Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Kiedis and his Scar Tissue

It is hard to believe that Anthony Kiedis is still a functioning human being.

I’ve just finished his biography “Scar Tissue” and it is a great little read. It focuses from his birth up until the period just after the release of the Red Hot Chili Peppers eighth studio album “By the Way”. And yes, if you haven’t figured it out already, it is the biography of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of super-rock-funk group “Red Hot Chili Peppers”.

I hope to not put any large spoilers in my brief discussion here, but if you’re hell bent on not knowing anything about Kiedis’s life, you’re advised to close your browser window now.

Kiedis’s existence is defined by three competing relationships – music, women and drugs. While Anthony’s drug taking is a trifle extreme – some events bordering on insane – I wasn’t aware of the extent it permeated his band’s reality, and how drug abuse can threaten to destablise entire lives. Not just of the user, but also their relatives, colleagues, band companions and life-long friends. You come away with a great insight into how the dreams of some ordinary, if not a bit crazy, guys like Kiedis and Flea can be realised despite some serious personal problems.

I’m not the hugest Chili Peppers fan boy – I have a few albums, I like some of the songs and I think Flea is an excellent bassist – but the book gave me some new appreciation of their music. They are obviously extremely passionate about the music they produce and to trundle on despite such set backs is a testament to their integrity particularly as musicians. The death of their original guitarist is tragically described by Kiedis. He doesn’t seek to glorify such an incident or imbibe it with overt sentimentality, but takes a very matter-of-fact approach. The reader is overwhelmed with a true sense of sorrow.

I was particularly fascinated by his insights on the ups and downs with his various long-term girlfriends and in many ways could see some of my own life reflected in the various struggles he had – though my own are definitely on a much less grander scale.

The book ultimately is redemptive and triumphant. It left me with the sense that someone can succeed despite so many setbacks. Sure there is some luck involved, but in the end passion, enthusiasm and a lust for life are the virtues that drive Kiedis. And while I may never be the biggest Chili Peppers fan, I respect them for what they have achieved despite the obvious turmoil that characterised the band’s past.

The moral of this story is: kids, don’t do drugs.


Lix said...

Nice work, Daz. I'm not much of a bio person, but I now feel strangely curious enough to read it... :)

Darragh said...

Lix, neither am I - actually, come to think of it this could have been the first biography I've ever read....wow, crazy.

I assume James has read it, him being such a massive RHCP fan? If not - he should, I think he'd like it.