The Valuable Life Lessons of Anthony Kiedis

Borneo Is Not the Best Place to Find Oneself – In the midst of an extraordinarily hectic period in the band’s history, shortly after John Frusciante quit the band smack in the middle of the Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour, Anthony took a month-long sojourn to find himself in Borneo. As luck would have it, the trip became rife with scenes fit only for Indiana Jones, including a giant roach burrowing into his ear canal in the middle of the night, and dangling by his ankle over a sheer cliff with nothing but vines to prevent him from falling to his death. Needless to say, the trip ended with a helicopter air-lifting him the hell out of there as Borneo did not exactly to provide the hub of relaxation Anthony hoped to find. Unsurprisingly, neither did a later attempt at the Chelsea Hotel.

Kurt Was Cool, Courtney Was Not – Over the course of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ascent to mega-stardom, a little band called Nirvana got the call to open a number of tour dates for some monumental shows. As Cobain and company won over the hearts of the American youth, he also won over Anthony. Numerous times throughout the book, Kiedis expressed his admiration for the quiet, introspective young kid who seemed so tangled in his own head and introverted, yet came out every single night with showstopping performances.

On the other hand, he berated Courtney Love, who frankly sounded simply obnoxious during those years as any time a camera came near, she’d fly into the shot and pretend to be everybody’s best friend. When Kurt passed, Anthony wrote one of his absolute most touching songs for him, Tearjerker. Knowing this tune is for Kurt Cobain will change the way you hear it forever.

Even Rockstars Lay on the Cheese – One might think that a stylish rock star like Anthony Kiedis wouldn’t need to rely on sappy come-ons to pick up women – and it’s true that he could probably go toe to toe with Chamberlain and come out ahead – but man, talk about a flair for the dramatic and the cheese. From pulling girls on stage to sing to them to writing sappy love letters to Sinead O’Connor, his memoirs read like a feel-good comedy of the year. It makes perfect sense he’s a hopeless romantic though, as his lyrics have always emphasized these strong personal experiences and connections with people.

Sometimes the Silliest Ideas Make the Biggest Splash – You know the one; it’s the now famous sock outfit. In the earliest of days, one of the first incarnations of the band came out to perform wearing nothing but socks, not on their feet. What’s particularly funny about this story is that Anthony explains the stunt drummed up so much buzz for the band, that when they played their club dates, the promoters and booking agents would actually see to it that the “sock” stunt got written in as a rider in their contracts.

Playing in a Chili Peppers Cover Band Can Be a Good Career Move – In one of the more shocking and little known factoids that comes out in the book is that Eddie Vedder actually got his start in the music business covering the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and even working as a stage tech for an early Chili Peppers San Diego show) and later working on original material inspired by their frenetic funk sound. I haven’t been able to successfully dig up any proof of these covers, but in listening to his San Diego band, Bad Radio (with whom Eddie actually wrote Better Man), play What the Funk Is Up, you can hear the influence without question.


Introducing Your Child to Quaaludes and Pot at Age 11 May Be a Regrettable Idea – When Anthony left Michigan for Los Angeles at the tender age of eleven, his father, a real scenester and drug peddler for the hippest of hip, introduced Anthony to the partying lifestyle right off the bat. By the age of 13, he’d already slept with his father’s girlfriend (with permission), hung out with Keith Moon, seen Cher naked, and developed a fondness for Quaaludes and pot. The rest is history, as he spent many a year struggling with addiction issues.

Growing Up in a Boring Midwestern Town Has an Upside – Like pretty much everyone else who ever grew up in Grand Rapids, MI, Anthony couldn’t wait to get out of there and move to a more exciting place, but looking back, he realizes that there’s a lot to be said for the quiet life and good people of the Midwest. Over the years, Anthony’s trips back to GR for the holidays essentially became his annual ritual for kicking heroin and getting back in touch with family and himself. Grand Rapids can add Kiedis to its already impressive list of famous alums like DeBarge, the guys who started Amway, and Taylor Lautner. While most people assume Fight Like A Brave is about kicking drugs, it could just as easily be about fighting boredom in Grand Rapids. Brookside Elementary represent.

Chemistry is Everything – This one probably seems like an oxymoron if there ever was one, given the fact that 12 members have graced the presence of Flea and Anthony‘s Chili Peppers, but to this day the chemistry of the band always came first. They have never sought out the flashiest players or the biggest stars, but rather the guys who get that their writing style is all about the jam, and everything stems from that. Anytime the chemistry went wrong, they would make the necessary replacement. These two guys are lifetime friends. In fact, when Flea visited Anthony in rehab once for family day, he started balling when he explained how scared he has always been if he was to ever lose Anthony.

How to Weed Out the Frat Boys – Take notes Dave Matthews, if you ever decide you’d like to up the musical IQ of your audience a bit and get rid of some of the drunk frat guys and yokels, all you have to do is make out with Dave Navarro is one of your music videos. They will be gone before you can say “dude, you weren’t supposed to use tongue.” In filming the video for Warped (4:00), Navarro actually did this in just one single take among dozens, but sure enough it made it into the video. Shortly thereafter, the scathing fan-mail rolled in.

Fame and Maturity Are Not Mutually Exclusive – Make no mistake about it, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are hell-raising kids no matter how big they may be or old they get. From day one until now, they have always kept themselves busy on tour by challenging one another to anything from eating mountainous pads of butter, licking the grossest rims of trash cans, to catching the longest bomb pass of sharp, heavy objects. It just goes to show that rock stars really never have to grow up, nor should they.

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