Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers

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Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers
OriginLondon, England
GenresPub rock
Years active1971–1975
Mooncrest Records
Proper Records
Last Music Co.
MembersPhil "Snakefinger" Lithman
Martin Stone
Paul "Dice Man" Bailey
Paul "Bassman" Riley
Pete Thomas

Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers were one of the main British pub rock groups of the early 1970s. Later managed by Jake Riviera, who first worked for the band as a roadie, they reached their peak as part of the "Naughty Rhythms Tour" of 1975, along with other stalwarts of the same scene, Dr. Feelgood and Kokomo, each band alternately headlining on different dates.


The band has its origins in a folk-rock duo formed by ex-Junior's Blues Band members Martin Stone and Philip C. Lithman. Lithman moved to San Francisco in the late 1960s, leaving Stone to play with Savoy Brown and Mighty Baby. The duo reunited in the early 1970s, recording Kings of the Robot Rhythm with vocalist Jo Ann Kelly and various members of Brinsley Schwarz. The album was released in 1972; the same year, the duo expanded, adding Paul "Dice Man" Bailey, Paul "Bassman" Riley, and Pete Thomas to the line-up.

During the next two years, Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers became a popular live act in Britain, and recorded two John Peel Sessions for BBC Radio 1, on 9 April 1973 and 25 July 1974. In 1974, they released their final album, Bongos Over Balham, which sold poorly; the band split in 1975.

After the band's breakup, Thomas became the drummer for Elvis Costello's backing band, The Attractions; Riley played with Graham Parker; Bailey formed Bontemps Roulez; and Stone played with the Pink Fairies before concentrating on his book business but has since played with Wreckless Eric, Almost Presley and Deep Fix. Lithman moved back to San Francisco where he began to work with his former associates, The Residents, under the name Snakefinger.



  • Kings of the Robot Rhythm (Revelation, 1972)
  • Bongos Over Balham (Mooncrest, 1974)
  • I'll Be Home (Proper, 1996) - compilation
  • Real Sharp (The Last Music Company, 2017)



"Breathe A Little" (Mooncrest, 1975)


  • Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music - Page 143, 2003, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-760-9
  • Peter Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock - Page 465, 2003, Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-105-4