I’ve just read Anthony Kiedis’s autobiography “Scar Tissue”. There’s a special place in my heart for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Back in ’92 when I sold my soul to rock ‘n’ roll, it was the Peppers who led me there.
And it was around that time that Mr Kiedis was on his newly-sober anti-drugs evangelism and that made a lasting impressing on me at such an early age that I never considered long-term drug use to be fun or desirable.
Ah, but then he fell off the wagon. In “Scar Tissue”, after detailing his childhood including his crazy dad, he gets stuck into the drugs. There’s a little pot and a shitload of cocaine and heroin. He details his drug use to the point that it ceases to be shocking or scandalous and just become another mundane detail of his everyday life.
And I think, in a way, that’s what any kind of addiction ends up being like. The addict uses their substance not to feel wonderful, not to get high, but just to feel normal, to be able to function normally.
So throughout the book he goes in and out of rehab, writes songs about it, has revelations, and just when it seems like he’s got it all together, he’s back in some seedy motel with a needle in his arm. Oh, but he’s ok now, kids.
The other common theme is all the laydeez. It turns out he’s a bit of a serial monogamist. He appears to not really have been all that interested in one-night stands with groupies, and more into long-term relationships with beautiful women (and he’s always banging on about how beautiful the women are), though he seemed to end up with ladies about as messed up and chemically inclined as he. But it all makes for a good read.
And, of course, there’s the story of his band. But very little of that was new. It was interesting, though, to see that story told from his perspective and to marvel at how a band can stick around for over 20 years with all the problems they’ve had and still keep moving forward.
The book is written with the help from another author, but Mr Kiedis’ voice is unmistakably the one telling the story. The book is full of sentences that are just so cool I will a few here:
“I had been reading a lot of books about whales and dolphins, and I had always been aware of social injustice.”
“Could you please inform the Dalai Lama that Anthony Kiedis is here? I know he must be busy, but I’d like to say hi to him.”
“We piled into Flea’s multicolored Mercedes clown car, which exacerbated the absurdity of my surroundings.”
“Another manifestation of my emotional discombobulation was the Slim Jim episode.”
“I was up all night with visions of Jack Nicholson smoking a doobie with my girlfriend. Arrrrggghh.”
But finally, the most fun bits for me were his observations of my sweet home of Auckland, New Zealand:
“As soon as we set foot in New Zealand, I fell in love with the place. It seemed like a home away from home. There was more plant life than I’d ever seen, and towering majestic mountains and very few people.”
After buying a million-dollar farmhouse on the Kaipara Harbour he gets it dead right as he observes:
“It turned out that I saw the farmhouse on one of the few days of the year when it didn’t rain. Three hundred days out of the year, the country just poured precipitation. It was cloudy, rainy, chilly, blustery, England-on-a-bad-day kind of weather.”
On Auckland’s drug supply:
“I remember being in Auckland on New Year’s Eve and seeing amateur party people on the streets doing cocaine and champagne. It looked so appalling to me. I was glad I wasn’t in their place. The truth of the matter was that there probably wasn’t enough cocaine in a small country like that to keep me satisfied for any length of time.”
And that sums up quite nicely why Auckland is good.