« Homeland security : ships and planes | Home | Tofu T and Edamame Wrap - Soy clothing is the newest thing in eco-friendly fashion »

December 20, 2004

'Scar Tissue' - by Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers


The singer/lyricist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has just come out with his autobiography, and I must say it is one amazing book.

The reason I find it amazing is that it exists, sort of like Samuel Johnson's appreciation of the dog that walked, albeit poorly, on its hind legs.

You know how it's always about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll?

This book is about sex, DRUGS, and rock 'n roll.

Because Kiedis' whole life, since he was a teenager (he's 42 now), has been an ongoing search for a drug high, only occasionally interrupted by the requirements of being in a big-time band.

What makes this book fascinating to someone as straight as me is how a person can manage to survive the drug-crazed binges and behavior that recur again and again and again.

What makes the book readable and engaging is the author's personality, very self-deprecating and aware of his failings and never attempting to hide behind or blame others for the disasters that repeatedly befall him.

Kiedis basically says, "I'm a screw-up, but I'm really trying hard not to be."

The "trail of tears," as it were, of destroyed relationships both with his bandmates (themselves no novices, by any means, when it comes to self-destruction) and lovers is just endless.

I've always heard that druggies will do anything for a fix: this book makes that crystal (perhaps the wrong word...)-clear.

Consider the following anecdote:

    On one of these benders I ran out of drugs at four-thirty in the morning. At that point in time, I wasn't dialed in to ATM technology; when I needed money, I'd go to a bank and take out a chunk of money on a credit card, or I'd visit an American Express office, where I could take out as much as ten thousand dollars at a shot. But for now I had no money, no stuff, and was in a frenzy to get high.

    What I did have was a beautiful white Stratocaster guitar signed by all of the Rolling Stones. Tommy Mottola had given it to me when he was trying to sign the Chili Peppers to Sony/Epic.

    I figured I could go downtown and get at least a couple hundred dollars' worth of dope for that guitar. So I went down to those dimly lit back alleys where the men sell their wares, but there was only one guy working the street at that late hour.

    "What can I get for this?" I asked him, proffering the guitar.

    He shrugged. "Nothing."

    "No, no, you don't understand," I pressed on. "This guitar is signed by the Rolling Stones."

    "Dinero, señor, dinero," he kept repeating. He was fresh up over the border, and he obviously couldn't speak English and didn't give a rat's ass about the Rolling Stones.

    "But this is valuable," I protested.

    He finally offered me the tiniest amount of heroin I'd ever seen.

    "No, more," I begged, but he indicated it was that or nothing. I was so desperate that I bartered the signed guitar for some drugs that would get me high for about ten minutes.

Interspersed with crazyness like that were constant stays in rehab centers to clean up: I'd estimate Kiedis describes at least eight one-month stays, with many shorter visits.

Nothing worked for any length of time.

He did manage a five and a half year period of staying clean in the early nineties but fell back into his habit.

After more years of insanity, he managed to get clean again in 2000, and as of the book's publication this fall, had stayed drug-free for some four years.

But he's all too aware of how tenuous is his grip on sobriety.

Anyway, apart from this dominant theme, his book's full of wonderful anecdotes about his dealings with just about everyone who's anyone now or in the past twenty years in pop music.

They're all here: Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Gwen Stefani, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, and on and on.

Here's Kiedis on being the opening act for the Rolling Stones:

    But opening for the Stones is a crummy job anyway. I can't recommend it to anybody. You get the offer and you think, "Historically speaking, they're the second most important rock band in the history of music, after the Beatles. So we should have a brush with history."

    But the fact is, the Rolling Stones audience today is lawyers and doctors and CPAs and contractors and real estate development people. This is a conservative, wealthy group. No one's rocking out. The ticket prices and merchandise costs are astronomical. It's more like "Let's go to the Rolling Stones mall and watch them play on the big screen."

    The whole experience is horrible. First you get there, and they won't let you do a sound check. Then they give you an eightieth of the stage. They set aside this tiny area and say, "This is for you. You don't get the lights, and you're not allowed to use our sound system. And oh, by the way, you see that wooden floor? That's Mick's imported antique wood flooring from the Brazilian jungle, and that's what he dances on. If you so much as look at it, you won't get paid."

