Talking to Flea about his memoir Acid for the Children was a highlight of my year. I've been a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan since their first album and have seen them play whenever their tours brought them to Seattle. Then I read Flea's book and my admiration for this renaissance man reached a whole new level.
In Acid for the Children, Flea tells his story with full-stop honesty amid lyrical musings and meanderings. He takes us from his early life in Australia, to New York and Los Angeles, right to the brink of what will ultimately become his path to musical stardom. Musician, poet, reader, friend, troublemaker, seeker, hoops enthusiast, writer, Flea is a many-faceted individual, and readers will see all sides in Acid for the Children. I had no idea he would be just as honest and vulnerable in person, on stage in a room packed to the gills with Amazon employees, but he was. And it was amazing.
Here's how our conversation began, and you can watch the full interview in the video below:
Seira Wilson: In the beginning of the book you say that you hope to come out of this writing experience feeling clear and cleansed--how are you feeling?
Flea: Clear and cleansed! The writing itself, I didn't know what that was going to be when I started. And when I wrote that, that was me just like, what am I faced with!? When I started writing the book, I intended to write only about the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I thought it would be arrogant for me to write about the rest of my life because every one of us has a story, ever one of us hurts, every one of us yearns, and hopes, and I just didn't think my story would be any more important than anyone else's. So I thought, people are interested in the Chili Peppers, and even though I knew I would write from an interior place that would be my relationship to it and my growth within it, I wasn't going to write about my childhood at all.
Yet, once I sat down and started writing about my childhood, and not just the narrative of what happened, but yearning to get underneath and understand what guided me, what shaped me, what made everything move, these things that were maybe just little images or little flashes of dialogue or things in my head, when I shone light one them and started writing about them, they became really clear. And it was a very powerful and moving experience for me to see myself as a kid.
I'm a grown-ass man, and I have some degree of objectivity about my childhood, but you know, we always feel our childhood in everything we do, everywhere we go, it's these little things that guide us, that we're scared of, that cause discomfort, and distress, and we don't even realize it. So for me to look at it, and to attempt to understand it, to look at little me searching for my moral compass, searching to make sense of a world that seemed hypocritical and cruel, all of those were cleansing. And even though I've got a lot of fucking cleansing to do, it was very therapeutic.
*Acid for the Children was an Amazon editors pick for the best books of November
Shop this article on Amazon.com
You might also like:
Subscribe to the Amazon Book Review, featuring picks for the best books of the month, author interviews, reading recommendations, and more from the Amazon Books editors.