apparently, it's not). All this was discussed in what appeared to be Senator Sanders' funk room, if the framed poster of the Red Hot Chili Peppers hanging on the wall is to serve as proof.

As hordes on Twitter noticed, the senator of the great, hella chill state of Vermont—known for delivering fresh pow-pow for sick snow shredding and an intrinsic love for heady jam bands like Phish and Grateful Dead—delivered remote testimony on the coronavirus' impacts from a crimson-painted room bearing a framed Red Hot Chili Peppers poster. Next to it was a framed official bass drum head from The New Power Generation, formerly Prince's backing band. It's safe to say the room's dankness levels were off the charts.

While the existence of the framed poster, designed by famed street artist Shepard Fairey, could serve as evidence that Bernie heavily fucks with the Southern California funk-rock band and possibly ranks their seminal 1999 album Californication in his top 10, it should be noted that the poster commemorated a benefit concert held in Los Angeles on February 5, 2016 during the senator's initial presidential bid. No, it's not just a random poster of the band in their tube sock penis covers (though, that'd be tight).

Members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have long been supporters of the senator. RHCP bassist Flea once told the Associated Press that Sanders was "honest and true, and really has the well-being of his fellow humans in the United States first and foremost in his mind," while frontman Anthony Kiedis went on Sex Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones radio show and said, "This cat Bernie Sanders stood out as being honest and likable and actually human."

While it's unclear whether Sanders had any affinity for the Peppers before they showed political support for him, it's notable that he would take such care to frame and hang this piece of merch, showing at the least a fondness for the band and an appreciation for their dedication to his cause. Considering Vermont and SoCal share a culture of unwavering commitment to chillaxin' and mellow vibes, it makes perfect sense that Sanders would be a Peps-head. The framed poster could conceivably serve as a souvenir that Senator Sanders stares up at when kicking it on his leather chair and slapping his bass along to "Can't Stop" or "By the Way," or, when he really wants to take it back, "Aeroplane." Does he close his eyes when the bass solo on "Around the World" hits its dopest groove? Maybe! VICE reached out to Senator Sanders' office to get comment on whether he's truly a RHCP fan, but we have not received a response.

It's also humanizing to see that Sanders is just like any 30-something stoner dude that's been nominated by his parents for a home makeover reality series, or really anyone taking that important stage of adulthood where they remove their taped band posters from their wall and place them in an IKEA "RIBBA" frame, signaling their growth into the otherside of maturity. Sanders' RHCP poster simply belongs the Smithsonian.