Bonus: The book's chock full of great pictures of the band, Kiedis from the time he was little on up through his formative teen years with the band, Kiedis' ex-girlfriends - among them Ione Skye, Jaime Rishar, and many others (suitable for my previous Version 1.0), and friends, family, and the like.

This book is as close as I ever want to come to being in a big-time rock 'n roll band.

Highly recommended.

December 20, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Scar Tissue' - by Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers:

» Russia Said to Be on Edge of AIDS Crisis from said to be on
to be on edge of AIDS crisis as neglect and run-down health system takes [Read More]

Tracked on May 29, 2006 11:32:44 PM

» New technology probes ancient manuscript (AP) from a 2,400-year-old
the secrets of early monotheistic religion #151; using new digital technology. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 7, 2006 6:50:42 AM

» Back Surgery Not Always the Cure for Pain from .S. Leads the
.S. Leads the World in Procedures That Some Experts Say Could Be Avoided [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 1, 2006 5:24:33 PM

» Irish ace Flood set to move to Cardiff from Irish midfielder
on the brink of selling Irish midfielder Willo Flood to Cardiff City in a cut-price £200,000 switch. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 7, 2006 4:04:50 PM

» South Lebanon Closed; Strikes Kill 19 from srael shuts down
srael shuts down south Lebanon as death toll on both sides nears 800 [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 14, 2006 7:07:12 PM


Hey guys...=]. its anthony. i am really glad that you guys liked my book and i love all you as my fans. keep writing and look out for our new album Hiatus.

Posted by: Tony Flow | Oct 17, 2008 6:07:01 PM

I still DONT exactly understand there how Michael Balzary got his name "Flea",.. can anyone tell me how?

Anyway, Scar Tissue is a great book. Anthony is a great storyteller, the words he use are very funny and his experience from jumping girl to girl and being a hardcore junkie is really entertaining... You should read it... all RHCP fans out there!!

Posted by: Myrene | Jan 12, 2008 4:35:11 AM

Just finished the book and would highly recommend it to anyone, it's an extraordinary story and life.

Posted by: Kiedis Fan | Jan 9, 2008 3:40:31 PM

this is one of those books that you have to read slowly to embrace and soak in every beautiful word. i feel so incredibly connected to this guy. i went to one of their shows in sydney and i was about 10metres away from him, tears ran down my face when i saw him, it was as if i was reuniting with an old friend. anthony has taught me so much through his writing and music. the red hot chili peppers allow my soul to breathe. thank you

Posted by: Til | May 22, 2007 7:27:46 AM

if the rhcp music ever made u feel like: "whoa! i wonder what inspired these guys to create this music?" u definitely have to read this book, it's great. It shows Anthony as any other human being, a beautiful spirit despite all his vulnerabilities, flaws, and mistakes. when i read "scar tissue" in more than one occasion it brought tears to my eyes, specially when i read what inspired him to write "under the bridge", i related a lot to the feelings that inspired him to write it, because in many occasions i gave up my friends, and love, because my vision was a little blured. the book it's not all drama, it also has a lot of highs that would make u laugh about his adventures. There are many things that u can learn from this book i recomend it. Rock on chillies!!!!!!!!.

Posted by: john | Feb 7, 2007 12:19:20 AM

This book is so AMAZING I suggest that everyone reads it. KIEDIS is a down to earth and beautiful person. His story hits home for me and he is a great example of a hero. He knew what his problems were, but instead of going on about all of his problems he is actually one of the few people to ACTUALLY do something about IT!!!

Posted by: Sophia | Jan 22, 2007 2:02:44 PM


Posted by: | Jan 13, 2007 7:53:47 PM

OMG...this is so awesome anthony lived on my street...and went to my school..OMG it is so cool my favorite band member lived just 5 houses down from me.. dang...I so wish he knew...he probably doesn't rember my dad...my dad met him in the Lincoln country club wow...so long ago..

Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 1, 2007 9:46:02 PM

Hey people! I totally agree with everyone who said red hot chili pepper rocks. But, honestly what is up with, "Oh anthony is sooooo hot" and "anthony is god"? Its the music that truly counts.

