Acid for the Children

Flea curls words into iridescent images of youth, memory, mistakes, yearning and a reflection on the sum of life’s experiences. The tiny moments that you didn’t bother to record, maybe hoped to forget, that, when recalled decades later, show the grit and shading of a character, a life and a complex community. I’m jealous of the madness of his untethered upbringing and simultaneously grateful for the guardrails around mine.

A memoir from the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on growing up with the hunger of a misfit, of needing love and connection; filled with hijinks, stunts, partying and drug-taking, yet always conscious of a ‘dire need of spiritual and emotional healing.’ Music hauls his spirit out of the darkness. Over a lifetime, a rockstar learns that mushrooms and LSD can take you places but vipassana can get you there too.

He has a realisation, early on, that a band is more than a few people playing instruments together; they must tap into a source, be touched by a spirit, “awaken a feeling lying dormant” in the listener. He writes with raw, honest emotion of the bond with Anthony that is at the heart of RHCP. 

His insight into the complexity of friendship over a lifetime made synapses fire in my neurons and heart strings. The friendship with Anthony is not one of endless love and support, but rather, of hurt, betrayal and lost days and also of hitchhiking and getting high and sleeping in parking lots and jumping into rivers together and dancing through teen years. Shaped by the ultimate connection and need that is strong enough to bring them both back from the edge, time and again.

I read Anthony Kiedis’s biography “Scar Tissue” when I was in college and carried that book across continents and long haul flights with me like a talisman. Flea’s writing is a world away in voice and shape but fills the same space – comforting, tingling and transcendent. Specific and wild, yet achingly relatable.

I hope this book can do for you what it did for me. Acid for the soul.

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