P.S the music rocks!

Posted by: rchp fan | Dec 31, 2006 7:46:19 PM

ok, i haven't read this book yet, because i live in slovenia (i wonder if any of you know where is it. it is a very small country in europe with about 2 milion people). but i know what is going on and i think that is claver, because it can help a lot of his fans ;) OK i know my english is very bad. I am 14. LOL, OK no more excuse for me. So i don't think anthony will really look on this page (or am i wrong). so if anybody not just anthony or other boys want to write me i will me happy to know friends all over the world. I have some friends from india=) This year i was there-acting.

So, my mail: matrixa92@hotmail.com

Posted by: Maya(slovenia) | Dec 22, 2006 2:58:53 PM

Anthony is god

Posted by: Andrew | Dec 10, 2006 12:24:10 PM

omg i agree with anyone who has said how hot anthony is, i love all the band but love anthony in a different way, their music is the best and rhcp is the best band ever, i am hoping to read the book VERY SOON! I LOVE U ALL RHCP !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: i love rhcp | Nov 1, 2006 1:14:35 AM

OMG! this looks like such a good book. I think I am gonna read it soon. Anthony Kiedis is SO hot!!!! I am so with u guys chloe, kellcee, rachel, and jade. And by the way kirsten, maybe you should shut up. it's not our fault that anthony is so beautiful. and we do respect him 4 your information. But jade can u give me their origonal address pppppppplllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeee?! I am 12 and proud to be a RHCP fan!

Posted by: hannah | Oct 29, 2006 9:04:33 AM

Dear RHCP(red hot chili peppers)

i am a huge fan.i luv ur music.anthony is soooooooooooooo hot.my mom has a little crush on anthony 2.i am 11 years old.how r u guys.can i have every1's e-mail address pleaz?i would luv 2 write 2 u guys.i have ur original address i just don't have any stamps.

p.s. send me an e-mail!

Posted by: Jade Williams | Oct 8, 2006 3:35:06 PM

im gettin anthonys book tomorow, red hot chilli peppers are mint the best band ever, cant wait to read his book.i love his music and im only 13, make some more songs anthony!

Posted by: lloyd | Sep 29, 2006 2:42:41 PM

i love anthony because he is been through nearly everything he didnt have a very good child hood and the drugs and alcohol!!! but now look what he has achieved and in his book (scar tissue) he isnt afraid to say that he was just like one of us and i respect him for that!!! i love him and i obsessed with his music i am only 13 and he is one of the hottest people i have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by: Harriette | Aug 23, 2006 6:11:34 AM

I have just completed reading "Scar Tissue", I found it to be an interesting read. I have enjoyed some of their music. The first being "Under the bridge", now it's Dani California. The book took me to places of low's, high's and in betweens. I am 34 and have been an on & off alcoholic for ten years, and I know the relationship shit. I also find writting as an outlet for my emotions and relations. But please when you say things in a book, or to anybody that the Gold Coast of Australia is like Miami only trashier, then take a better look. At least as Aussies we are not so judgemental and so hippocritical of the rest of the world. so eat crap, we all have our demonds!!!

Posted by: rachel | Jul 13, 2006 6:53:26 AM

sorry mirabell i meant scott not u man my bad in all kiedis still rules no matter what n for people who think he doesnt well than thats your opinion and your a sucker i mean that in the sweetest possible way dont get mad :)

Posted by: prinshika | Jul 3, 2006 7:04:22 AM

Please, ladies, stop talking about how hot he is. Thats not the point. The point is appreciation of life and failures and rebirth and sacrifice. I would like to think that all of Anthony's little fans would respect him more after reading this book, instead of just babbling.

Posted by: maggie | Jun 28, 2006 2:41:58 AM

Anthony Kiedis, even though having a somewhat depressing childhood is one of the most great people out there. He's not afraid to admit he's just like everyone else out there and it's easy to screw up. But it doesn't mean that you can't get back on your feet again. I'm only 14 years old, and this has definately taught me the bad effects of drugs and I doubt I'll try any. The book's real honest, a good read. He's also the best singer and best lookin' guy I've ever seen!

Posted by: Kristen | Jun 24, 2006 10:36:16 PM

i luv him and think hes the hottest gut in the universe. sooooooooo hot. i soooooooo wanna meet him imagine how amazing that would be! god hes hot! Hes the best vocalist in the world and has managed to do so well after having such a frekin bad child hood (or how it seems). god hes soo hot and soulfull god i luv him and the way he makes me feel im only 12 and im obsessed with him!

Posted by: mads | Jun 16, 2006 11:54:26 AM

omg i want to read the book so bad im only 13 and im obsessed with anthony kiedis.i find hiim freakin hott as hell!And i love how his songs make me feel cause im very emotional sometimes and they make me feel like myself.which is funny and outgoing.I have no clue wht id do if i met him.Hopefully when i do read the book ill learn some things

ps.i love anthony kiedis

Posted by: kellcee | Jun 11, 2006 1:24:32 PM

i dont read anybooks until i had to choose one for and english assignment and i havent let the book go i think that he's a great inspiration for many peolple who strugle from day to day with problems and i jst wish i grew up with him and well..slept with him i might be his girl friend now!! you bloody rox

vist AUSSIE LAND SOON>>chloe

Posted by: chloe | Jun 8, 2006 9:31:16 AM

i'm reading the book at the moment and i think it's one of the best things that anthony could've done to let everyone know wat he has been through and to inspire people that are on drugs to get off them. greeny

Posted by: Greeny | Jun 1, 2006 10:50:25 PM

I cant wait to read the book anthony and his band
f***ing RULE and by the way to Mirabelle anthony is not silly! youd probably feel the same way he was feeling going through all that stuff missy! read the damn book again!!!!
this site is rad.

Posted by: prinshika | May 26, 2006 2:24:26 AM

he is GREAT.But where can I find his book?Iam waiting

Posted by: didka | May 23, 2006 9:27:59 AM

you rock alot

Posted by: andrew titus | Mar 3, 2006 1:10:31 PM

i think anthonys book was great the best i`ve read in a long time.. think he`s a really cool down to earth normal bloke...

Posted by: cathy | Feb 23, 2006 5:01:13 AM

anthony is silly hes just a good singer and songwriter i dont like his personality first try of drugs at 10 and lost hisvirginity at 12 thats SILLY SILLY SILLY bye

Posted by: scott | Jan 30, 2006 5:25:58 AM

Just wanted to make myself notable, and say that Anthony is a great singer/songwriter.
He has a great voice and his looks!
i love the music!

Posted by: Mirabelle | Oct 24, 2005 7:52:58 AM

im 18 and i have been to the same hell as anthony living in a limbo between life and death and the book has inspired me to go into rehab and become clean.6 months sobriety!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: scar | Oct 16, 2005 10:41:22 AM

I read the book in 2 days and absolutely loved it!! I have always been a fan, now I'm more so of the person.

Posted by: Tanya | Aug 22, 2005 2:41:35 PM

Hello Joe,
I received Anthony's book translated and it's quite good!Bye,Chrisanthi

Posted by: Chrisanthi | May 27, 2005 3:50:50 PM

I'm a girl from Holland, and randomly came on your site, and I just want to say that every word of your review is true. I read the Dutch translation, which is unfortunately the worst translation ever, but at least I didn't miss details because of that. I was just as impressed as you were. My respect to Anthony Kiedis, he's my living example.

Posted by: Renee | Mar 28, 2005 8:41:04 AM

I love Anthony Kiedis and cant wait to get his book thanks for the great review even if it does tease me !!! i want to read it so0 bad

Posted by: Chelle | Mar 19, 2005 9:55:34 PM

Hello Again Joe,
As a long time fan of this band, since the earliest days, I'm looking forward to reading this book. Keidis has always struck me as a lost little boy who only wanted to belong, much the same as man of Rock's bad boys have always been. Thanks again for having The Best Page in The History of The Internet! I'm off to Ebay now, I've found some wonderfully rare Roy Orbison memorabilia, and am deciding whether to put them online.

Robin, the same one from before, :X

Posted by: Robin | Dec 20, 2004 4:23:48 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.